1. God is always working
I love the story of Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6 when they are surrounded by enemy forces. Whilst the servant is fearful and wanting Elisha to ‘get some perspective of reality’, the prophet instead prays that the servant’s eyes would be open to what is really going on. And what he sees when his eyes are open, is a heavenly army surrounding them outnumbering their enemy. In this season I pray we have eyes to see where God is amidst the pandemic and racial injustice, amidst turmoil and heartache and chaos. For just like Elisha’s servant, I believe if we have eyes to see we will find ourselves surrounded and protected by the Lord.
2. You are going to be ok
The truth is you will be ok. God is working all things together for good. That doesn’t mean everything that happens will be good for you, but that He has a bigger world view. An eternal perspective and He is working His plan out day by day, month by month, and year by year. Tim Keller says that “God answers your prayers in precisely the way you want them to be answered if you knew everything He knew”. I love that thought.
3. Your gifts have always been for service (and there’s always someone to serve)
We were always made and created with gifts and talents for service, not for status. Which means that a natural outworking of worship is to want to serve – they are like two sides of the one coin. I have heard so many people say in this season that they feel robbed as they can’t lead worship or serve on production teams or in an area as church isn’t physically meeting right now. I want to encourage you to think wider about what it can look like to serve.
Maybe in this season you can (safely 😄) invite people into your home for a meal or to watch church together, you can carry someone’s burdens in prayer or by helping practically; mow a lawn, drop kids at school, deliver a meal, help pack food hampers, donate to a local food bank or turn up with coffee when your creative team is recording for Sunday 😉.
4. Joy is a choice
The prophet Habakkuk talks about when everything is going wrong when the fig tree fails to produce fruit and there is no livestock (when the economy crashes and the signs of abundant life are few and far between) … YET WILL I REJOICE.
I will rejoice in GOD.
It is a deliberate, intentional choice to campaign for joy in spite of the facts of what is happening and I think we can all remind ourselves each morning as the sun rises, to choose joy. To let your countenance be bright, your face smile, and your heart be pure. To choose to find joy in who God is!
5. Faithfulness is the posture of your heart
We have a stickable faith. Just like when I made my marriage vows, I determined there was no plan B when it comes to following Jesus. Like the song says “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back no turning back”. I have determined in this season to not make decisions that move me out of God’s will for me. To remain faithful to Him, to His Word, and to the community of faith. Just like joy, it’s a choice to be faithful. To continue to meet online when you could watch Netflix. To pick up my Bible when I would rather not and to commit to a relationship with Jesus throughprayer.
6. Community is crafted
This is a season unlike any other and yet we can still build community and foster relationships. I have found in this season some of my dearest international friends have become my solace as Zoom is the great equaliser (and cheaper than a plane ticket 😝). I have also discovered that if I want to have friends and community I have to initiate it, not just watch others having people over and wonder why I’m not invited. Piece by piece, meal by meal, text by text, conversation by conversation, we build our relationships.
7. Smarter people than us have good things to contribute to the conversation
In this season it’s easy to find yourself in an echo chamber, where you only listen to one set of voices or rhetoric. If racial injustice taught me anything this year, it was to stop and listen to people’s stories. And likewise, I would say the same when it comes to understanding the Bible. We find ourselves dealing with ancient texts with the comfort of 2000 years of Church history and smart people who have wrestled with the Scriptures, people who have laboured to understand context and content. So my advice would be to listen to those voices! Use commentaries, read widely, listen to others, and seek to understand.
8. The Bible is our true north
Don’t lose your bearings. The Bible stabilizes us. It brings comfort correction, wisdom, direction, and lets us understand what God thinks about our world and says about Himself. It lets us in on how He has related to people for generations and gives us the confidence to say that if He has done it before, He will do it again. It is our hope for forgiveness and life and it is our hope for better days to come
9. Prayer works
When Jesus walked the Earth He taught us to pray; simply and effectively. So let’s take His words. Apply them daily and trust Him. Commit to honesty and telling Him about where you are at … He knows anyway.
We keep a sheet of brown paper on the wall in our house. And each time we hear of a need, we add it to the list. Then when I walk by, I pray for some of the items on there. We have seen God answer so many of those prayers … and we will keep praying!
10. Chocolate chip cookies make everything better!!
Here’s a great recipe, I hear they might also be free from Covid calories 😜