When I awakened this morning, my first thought was not joy, not faith, not hope. Perhaps you do better at pushing away the heaviness than I do. I wish I could, but my mind filled up at 6 am with thoughts about my friend still in ICU, critically ill; about a server who has brought me breakfast for years who is now without an income; about the millions of small businesses that are facing potential bankruptcy; about my inability to do what I have done for my entire life because I am ‘social distancing’ from people for whom I care which is the polar opposite of what a pastor does.
And then … yes, I chose FAITH over FEAR!
The Spirit of God whispered to me. “Jerry, don’t minimize the problem. Magnify the Lord!” Faith does not ignore reality and our situation right now is dire. Faith looks higher to God. That is not a platitude, nor does it mean that all the troubles will disappear when I find the right prayer to say. Faith chooses trusts in Him, and allows us to find a “firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1, The Message)
After COVID19, life will go on, differently for all us, but it will go on. There will be loss, grief, orientation to new realities, and …
the potential to grow in the beauty of the Lord.
Let me illustrate with a snippet of my own story. Six years ago, at this very season, Bev and I learned that she had advanced ovarian cancer and that the likelihood of her recovery was slim. As the doctor told us the grim news, we shook (literally!) like trees in a heavy storm. Our minds could barely grasp his words. Our hearts were battered. She was staring at months of suffering, I was facing the loss of my love. No, there is no fairy tale ending to that story. She died on December 29, 2015. But, I chose, with the help of dear friends and a precious God, to live. Her life continues in a realm invisible to me and mine continues, differently, here. In that awful season, we found deeper love and greater faith. That is not intended to sugarcoat the awfulness of it all.
Today … just for this day … choose faith! A favorite Psalm of mine is the 37th.
David gives faith some actions words, ones with which we can engage ourselves. He says,
“Trust in the LORD and
do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:2-7, NIV)
Go back and re-read those bolded words. “Trust … do good … delight in the Lord … commit your way… be still!” Maybe you would want to write those down and make them your reminder when fear starts to make you tremble.
Here is a word from the Word. “The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; He is their stronghold in time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39, NIV)
Don’t minimize the problem. Magnify the Lord!
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found
You make me new You are making me new
You make me new You are making me new (REPEAT)
Lisa Gungor | Michael Gungor © 2009 worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
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Pastor Jerry Scott
Faiith Discovery Church