Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Because a short time seemed an eternity to me as an 11 year old boy, my parents bought me my first wrist watch.
My father and I had hiked about a mile into the woods from our house. He told me to sit and wait for him. He would return shortly.
I became anxious.
I became afraid.
My imagination raced. Had he had a tragic fall? Did a wild beast get him? I called out as loud as I could for a very long time. I worked myself into a frenzy. Adrenaline raced through my body as I ran the mile back home for help. Returning with my mother and sisters we met my father on his way home. He was looking for me. Only a short time had passed but it had seemed an eternity to me. I as relieved he was okay and a bit embarrassed as well.
It was a traumatic experience for me, but at least I got a watch as a result.
We know our perspectives about time has a huge impact on us. Kids, after five minutes on a ten hour road trip, sincerely ask, “Are we there yet?” We say, “Time flies when your having fun” because . . . well, because it does. When we sit by the bedside of a loved one who is dying, strangely time flies and time drags on.
As followers of Jesus we are encouraged to view things from an eternal perspective. We also are to live each day making the most of the time. When we see things from God's eternal perspective it has a huge impact on our values, priorities, and ability to deal with life's challenges. But, if you are like me, you probably still struggle with being patient at least some of the time.
There are some examples in the Bible I find helpful as I try to look at life from God's perspective. I think of Abraham who was promised a son . . . but had to wait 25 years to realize the promise. There is Noah who devoted 100 years to building an ark. Moses spent 80 years being prepared to lead God's people, 40 of which were in the obscurity of tending sheep in the wilderness. Joseph spent years as a slave and prisoner before God elevated him to his work. Jesus' public ministry was about three years of his 33 year lifetime. And we have been subjected to a “stay at home” order and not been able to have church services for . . . . uh . . . like five weeks now. “But Lord! It seems like an eternity!” It may be another eternity before the order is lifted, right?
Some people seem to easily embrace that this will pass relatively soon. With them, I too know that God is in control. He is still working during this time. I agree, at least in my head, but I confess that I also have to work quite hard to keep a proper perspective.
Additionally I find it hard to just take one day at a time. I try not be too concerned about how things will work when the restrictions are loosened somewhat. However, it is appropriate that we give some thought to when and how we will resume church services when allowed. It seems likely that there will be limits on group sizes along with social distancing requirements. Consensus is that it may be a long time until the previous “normal” is possible.
As we anticipate the time we will be able to resume services I am pondering how we will be able to function given the facility we have, the people in the body, and the constraints we will face. I would like your help and input.
Would you please take some time to pray that God will give us wisdom in these things? Also, would you please think about how things might work and send me your thoughts and suggestions? For example: What will be your concerns? What will need to be done for you and your family to be comfortable attending services? How can we follow the rules, keep people reasonably safe, and still accomplish the purpose God has for us meeting together?
We are all different and have different perspectives so the more input in the planning stage the better able we will be to address concerns and show consideration for one another.
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed. Proverbs 15:22
I look forward to hearing from you and trust that you will be praying for me and the elders to be humble, wise, discerning, and faithful each and every day.
Serving with joy,