Uncertainty. Restlessness. Weariness. Anxiety. Stress. Whether or not those words have actually fallen from our mouths, their meanings have undoubtedly settled into many of our hearts over the past few days. Students will not return to school this academic year, “stay at home” orders remain in effect, and social distancing marks our daily exercises. Questions such as “How long will these conditions last?” and “What will the transitions of the next few weeks look like?” litter our thoughts. Planning and preparation remain fluid because of such ambiguity ahead.
Now, you probably know that I am a “routine” guy. I like consistency and certainty. So, these weeks have been challenging for me personally and professionally! Add to the equation the lack of daily personal interaction with you, and I’m especially “out of sync.” Certainly, we are still working as we check on people via phone, bring messages through social media, navigate the financial/administrative areas, and plan, as best we can, for the days ahead. But again, such limited ministry is obviously not my preference. Yet, I must stop and say that God has redeemed both these moments and my frustrations. For example, He has given me more time with my family (engaging in some serious competition like HORSE basketball, board games, cards, and even Wii Mario Kart; reading the Scripture together; biking through the neighborhood; etc.) and more intimate time with the Lord Himself (in personal study of His Word, prayer, and meditation). What blessings in the midst of a strange, dark season!
My friends, I want to encourage you to continue to take advantage of these opportunities. Life is much slower for a lot of you. Cherish the time. Redeem the season for His glory through spending time with Him and with your family. Also, utilize the moments to pray for the healing of the sick. He truly is the Great Physician, and we need His work among us. Ask the Lord to empower our medical personnel with energy, protect them from harm, and encourage them even as some must remain isolated. Intercede on behalf of our governmental officials and workers as they make decisions that affect us all. Lift up those who continue to work (truckdrivers, grocers, etc.), and ask Him to be close to the ones who cannot work (and the many who are struggling financially). Don’t forget you can join us daily at 5:17 a.m. and/or 5:17 p.m. as we collectively pray. Just stop where you are and pray. In addition, I want to encourage you to heed the recommendations from our leaders so that we can get past these days and move on to better times!
This past Easter Sunday, we sang the chorus of an old hymn: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, Just because He lives!” How I needed to hear that! Our Lord lives! That means I can face whatever comes my way through His power and strength! And as I reflect upon that truth, I offer Paul’s words of gratitude, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
I would tell you in to “hang in there,” but I believe it best to remind you that Christ is hanging on to you! So, keep the faith! And hopefully I will see you soon! You are loved . . . and missed!