We were heading forward to a great milestone at Living Hope. All the preparations we lined up and everyone was ready to go for our 20th Anniversary celebration. But it did not happen at all. We had to cancel at the last minute because Covid! It was another one of those curve balls that life often sends across our path. So how do we respond?
You can imagine that I was personally disappointed. I did everything that I could to ensure that the celebration could go forward. Yet, the deciding factor was the confirmation a day before the event that my dry cough, plugged sinus and fatigue was more than a common sickness. So we pulled the plug on everything until the dust could settle. We will be resuming services that week now that I and a few other key leaders are safely on the other side of Covid. Here are some insights from my perspective on surviving, what appears to be a, major set back to our plans.
It always helps me to remind myself the truth about my relationship with God. “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”” (Revelation 19:4) This is the first step in surviving the unknowns of life, there are two steps here. The first is that God is “seated on the throne.” This is a picture of something that we struggle to really grasp. It so the picture of the Sovereign Ruler the position of managing and controlling His kingdom. He is not missing from the throne. He has not been replaced on the throne. He is not running around fighting fires. No, he is sitting, at rest and in control. The truth that God is in control changes everything. This brings us to a second step of surviving life’s struggles. It is seen on the term “worship.” My worship is multifaceted, but it can be boiled down to my surrender to God’s authority in my life. There are many times in my life that I know that truth, but I am unwilling to embrace it. I can know that God is in control but continue to accomplish my agenda. Yet, the real victory comes when I lay down my will and embrace God’s will for my life. This is a practical definition of worship. The figurative picture of the twenty-four elders bowing down picture the willful embracing of the Sovereign’s working.
I remember back in college, studying engineering, that my major specific classes were almost always coupled with a lab. We would spend the time learning the theory and then would go to the lab to put it into practice. It is interesting that there were those that were great with theory but weak in application. My strength would have been with the other group that was strong in application. Our time in God’s Word and the practice of the spiritual disciplines would be the theory part of our training. Our lab is real life. Here is a third step from a recent message from 2 Corinthians 12. “But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Let me leave you with this thought. God’s power is released through me in the twists and turns of life!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson