Who’s Been Here?

This whole COVID experience is something that none of us have ever experienced before. Nothing like it ever happened to us, our parents, and probably even our grandparents. We’re parenting our kids and leading our families into a territory that we simply don’t understand yet.

So in the name of honesty, let’s just name it…this experience has been worrying, interesting, fearful, and even exciting at times. Basically, every moment is something new right now. About the time we figure out one thing…it all changes again.

But here’s what I’m convinced of, even though none of us know what’s next we can still build our families on a foundation that we can be sure of. While the world changes hourly, our God never changes.

In our moments of wondering what’s next, in our moments of planning, and even in our moments of fear we can still point ourselves, our family, and our friends towards that God.

 

Here are some incredible promises of God to hang our hats on as we figure out this new normal:

  1. God Did Not Give Us This Life to Live in Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear, worry, and timidity – all of these are natural human emotions. They come out when we worry that we’re not in control of our own fate or when we’re uncertain of where our feet rest. But those were never supposed to be the defining characteristics of someone who puts their faith in Jesus.

Our lives are meant to be marked by a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. Power to have faith when things are uncertain. Love for those around us who are struggling with fear and worry. Self-discipline to push towards God’s character and not toward what comes naturally and negatively.

Live in the Spirit that God has given you! The same Spirit that created the world, that rose people from the dead, and conquered death once and for all is in you! Live up to this promise and chose power, love, and self-discipline over fear and timidity.

 

  1. God Is Still With Us

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.

Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you!The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. – Psalm 121

When your world turns dark and your journey turns rugged, where do you turn for help?

David knew a thing or two about struggles in life! Picked from a young age to lead a nation that had lost its way, friendships sacrificed because of a political moment that he didn’t create, and even hiding out from a madman looking to kill him.

Yet he still had the faith, against all odds, to write this Psalm. To point us to the truth that God is still with us even when we feel like He might be asleep at the wheel. David describes God as both helper and maker and as guardian and keeper.

God helps and makes a way for us even we ­­­­­­­­­­it seems like all options are exhausted. But at the same time he also guards for us and keeps us sage while we come and go; or while life comes at us. That’s a promise worth keeping close!

 

  1. God’s Not Done With Us

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Paul knew that the enemy of our soul would use, and does use, every trick to discourage us from this truth. The truth that we aren’t finished yet. The truth that God isn’t done with us, even when we feel hunted, abandoned, and knocked down.

It’s actually quite the opposite. When life presents us struggles and hardships we’re actually stepping into the death of Jesus. A death that was unearned, was painful, and felt like the darkest day. But on the other side of our struggles is God’s promise that the life of Jesus will be seen through our spirits in the midst of our struggles.

To put it a different way, as a bald pastor we all love said, “When things get darker, the church shines brighter.” In the moments when you feel like your life can’t get darker, it’s time to believe that God’s plan is about to shine brighter.