Not Intimidated by Change

Today is the four-month mark of our worship services being impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. After writing, I had to go back and reread that sentence. Only four months? It feels so much longer. I am sure I’m not alone. And looking back, so much has changed for this spiritual family since early March. Some things, I’m not sure we could have imagined … or have yet to fully realize since we’ve not met in our new building as a family. 2020 has certainly been a year that is nothing like we planned. In the weeks leading up to the shut down, I felt like our congregation had some of the strongest momentum toward spiritual and numerical growth we’ve had over the previous ten years I’ve been here. Then, it all immediately stopped. I would be remiss if I did not let you know there have been a number of times this year that I’ve wished to myself that we could just go back to the way it was before the pandemic. Back before the uncertainty. Back before everyone everywhere was on edge. Back before when we could see each other without the worries of distance and masks. Back before, when we were so used to normal American life.

So again today all of us should be reminded of the need for patience and trust in God. Paul’s writing in Romans 5.3-5 seems especially appropriate: we boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. One of the things Paul identifies here is the constant change and trials experienced by Christians. Very often, conditions and circumstances will lead us outside of our comfort zone. It is during these times we’ll need to stretch ourselves. We’ll need to be willing to forego some of our habits and traditions. We’ll need to be understanding when we are forced to do some things that may not be optimal … but are absolutely vital. That has certainly been the case for us since March.

So what do we do as we patiently wait to be back together again? Over the next few weeks we must challenge ourselves again to see our present circumstance as the optimum opportunity for moving away from spiritual stagnation. Let’s embrace the discomfort we all feel. This, like no time previously in our lifetime, is a time for personal and spiritual growth. Spend some time calling our widows and widowers. Gather your family around for a time of bible study. Invite a small group into your home Sunday so that you can worship and eat lunch together. Pick someone out of the prayer list and let them know you are praying for them. Pull down some of the class material or other spiritually uplifting things off our website and reread it closely, taking notes. Work creatively on ways to be together with your brethren.

Paul shows us in Romans and Philippians that Christians can grow to where they are no longer threatened or intimidated by change. We can endure because the priority of our life is not about anything here. We understand the priority resides in Jesus alone. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, Philippians 4.13.

Matthew Allen

1 Comment

Greg Morrison - July 19th, 2020 at 8:52am

Great thoughts Matt,

It is a blessing to have something unchangeable to stay focused on while the world around us deteriorates!

Thanks Brother,