My eyes popped open at 5:00 this morning and my mind immediately resumed its coronavirus pace, bouncing from need-to-need and from one challenge to another. And then, while I was doing what I do, going face-to-face, row-by-row, praying for us, I knew what Paul meant when he wrote to the church in Philippi,
“Every time I think of you, I thank my God. And whenever I mention you in my prayers, it makes me happy. This is because you have taken part with me …”
We are partners in this Grace. Partners in Hope and Good News. Partners in this work we have been trusted with. I’m often the mouth. I’m often the face and the voice. That means I hear, “thanks, Scott” and “great job, Scott” when, in reality, all I’ve done is stood by smiling while you have moved to meet needs and love others.
Paul continued in his letter with phrases that I totally get:
– “You have a special place in my heart.”
– “All of you have helped.”
– “God himself knows how much I want to see you.”
– “He knows that I care for you in the same way that Christ Jesus does.”
I’ve managed to escape my house a few times before my family has awakened. (They are keeping a pretty tight watch over this “high-risk” husband, dad and grampa!) I’ve made my way over to our church building to sit on the platform, looking out at the empty room, longing to hear our church family loudly singing praises. I can picture Jasmine’s smiling face peeking over the pew a few rows back to my left, and Bruce and Barb waving from the back right. I go face-by-face and pray.
I’ve asked God how long it will be before we will gather again. How long until I get my hugs from Emma and Clara? How long until I will be poking fun at Phil and Dana? How long until tears of joy fill my eyes as my grandchildren dance in our arms again in our family row while we sing praises together? How long until the Morton clan teases me with a chorus of meowing? How long until Ann beams her smile and asks me how she can pray?
And, I tell my heavenly Father that I do not like this at all. He understands.
I’ve heard no booming answers from heaven. I’ve had no visions in my dreams. I don’t need those things. He has given me all the revelation I need in his book that reminds me, over and over and over, that my purpose here is to bring Hope and rescue to people so they might see and know what I have seen and know. He reminds me that he sent out his followers into very challenging times praying that they would stay united while accomplishing the mission he gave them and modeled for them.
Each time I have managed to escape my house to sit in our empty auditorium, I’ve tried to sing the words our music team has led for us but have been unable to finish.
“I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again”
(https://youtu.be/0B_lnQIITxU – listen here)
God has never failed his people. Even during the difficult times in history when the church has been scattered, had to seek shelter or even been forced into hiding, God has sustained it and more people have found refuge in him. At the darkest times, His true church has demonstrated his love and faithfulness and I believe God is now doing it again.
I miss you, church family. It seems so much longer to me because this comes right on the heels of my having been away for three weeks. I was just getting back and going again, excited about all that was ahead.
But, I am confident of this, that our God, who began his amazing work in us, will now put it to use and be glorified. He will complete it! He will take all of the equipping he has given us and now put it to use and we will be Light in the darkness, Hope in trouble, Peace in chaos and certainty in the face of uncertainty.
I am so thankful that God has given us this technology so that we can still be connected. I love seeing your faces and hearing your voices online.
I love you and miss you guys,