“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (N.L.T.)
How many of you made a difficult job transition during 2020? I did. After having the honor of serving as the Pastor of a wonderful local church for 28 years, my role shifted. Serving as the pastor of a local church in the new environment created by the Coronavirus shutdown has required many new approaches and fine tuning of the old “ministry tool kit;” it feels like starting all over again. This new wine needs a new wine skin – the old wine skins have all burst.(1) This transition has been tiring and discouraging at times. But I’m grateful to Jesus, who has used this season to draw me closer to Him. He’s accomplished this by revealing areas where I have failed to fully trust in Him alone.
There were many reasons to submit to fear and anxiety in 2020; unrest and riots in cities, the unleashing of a pandemic and economic losses due to shut-downs, the most contentious election in recent history, and the pain of a sharply divided nation. This fear and anxiety, however, revealed the shallow quality of our faith. It’s obvious now; our trust in the Sovereign Christ would last only as long as life was relatively conflict free.
So here’s my confession; I’m actually grateful for the challenges of this past year. As tough as these months have been, nothing else could have exposed the shallowness of my trust in Christ more effectively. I “believed” all the right things, and had enough faith to be saved but, in truth, circumstances still had the power to shake me.
God has faithfully called His church back to Himself. He’s accomplished this by exposing the terrible trinity of idols unique to American Christianity; comfort, convenience, and safety. We’ve been willing to hold to a form of faith as long as it didn’t threaten these three big idols. But if we fully trust Jesus’ power, faithfulness, and goodness, we will live in perfect peace come what may – even when life becomes uncomfortable, or inconvenient, or unsafe for Christians.
Those of us who claim to follow Christ have had a major wake-up call. We have unintentionally negotiated a treaty with Satan that goes something like this; this wonderful nation will keep us comfortable and safe, and Jesus will guarantee us Heaven after this life. We have settled for a subtle form of idolatry, but our idols were not golden calves. Comfort, convenience, and personal safety have supplanted our full trust in Jesus Christ, the commander of the Hosts of Heaven.
The cure? To put our trust so fully in Christ that our hearts remain at peace in spite of circumstances. Then the joy of the Lord will become our strength and the peace of Christ will guard our hearts. (3) And all we’ll need is His promise to always be with us.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2
- Mark 2:21-22
- Isaiah 26:3
- Philippians 4:7)
2 thoughts on “Never Alone”
Praise the Lord! So very encouraging (and a bit convicting) :o)
A wonderful reminder I need to fully trust in Jesus in the highs and lows of ths life. God bless.