I began writing this post back in May, and as I contemplated sharing today, I realize that I can just add to what I began to say here.
I am proposing that the following statements are true:
- God is our Creator.
- Jesus is our living Savior!
- The Holy Spirit is with us and lifts our prayers to God.
- God’s love is bigger than all of our fears.
- We aren’t going back to the normal we once knew.
That last one is probably the least popular of all the statements I just made.
I’ve heard so many people say, “Well when we are back to normal…” or “I can’t wait until things get back to normal.”
In this COVID season as we grieve loss of loved ones, opportunities, physical celebration of milestones and so much more, we must also grieve what we once called “normal.”
I read the book of Acts during the month of May, and it has reminded me that since the time of Jesus’ birth and earthly ministry, those who have followed him have done so in a way that has been counter-cultural.
Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, and now his followers were spreading his message everywhere. It was a far cry from the normal lives people were trying to live.
Disciples of Jesus were healing, breaking out of prison and being very vocal about the message they had for the world.
The disciples were delivering their message with urgency, and in this season, God is teaching me more and more how time is precious and His message is urgent.
Has a deadly virus impeded how we go about our lives, jobs and worship? Absolutely. We’ve troubleshooted our way through distance learning (Teachers and Parents, you are saints!), technology learning curves, decimation of our volunteers or workforce and the grief of not being able to physically gather.
Meanwhile, we only get a glimpse into what’s going on in hospitals around the country. If any of us are so privileged to have a family member whose job is essential, we see the sacrifice they make everyday of themselves, their family, and everyone around them.
Every time I hear the story of an essential worker, especially anyone in the medical field, I pause and thank God. I thank Him for that individual and their service. I thank Him for a roof over my head and my spouse. And I try to pause from lamenting my plans that have been cancelled and the things I can’t do.
Many of the essential workers I know don’t know Jesus. My witness to each of them is staying at home because they can’t. This isn’t a crisis that we only recognize by what state we live. Our actions make a difference on behalf of the country and the world. My witness to them is praying for each of them, and letting them know that.
If you look at the book of Acts, there were these disciples of Jesus that were reaching out to expand who needed to know about Jesus. It wasn’t just the Jews, but the Gentiles too! But these people were “unclean.” How could they possibly be good enough to join this movement?
Another passage that has struck me in this time is the verse just before the one I usually quote in Acts 1.
We are trying to plan for the future. We are trying to plan for a return to buildings for work, entertainment and worship. We miss hugs and handshakes. We long for a physical community.
Moving forward for me and my family looks much different than it did a month ago. Never did I imagine that I would experience one of the most difficult seasons of my career in the middle of a pandemic. Never did I imagine God calling me out of a place and a time of waiting for a new call.
And it has been humbling to seek help in such an uncertain time. As we job search just to pay the bills, I am thankful for the support of friends and family. And if you want to help, please check this out: gf.me/u/ygimab
But as Jesus says in this passage of Scripture, we aren’t supposed to know how long these seasons last. We have to move forward, trusting in an unchanging God, even as everything changes around us.