“Pastor, church just isn’t the same… when will it be normal again?” I don’t know.
The Church is in a wilderness of sorts. But remember – the wilderness is not a curse. It is a blessing. The promises of God don’t change. They are tried and true (Ps. 119:140).
Without faith in God’s Word, we will misdiagnose the problem and prescribe the wrong solutions. The world hates the wilderness, but Christians have an enduring perspective on seasons of testing. Consider God’s view of the original exodus from Deuteronomy 8:2-3:
“You shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
God has given us the blessing of time. Most of us have time right now that we didn’t expect to have. Like the ancient Israelites, I have spent much of that time grumbling about how difficult life has become this year. I’ve squandered much of it on social media and entertainment. I’ve spent very little time asking myself what God intends to do with me right now. I’ve even had doubts about my calling and purpose. I suspect I’m not alone.
We all know the things we are supposed to do to live a healthy life – eat better foods, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, etc. But healthy habits are difficult to form. Most of us wait until we desperately need to change our lifestyles before we do. A trip to the hospital becomes our wake-up call.
Sometimes God strips away all the other things we try to depend on to remind us that all we really need is Him. I don’t know when this current season will end, but I have felt some conviction about what to do in the meantime. I will devote myself to God’s Word and to prayer, the means by which we abide in Christ. And I will do my best to lead Christ Fellowship towards a similar commitment.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be gathering some resources and guides to help individuals and families (including children) spend more quality time in the Word and in prayer. If you have some suggestions or ideas, let me know!