from my perspective…
There was a special doorpost in our home with lines and dates showing how much the children had grown. Unfortunately, no door post can measure how we have grown spiritually. Each year brings blessings that affirm and challenges that test our spiritual growth. This year has been remarkable because it tested our ability to keep our balance through disruption. This is not to discount the premature deaths that have occurred but to put into perspective that for the majority of Americans disruption has been the major effect of the plague.
Frankly, I’m not fond of disruptions. When I work, I work. When I play, I play. More than once, I have observed this character trait must make me a very dull companion. I admire people who can banter back and forth while keeping their concentration on the task at hand. Therefore, this last spring was a challenge for me. I didn’t realize how much of a challenge until a friend said, “You’ve changed.” It made me realize I wasn’t handling the disruption as well as I could. I had put more faith in the doomsayers than the promises of God.
Challenges test our faith. Our ability to trust God in all situations has been tried and sometimes damaged this year. This challenge is not a new phenomenon, nor will it be the last challenge. The enemy knows that if he can plant a spirit of distrust in our heart when trouble erupts, it can lead to despair, and our faith in God to protect us and provide for us suffers.
Esther and her kindred were heavily challenged (much more than we have been) when they were carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon. They left as citizens to become little more than slaves in a foreign land. Esther’s parents died, and her much older cousin Mordecai steps in to act as her step-father. When the king issues an edict to annihilate the Jews, Esther, who has become the Queen, is distraught and seeks advice. Mordecai responds, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13–15, ESV) Esther gathers her courage and saves her kindred from death and destruction.
Now that we have had a chance to take a breath over Christmas. Now that the fall surge of illness and death has subsided, we have an opportunity to face the new year, not as those who have no hope, who live without God in their hearts, but as children of God who know He will provide and protect us. We need not fear any evil news, for He will see us through the coming year, He is our rock and salvation. And with our focus on Him, we will grow in faith as children of God.
Let’s pray: Father, we thank you that nothing is hidden from You. We praise you for your goodness and mercy and the love You hold for your people. We pray that You will restore our faith in Your provision, for not even the gates of death are a challenge for You. We pray that you will bring restoration and healing to the people of our nation. We pray that Your truth and Your justice will once again be honored and sought out in our nation, our universities, and our public forums. For You are the God of Salvation and on You we will put our trust day and night. Amen
Your Pastor, praying for the strengthening of our faith in troubled times, Dennis