Dear church family,
Marks on the walls really stand out when you start moving furniture. Maybe you have noticed this when rearranging rooms as part of shutdown adjustments at home. The scratches and smudges outlining the former position of a couch or desk may take us by surprise. Suddenly the wall seems to beg for washing if not repainting. What we thought would be a blank space turned out to be a dirty space.
So it is with our lives generally: the shutdown has brought many candidates for maintenance into view. We may not have noticed these during the first few weeks as we rushed to reorganize work, school, and church. Now we have settled into our homebound existence decluttered of many of our previous activities. Many of us have gained a clearer picture of ourselves – our true level of self-discipline, spiritual vigor, level of connection with family members, compassion, overall sense of purpose, and so forth. We may find our lives more unkempt in some of these categories than we realized.
We probably wonder what God is doing. His plan at a macro level (world, nation, church) we can understand only partially. What he is teaching us at the individual level, however, we can more easily trace. Surely at a minimum he is calling us to engage with the “dirty spots.” Are you ready to get closer and do some deep cleaning? This will involve thinking about how the area in question got into disrepair. It will mean marshaling the resources God has given to tackle the problem – prayer, reading, counsel, conversations with friends. You will also need to keep refreshing yourself with the truth that Jesus forgives your sins and the Holy Spirit really empowers change.
We may be entering the most spiritually profitable part of the shutdown trial. How wonderful if we could emerge from COVID-19 having significantly grown as Christians. This is within reach. The God who brought the work to our attention will also bring us grace, endurance, and fruit in due time. The familiar promise of Psalm 126:6 is worth remembering:
“He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Pastor Dan Clifford