Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t be afraid of what lies ahead.”
In his great little book, “The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart”, Harold Senkbeil was writing primarily to encourage pastors to stick with the task of caring for God’s people regardless of whatever the current set of circumstances happen to be. Towards the end of the book he pointed out how it is that the world has always been in a state of flux and turmoil, that’s normal, and therefore regardless of whatever else is going on in the world, the task for God’s people remains the same – we are to seize the day for the cause of Christ. At one point he was comparing our current day to the dawn of the Middle Ages and here is what he wrote:
“In many ways our world is much like theirs. Things familiar and comfortable have vanished, replaced by radically different lifestyles and values … We live in an era of change now between the age of reason and whatever comes after it. It is much like the world of late antiquity – when the classic age was collapsing and the early Middle Ages were just beginning to dawn. But those threatening years turned out to be the church’s moment in the sun, one of its best periods of vigorous mission and growth. It wouldn’t be too many centuries before those Germanic hordes that had sacked and looted the city of Rome would themselves become Christians.”
As we conclude our study of “Life on this side of the cross”, and as the COVID 19 pandemic begins to wind down and we start moving forward into whatever lies ahead for us as individuals and as a nation, there is no need to fear it. In all probability life is going to be different now in significant ways, but the mission of God’s church hasn’t changed. And the promise of Jesus that He will never leave us and never abandon us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5) is still true. Likewise, John 16:33 is still true too. There will be challenges ahead and there will be trouble, but we are to face it courageously because Jesus goes forward into it with us and He has already conquered the world.
In every generation of human history there have always been troubles and challenges, disasters and times of crisis, but they have always passed and history has marched on. The same will be true for us in our day. For our part, we need to be faithful and remain focused. Our mission is to shine for Jesus in the middle of whatever the circumstances are, and to help build His kingdom here on earth. Don’t be afraid of what lies ahead and do not be deterred. There will be great opportunities for good things to happen as we go forward from here.