With the stay home directive issued, many of us are spending more time in front of our computers. In doing so, I found myself listening to more sermons and messages online. One thing that became very clear and consistent, especially at the beginning, was the number of pastors who preached on the topic of not living in fear. These were great messages with great reminders of how we are to live in times of trouble. It caused me to think if perhaps we should have done the same instead of continuing through our sermon series in the Gospel of John.
As I gave this more thought, and thinking about the body at WHC, fear was not something that came to mind as I thought about you all. I couldn’t think of anyone who would be living in fear and distraught, needing desperately to hear a message addressing that. It is clear that many of us are facing some pretty challenging times with health, financial, and many other concerns, but I find comfort in knowing that many of you are walking on solid ground with steadfastness in your faith and trust in Almighty God. I am also encouraged to hear about and see how many of you are reaching out to one another and checking on each other. We all do miss the fellowship and seeing one another but there are other ways that we can do that. Some of you have set up small group meetings using Zoom and other social media means to stay in touch. Most of these platforms are pretty easy to use. Look for announcements for when these meetings are occurring and join in.
I, like many of you have done a few studies through the book of James throughout the years, and are very familiar with chapter 1, verse 2-4. It reads, “Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith, produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I find it suffice to say that we are all facing trials of various kinds right now. James instructs us to not only refrain from living in fear, but to count it all joy when we face trials. We can all nod our heads up and down and know this intellectually, understanding that it is good for building up and strengthening our faith. But, how many of us right now are rejoicing in the circumstances that surrounds us as you read this? How do we do that? It is difficult if we find ourselves dwelling on these circumstances instead of keeping our eyes, hearts, and minds fixed on Christ, who is the founder and perfecter of our faith.
This past weekend, I found myself in the ER with tightness in my chest, difficulty breathing, and a blood pressure at 212/107. While laying in the hospital bed and feeling uncomfortable, these passages came to mind and God reminded me of how I could find true peace and even joy as I kept focused on Him. He was in charge and in control of everything, regardless of the outcome, and regardless of my approval or input.
As I look at the other things that I am witness to, I find joy in the way I see many of you
- using this time to study God’s Word more.
- keeping in touch and looking out for one another.
- encouraging one another.
- participating in providing our live stream sermons and time of worship
- growing in your prayer life
- sharing God’s Word and His promises on social media.
- being a light and witness to many who don’t know Christ.
- _______________________________________ you can fill this blank.
So, as I think about you all, I find joy in knowing that many of you are also growing in your faith through all of this. I am thankful to God for each one of you, for the bond that we have through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the way in which he brings us together even when this virus keeps us separated physically. I look forward to the day when we can meet face to face once again!
Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
In His Service and for His Glory,