Strange days for all God’s children
These are strange days for people of faith, yet they are good days for the ministry of the Gospel. As we’re in a third month of “sheltering in place” due to the COVID-19 virus, the church has had to re-define how we minister to our members and reach the lost. As I talk with other pastors, I have great hope that two things are happening in the church that remind us; “God is not surprised by this pandemic!”
First the Gospel, we are very fortunate to live in a day of digital connection, the Gospel has gone out like never before through videos, podcasts and blogs. One church in California had well over one million people tune in to their online Easter service. Even our local churches are reporting people from all around the world watching our videos. I think we have a new normal in preaching beyond our local community and that’s a very good thing coming from this strange season.
Secondly in the church is blessing others. With so many out of work or just starting back to work, the needs are great and the church has risen to the occasion. Whether it’s food for the hungry, financial help for families, or practical help in home repairs, once again I’ve seen the amazing things the church is doing to bless those in need.
And while this is all going on, the church has not lost hope. Sure we’ve not been able to meet the way we want, but the church is not a particular group, the church is every believer in Jesus around the world. The church has not lost hope because our hope is not in this world, our hope is in God who loved the world so much that he sent Jesus to atone for the sin that separates people from God.
Psalm 9:9-11 says; “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!”
What a great Psalm to remind us where our hope is. And biblical hope is not wishing for anything, but holding onto the promises of God. First the Psalm says the Lord is a stronghold both for the oppressed and when troubles hits. While this pandemic is real and some people are full of fear, for the Christian, faith overcomes fear because as Psalm 46:1 says; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 9 also says that those who know the Lord trust in him because he will not forsake his children. How great a promise is that? Christ will never leave us nor forsake us, not in a pandemic, personal trials or any time of trouble.
Finally, our Psalm ends with the believers response to trouble. Our response; “Sing praises to the Lord!” He is worthy of our praise and when we praise him we find we’re less consumed with our troubles and more consumed with this loving, gracious God who; “Sits enthroned in Zion.” For the Jesus follower, Zion reminds us of the God’s throne in heaven. Our Psalm ends with evangelism and how those who take shelter in the Lord, tell others of his wonderful deeds.
Where is your comfort during these strange days? Remember eternal life is the reason you can have faith over fear.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.