Unchartered Times to Trust in God
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV).
Last week I was with a mission team from our church in Puerto Rico. We were helping families recover from Hurricane Maria that struck the island on September 20, 2017. We worked with All Hands & Hearts, a mission with bases around the world. We went back to base camp on Thursday evening to discover the mission base was temporarily closing operations. All Hands & Hearts mission board wrote a letter stating that all staff and volunteers were to return home leaving the mission field by Sunday, March 15.
Our mission trip was cut short, we changed flights and came home a day early. I learned that many churches had chosen to cancel services indefinitely, the president declared a “national emergency” on Friday, Sunday was recognized as a National Day of Prayer for the victims, families, and those infected with the coronavirus.
The stock market has dropped significantly; stores cannot restock hand sanitizer and toilet paper fast enough; the government has shut down schools, public spaces (libraries, museums, etc.), and hospitals are not allowing visitors. All in response to the coronavirus.
And if that is not enough professional sports have cancelled their seasons, NCAA March Madness is cancelled as are Spring sports at all levels of competition (Jr-Sr High, College/Universities, etc.). Baseball has been postponed indefinitely and the 2020 Summer Olympics are in jeopardy.
After the attack on 9/11 (2001), the country worked diligently to “return to a semblance of normal” as soon as reasonably possible. Yet, we seem to be on the threshold of a continual time of pause. We have more questions than answers. How do we as followers of Christ face uncertain times?
We do so by faith. This is a great opportunity to share the gospel, stand strong in this anxious moment and not fall victim to the hysteria of this present age. The church can and should take advantage of the uncertainty of this moment by serving those around us with faithful mission and support.
The Apostle Paul knew that a youthful minister like Timothy needed encouragement. Shoot, he knew the fledgling Church of the first century needed to be strengthened in faith, with hope, and love. Paul wrote this epistle while awaiting his execution. He faithfully directed his spiritual son Timothy to the hope that was in Christ. God is at work in our world today. The coronavirus did not escape His attention. He still can be trusted to see us through this pandemic.
Use your freed-up schedule to re-evaluate your priorities. I know that I have made too much of the idol of sports in my past. God has my attention as I seek ways to minister effectively in this new climate. We cannot give in to fear in this hour of testing. Instead, we must present ourselves before the Lord, ready to take up the cross that we are handed in this time. When we plug into our power source and operate from a sound mind, we are able and prepared to love others through the chaos and into the kingdom of God.
Prayer: Forgive me Lord when I fall captive to my fears instead of trusting in your mighty power and overflowing grace and love. Help me see the opportunities to serve others amid this broken world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Rev. James Conley
Pastor, Delta First Baptist Church
Western Slope Ministry & Mission Facilitator