From the Parsonage...
Well, here we are again at the beginning of a
new year! Almost everyone I know is definitely
ready for 2020 to end and 2021 to begin. The typical
pattern at this time is to look back at the previous
year to see what we did or did not accomplish and
then to use that information to set new goals as we
look ahead. Unfortunately, 2020 was the ultimate
example of "Take one step forward and two steps
back." Instead of the usual plan of setting higher
goals than we did at this time last year, we may have
to be satisfied with just holding on. At least, that's how I see it as far as my hopes for our church, especially in regard to attendance, activities, and finances. On the bright side though, we have been very blessed with faithful members who have continued to support us as much as possible with their attendance, finances, and prayers throughout a very stressful pandemic season, and there now seems to be high hopes for the future as newly discovered vaccines become available.
Although we didn't have control over the virus that practically shut down our country and resulted in economic hardships for many people, I wonder if that experience may have opened our eyes to what we do have control over. We've been forced to stop doing many things we were used to and to start doing things we didn't necessarily like. Our personal freedoms were infringed upon as our normal activities were curtailed and, especially, as we were required to "mask up" just to be around other people outside our homes. That really made me realize how lucky I've been to live in a free country all my life, and it also made me long to get that country back!
So, what do I want for 2021? What's my perfect scenario? I want to see this sickness go away as soon as possible. I want my family and friends to be able to gather together again without worrying about the numbers or where they've been. I want my church to be open and filled with all those people I've missed seeing. I want the economy restored with stores and restaurants to be fully accessible without restrictions. And most of all, I want to breathe! Without a mask! Wow, I just realized my perfect scenario is exactly what we lost during the last year! All the things I took for granted.
That makes me wonder if God was giving us a wake up call...if we had gotten complacent in His blessings and had started relying too much on self. It wouldn't be a new thing. All you have to do to understand this is read the history of His people. Over the centuries, mankind has shown over and over that they consistently drift away from their Creator and then come crying back to Him when times are hard. See, as long as times are good and we appear to be in control of our lives, we don't remember that we need God. It's generally when times get tough and we can't fix things ourselves that we really appreciate how much He does for us. Maybe this year will send our nation crying back to God to restore our perfect scenario, the one we didn't realize we had. May it be so.
“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10