How are you 'holding up?'
How are you “holding up” as you deal with lingering COVID-19 restrictions on business and gatherings? If you’re like me, you want things to get back to normal sooner than later!
Let me assure you that the churches in Rock County (and beyond) have been praying for you. We cry out to God for healing for those who have been sickened by COVID-19. We ask God to comfort those who have lost friends or loved ones to this disease. We seek God’s provision for those who have lost hours at work or who are pinched by changes in the markets that hurt producers and consumers alike.
We give thanks for health care providers and others whose service may expose them to the virus. And we pray for wisdom for our leaders as they, like us, are responding in unprecedented ways to complexities of the situation.
Many years ago I memorized the first chapter of the New Testament book of James. I’d have to do some intense reviewing to be able to quote it by heart again. But a few of the verses are still with me: “My brothers, consider it pure joy when you fall into various trials, knowing this: that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. But let perseverance finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:3-4)
There’s a lot of sound wisdom in these verses. I’m still learning what it means to consider “pure joy” life’s circumstances that are difficult and unpleasant.
The key is to remember that trials aren’t random. Instead, they are tools that God can use to bring about good things in our lives. I don’t like the sharp edge of adversity. But it’s a joyful thing to know that God uses trials to shape us, to form us, to make us more like Himself.
A hymn by Caroline Sandell Berg (1855) says it well:
God has given, He has taken,
But His children ne’er forsaken;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
What about you? Do you expect God to use trials for good in your life? I hope you do. I’m looking forward to when all restrictions on gatherings are lifted. Germs or not, I’m looking forward to handshakes! I’m looking forward to when we’ll be able to fill completely our church buildings and make the rafters echo with praises to God.
God is good. And since He has already given us the greatest possible gift (see John 3:16) may we trust that He will also help us with lesser things.