Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. -Isaiah 41:10
“Do not fear.” This phrase appears over and over throughout scripture. These are the words of comfort from prophets, angels, and Jesus himself. What usually follows is a reminder that God is still present, and this verse in Isaiah is no different. In it, God is talking to Jacob and reminding him that God will not abandon him.
Imagine if there were a “Book of the Age of Covid” in the Bible. I think one of the first things God would tell us is that we should not be afraid or discouraged because God is still in charge and all of the promises and teachings we have studied over the years are still true. I think God would also remind us that God is still alive and at work in us. Therefore, we are encouraged to be active in our faith right now.
But, what does that look like when our world has been turned upside down? How does this hope and exhortation manifest in us when we are not gathered in our sanctuary and when the very gathering of the Body of Christ to sing songs of praise can bring damage to us and our neighbors? I think a “Book of the Age of Covid” would remind us that there are many ways to glorify God. We do it through our mission work in the community. We do it through our digital worship services. We do it through our daily lives in the ways that we walk with God and live by God’s commandments and by the ways we love our neighbor (and more!). But, how about within us? How can we spot God alive within us when our spirituality can feel so…dry when we have not gathered together?
A couple of years ago I attended a “CREDO” conference for pastors working on our own spirituality and how it connects with the various parts of our life including health, finances, our relationships, and our emotional and mental health. It was truly comprehensive, but there was a common thread, four questions that tied everything together:
Who am I?
Who is God calling me to be?
How am I responding?
How am I changing?
Since that conference, I still think about these questions on a regular basis. Genuine thought and prayer on these questions tend to reveal how God is working in my life and how I am called to respond. I hope you might move prayerfully through these questions, too. You could work on one a week for four weeks or move through all the questions each day, looking for how God might speak through the questions to you. No matter what you do, though, I would like to encourage you, Do not pause your spiritual journey to wait for a sense of normalcy. After all, there are not a lot of stories in the Bible about God pausing God’s work just because the story gets a little hairy. In fact, that is when God’s presence tends to be the strongest.
Grace and Peace,