-- Pastor Bob Norris (Interim Pastor)
One does not need to look very far to find something to convince you that everywhere you turn there is trouble brewing. Even Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh agrees with that perspective – “Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” Our world has been turned upside down with the onset of the covid-19 virus that has led to the volatile issues of mask/no mask, vaccine/anti-vaccine viewpoints. The political unrest of our nation has also fueled the loss of civility in our culture. Even a donkey like Eeyore is able to see that these are challenging days.
Followers of Jesus can easily lose perspective when they are not daily refreshing their soul through worship, Bible study and prayer. Spending time with other faithful Christ followers is also mission critical in order to prevent growing weary and losing heart. However, the cumulative effect of all the challenges we are facing can cause even mature believers to lose hope along the way.
I spent time this past weekend talking with a pastor friend from our days in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The covid virus and the government restrictions have been devastating to many north of the border including several of my ministry colleagues. One of them, whose church closed their doors shortly before our departure in the fall of 2019, has been looking for a new place of ministry since that time. He and his family have experienced financial and emotional challenges bordering on despair as they have waited upon the Lord. Another fellow pastor from that region announced his resignation last weekend and he is uncertain if he will even remain in ministry. These are difficult days.
I have been thinking of late about one of the authors of the Psalms – Asaph, who was one of King David’s chief musicians. He wrote 12 of the Psalms along with his sons, but something happened in his life that caused him to slide into the ditch spiritually. His story was recorded for us in Psalm 73. He looked at how the ungodly around him were prospering without a care in the world and now wonders if God really is good to those who are pure in heart (vs. 1). His perspective is so confused that he now believes that living for God has been in vain (vs. 13). Despair has certainly set in.
Then a transition takes place. Asaph finds himself in God’s house – the sanctuary (vs. 17a) and suddenly his perspective has changed. He now is able to see clearly that our God will always have the last word (vs. 17b-20). He also recognized that the relationship he has with our God is all he will ever need (vs. 23-26).
I have a good friend who found herself in a situation much like Asaph. The circumstances of life had become overwhelming and she found herself sliding back into her old abusive life of drugs and despair. She tried to cover it up for several months, but one day the police showed up and she was arrested for possession and selling heroin. It was the spiritual wakeup call that she desperately needed. I visited her several times in the county jail before she was sentenced to prison. On one occasion, someone had written on the large whiteboard in the library where I would meet with her this word – GODISNOWHERE. Given the location, my mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that it stood for GOD IS NO WHERE. My friend quickly pointed out that what it really meant was GOD IS NOW HERE. What a difference a couple of taps on the spacebar makes!
Whatever you are facing these days, never forget that our God keeps His promises to never leave us or forsake us. Our God is now here – in fact, He has never left!