I awakened this morning to Day 4 of the Washington State Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate. Wait, what? Has it really only been 4 days? Is it just me, or has time slowed to a crawl while the munchies have shifted into high gear? Seriously! What is up with that??
Like everyone else, our lives have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 restrictions. Helping my husband shepherd our church family, communicate with our staff, and navigate the technical challenges of livestreaming our Sunday services has been crazy. Thank the Lord for technically savvy people who have stepped up to handle all the details!
I’d love to share with you a passage of scripture and how it is helping me deal with my own anxieties and stress right now. If we look at our circumstances alone, we will despair. But, according to God’s Word, we have reason to rejoice!!
Romans 5:3-5 ESV
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
There are so many unanswered questions right now, but it appears everyone knows this is going to be a long fight. Our natural response is to want this to end quickly, and who wouldn’t? But what if God is working in our waiting? The awareness of the immense prolonged suffering happening around us can feel like more than we can bear. Be encouraged! In Romans 5, the word endurance is the Greek word hupomone, which means, to bear up under…it is the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
What are we learning about ourselves and our character as our lives are constantly disrupted by inconvenience and restrictions? How are we responding to the anxieties and fears that threaten our peace? As we bear up under these hardships and continue to stay loyal to Jesus’ calling on our lives, we can know that through these fires He is forging the character of an enduring, faithful saint.
I’m sure you’ve seen it on the faces of frantic shoppers in the grocery store and on the news. People need hope. Not hollow words or pithy promises… something real and solid on which to stand. The greatest gift God’s children can offer right now is genuine hope in the indestructible life of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:16).
Romans 15:4 ESV
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Friends, I am very much aware that God is at work. I don’t grasp the big picture, but I can see, as I’m sure you can, little glimpses of His wisdom and grace sweeping over this broken, old world. What a time to be alive! What a gift God has given His children to rise to the occasion and live up to our callings.
Let’s ask Him to pour His love into our hearts fresh and new each day (v.5) and take every opportunity to let that love overflow to others.
May He be Glorified!
Kelleen Little has been married for 39 years to the love of her life, who also happens to be her pastor. She is the grateful mother of a son and daughter-in-law, and an over-the-moon Nana to the cutest little guy you’ve ever seen. Transplanted from South Texas, she and her husband, Terry, planted Crossover Church in Spokane, Washington in 1996 where they serve today. While her primary focus is her local church, she is also blessed with opportunities to write Bible studies and speak at women’s events and retreats from time to time. Two decades in full-time women’s ministry have afforded Kelleen a wide range of experiences serving His daughters in the Pacific Northwest, as well as in six foreign countries. Connect with Kelleen on Facebook, Twitter and at www.crossoverchurch.info.
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