As I write for this month’s newsletter devotional, we are in the throes of coping with the Covid-19 virus outbreak. Just as I had begun thinking we had made it through a mild winter without missing any Sundays for bad weather, we are now facing a month or more of cancelling worship and Sunday School. Thank you for your flexibility and for your faithfulness to God and His Church in these trying times.
We’re learning the true meaning of some of the songs we sing:
His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way, He, then, is all my hope and stay
On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand
Faith in our omnipotent God is not a wish or a guarantee that we’ll always have it easy, but rather an abiding confidence in God’s goodness, righteousness, and truth even in (especially in) times of struggle and uncertainty.
I think of the little boy who was saying his nighttime prayers, “God, bless Mommy and Daddy, Granny and Grandpa, my dog, my cat, etc, etc.” After a pause, he said, “And God, take care of yourself. If anything happens to you, we’re all sunk.” Well, no worries. Nothing has, and nothing will.
Deuteronomy 33.27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, ‘Destroy him!’
God may choose to take us through some valleys, storms, and dark days, as he seems to be doing now. But remember in Psalm 23 when David talked about walking “through the valley of the shadow of death,” he used the word “through,” not “into.” Valleys are inevitable, but valleys aren’t forever.
David called it the “shadow of death.” What creates shadows? Light, in this case, the everlasting light of God’s glory which shone most brightly in the face of his Son, Jesus Christ, who took the world’s worst upon himself at the cross, and on the third day rose victoriously.
I’m not sure what the situation will be by the time you read this over the next few days. In the meantime, the church is on a very minimum schedule, though we are as available as possible by phone. You are welcome to call Pastor Becky or Pastor Mark at 765-349-0946, and most of you have our cell phone numbers as well. We’d be glad to talk, pray over the phone, read Scripture together, or recommend Scripture passages or songs like those above.
Please remember the ongoing needs of the church during these weeks when no Sunday morning offerings are being received. The church facility, ongoing obligations, and staff support continue to need your support and faithfulness in giving. Thank you for knowing we can depend on you. You may utilize our online giving option at fumcmartinsville.org (call the church office if you need help with it), and of course, you may mail your tithes and offerings to the church office.
Also, even though we are not gathering on Sundays for a short time, we are still the church. You know, you can’t cancel church. Over the years and centuries, many have tried, but Jesus promised, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16.18). Only you can cancel church by failing to BE the church, by forgetting God, failing to pray, and forgetting about the needs and problems of your neighbors and your church family.
Most of all, let us be people of prayer. When I come up against something I don’t understand, I fall back on what I do know. I know God is faithful. I know God is strong. I know God is omnipotent and omniscient and does all things well. I know that God can work all things together for good for those who love him and surrender to his purpose and plan (Romans 8.28). I know our church is people who love God and love each other, and that even while we’re safely keeping our distance, we’re one in heart and soul and seeking to glorify God.