This is Pastor Drew’s back page article for the March 18 Tidings.
It was written in response to the early unfolding of the coronavirus impact.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m feeling at a loss for what to say. I’m honestly struggling with how to help lead my ‘flock’ over a seemingly treacherous hill to a place of safety when I’m not even sure of the way there myself.
Today I spent the afternoon researching online video conferencing services so that we might be able to hold church meetings via our computers and phones in the weeks ahead. I also kept an eye on the news to see what happened in the previous hour — because in the last few days that’s how quickly things are changing. Right now things are looking very bleak for millions of people. And that’s just here in the U.S. They tell us it’s going to get worse before it gets better, which could be months from now.
Wow! Talk about facing the unknown! Truly, what’s happening right now feels different than the typical “unknowns” with which we’re familiar — where we pretty much know what to expect. For example, when a spouse dies, we face an unknown. But I actually know quite a bit. I know I’m going to grieve, and I know that I can anticipate experiencing particular emotions, and I generally know how long it’ll take to move through the various stages of grief, and what will be the signs that I’m coming out on the other side. But what we’re going through at this time is new and uncharted. We’ve read about such things from the past. But not so much in our own day. We really can’t say, “Been there, done that.”
Today I’m having a heart experience of something I’ve only known in my head before, which is that it’s easy to trust God when life is good; it’s easy to focus on the needs of others when my own needs are being met. But replace my good life with some very real and scary unknowns, including the possibility that my own needs may not be met, and suddenly it’s easy to wonder, “Can we really trust God?”
Of course, the answer is YES. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world“ (John 16.33). The good news is that we worship and trust in a God who’s not just bigger than the tribulations and unknowns of this world, but who overcame them! And the One who overcame them lives in each of us. This doesn’t mean we’re immune to the challenges of these days. Rather, it means that we’re not limited or defined by them. So, in all of this, here’s what we do know: this, too, shall end. Stay faithful!