Never in my wildest imaginings did I see us being in such a season as this. The terms “social distancing” and “flattening curves” have become a regular part of our vocabulary. The nightly news and our social media feeds bring not only the happenings of the day (complete with statistics and new directives) but also all sorts of experts (real or imagined) telling us how to cope with what’s coming next.
As for us pastors, no classes existed in the seminary curriculum entitled, “Pastoring Through a Pandemic.” We’re all on a learning curve to communicate and connect with our people and how to give appropriate care in the midst of the physical distancing. And now, as one meme on the internet noted, “And just like that, our pastors are televangelists” (thank you, Suzan) where now our main way to execute a service is online. We’ve become reliant on technology for most every facet of communication and connection. Person-to-person is now out. We are learning how to be both high-touch and high tech. (Did I mention that this is a learning curve? It’s such a curve it’s almost a circle!)
Yet, it’s in times like this that Christians find a way to be creative, innovative, and solution-finders rather than give in to fear, panic, and isolation. This season is proving to be most difficult, but this season also provides an opportunity for God to use us and to have a front row seat at seeing Him work.
We’re reminded of Esther who, after being taken in as the wife of the King of Persia, heard about Haman’s plan to eliminate all of the Jews in Persia after the slight of Mordecia (Esther’s cousin and one who refused to bow down to Haman). Though Haman was second in command to King Ahasuerus (that’s uh-has-you-WEAR-us), Mordecai encouraged Esther to speak up for her people. “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?
God made no mistake—He put you here in this season for such a time as this. Now what?
First, pray. Pray for strength. Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance. Pray for health. Pray for the medical community! Pray for your neighbor. Pray for your fellow believers. Pray for your family. Pray for your church. Pray for your pastors. Pray for… Pray for… Pray! Pray! Pray!
Second, dig into the Scriptures! On March 29, we learned much about the person of Apollos who was confident in Christ and confident in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24-25). We need to rely on Christ and His promises, His purpose, His path—Him! This isolation provides you an opportunity to realize that you may be isolated from people, but in Christ we are never isolated from Him!
Third, write that email/letter/text to (1) a fellow believer who needs encouraging, (2) an unbeliever who needs to know about Christ. If you need some help, go to http://www.arbc.net/how-to-become-a-christian/. Here, I go through the 3 Circles. Stay connected! This is a frantic time for so many.
Fourth, be smart and safe! The litany of “stay at home, wash your hands” is the thing to do right now until we know better.
Fifth, let your family, friends, or church know if you need prayer or help in some way. We worry about being a bother. Well, be that bother! Give people the opportunity and the blessing to bless you!
Sixth, treasure your family. Many of you are working from home. Our kids just started online classes through LPS. Our routines are messed up. But you know what? That’s OK. Treasure the family that God has given to you.
We made our plans at the beginning of 2020. Goodness, we made our plans at the beginning of March. But remember Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Here are some passages to read in the meantime:
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Are sure you didn’t just skip over the lesson “Ministering during your Pandemic”, thinking “Oh, I will never need that, I’m a premillennialist!