For the past few months living here in Alberta, especially since the arrest of James Coates, I have had almost a one track mind. In moments of solitude, I think of the sound a clock makes in an empty room. When you can hear it ticking so loudly, it’s hard to think of much else. For me, it’s hard to think of anything other than the freedom and future of the church. (2 Timothy 3:1)(Ecclesiastes 3:1)
We’ve all lived with the issues surrounding Covid-19 for over a year now, but this issue in particular has consumed my mind lately, and I’m sure many other Christians’ minds as well. What do we do? What do we not do? Do we obey or disobey the restrictions and to what extent? Everyone has an opinion, and there is constant argument within different circles of believers.
I have my own convictions, but sometimes I feel like my head aches from it all, and if you care about the issue you probably understand that very well. I am usually willing to debate and discuss the problem with great fervour, but some days, some people, and some conversations make me want to crawl under my bed and not come out until Christ comes back.
These have been some of the most mentally exhausting months of my life, and I know many of you feel the same way. But I want to encourage anyone who feels like I do right now, whether you agree with my convictions, or you have different, maybe even contradictory, ones. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Times are changing, lives are changing, restrictions and convictions are changing, but God never changes. His promises are the same as they have always been, and he is faithful. (Hebrews 13:6-9)
In seasons of upheaval, the church must learn to rest on his unchanging grace. (Psalm 46)(Isaiah 54:10)
Whatever you may lose or gain, whether those things be good or bad, our Father in heaven watches over you. (Job 1:21-22) He will shelter you under his wings if you only run to him. (Psalm 91)
If God did not uphold his people, I wouldn’t be writing this. (Psalm 28:8-9) So many moments of my life lately have been riddled with sinful human fear. Though I am convinced by the Word of God, and conviction through the Holy Spirit that it is right to gather (Hebrews 10:23-25), I am so afraid of those who stand against us. When I first began attending church again, I hid my face from reporters as much as I could. I wouldn’t look at the back of the church as we clapped for the police standing there. Knots of fear filled my stomach when an angry man started yelling and swearing at a protest for James Coates’ release.
Whether or not you agree that we are called to gather even in these times, we are meant to be courageous for the Lord. (Ephesians 6:10-13) It has always been our calling to stand for Christ with boldness, yet we are not naturally bold for the truth. We are like Jonah called to Nineveh, and we run from God. (Jonah 2:1-9)
This is just one of the results of our sinful natures. We pray for deliverance out of our trials, when we should be praying for courage and strength from God to endure them. (Psalm 56:3-4)(Psalm 61:1-4) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have burned in the furnace without God, and so shall we. (Daniel 3:27-28)
We are like grass. Pitiful people that we are, we have no IDEA what God is using these times for. So if things seem to go downhill from here, know that he is in control, he knows exactly what he’s doing. (Psalm 102) Pray, Christian. Pray for boldness to be Daniel in the Lion’s Den, rather than Peter denying his Lord. (Daniel 6:20-22)
He has promised if you pray like this, he will be with you. What sinful fear you have will be taken away as he continues to sanctify you. (Hebrews 11)(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Often when I complain about all that’s going on, people try to encourage me by saying, “don’t worry it’s only for a little while.” While I always appreciate the sentiment, that isn’t how we should be approaching these struggles.
As hard as it is to hear, it should be clear by now that we have no idea when this will all end, or even if it ever fully will end on this earth. Only God knows that. (Luke 21:10-19)
We should not seek our comfort from empty promises, but we should seek it in the glory and majesty of God, and the furthering of his kingdom. (Isaiah 24:14-15)
It is him alone who gives us peace, and him who upholds us in every difficulty. (John 14:27)
Know that he can use any situation to his glory and our good, and even if this all goes on forever, if you abide in him he is working it out for your good. (Romans 8:28) You have no need to worry or be afraid, no matter what you are given to endure in this life, there is a reward for those who cling to him. (Revelation 21:1-5)
Lasting peace and joy await you if you seek refuge in him alone. And some day soon he will wipe every tear from your eye, and welcome you to the glory awaiting those who fight the good fight of faith.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39 ESV