I have to admit to you, the pandemic caught me completely off guard. The first week that the 250 capacity to worship services was announced I could hardly believe it, and then that week, as I saw cancellation after cancellation from other churches in city, and then ultimately the lockdown which kept most of North America and indeed the western world at home. I realized that this was going to be an unpleasant reality. Nine weeks later as at the time of writing, it is clearly more than a reality, and as many are saying it’s the new normal.
As many of us including me wrestle with the impacts of the pandemic, I have been able to do some personal reflection on what God is doing in this season, and I believe it really has to do with fortifying our foundation of trust. I believe God wants us to truly stay on the rock that is Christ.
I want you to note that I mentioned “stay on the rock” and not merely “stand”, as we so often hear. When we come to place our faith to be saved in Christ, he places us on the rock so to speak, as he becomes our savior and assures us of eternity. While many of us Christians can easily trust in the savior of tomorrow, it’s a more delicate thing to have confidence that God will see us through in our current affairs. It is this day to day trusting that I term “staying on the rock”. And unfortunately the reality is that in many of our day to day realities we don’t lean on the rock, that is Christ, rather we grapple with situations and problems almost as the unbelieving world around us do.
Why do we do this? See, ultimately, I believe the problem is not necessarily a faith issue, but a confidence issue. It’s not that we don’t believe in Christ, but it is that we haven’t dislodged our confidence from the arms length anchors of this world, that cause us to hold on too closely to things of little eternal significance.
I remember when my children were small, and I would horseplay with them much to my wife’s chagrin, for she worried that I would drop them twirling their arms extended around the kitchen, or racing down the stairs in a game of bull trying to frighten them. See my children were fearless because they knew that they were rock solid safe in the steady grip of their father’s love.
Likewise, we need to figure out how to be confident in our heavenly father’s care.
The apostle Paul offers us some encouraging words, in Philippians where he indicates that he figured out how to stand on the right foundation, and that it began with being content.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul had been through a myriad of difficult things, ranging from natural trials such as stormy shipwrecks and sicknesses to man-made ones such as the imprisonment he now he faced in a Roman Jail. It was in these trials that he had learned the secret to being content. Being content at time had somehow become his source of strength, where he could now bear anything that comes his way through the strength that God gave him. Isn’t that powerful? The thing that looked like they were meant to destroy him, were actually what formed him into becoming resilient, and able to stand for God.
So how do we learn the secret then, we have to value God more than our natural comforts. Paul had no choice because all these natural comforts were removed. He hit rock bottom, it was either God or death, and thus he chose God. This allowed his confidence to be truly rock solid, for he knew God would be with him no matter what.
Let me ask you, when last did you play the what if game? What if I was on my death bed, would I be content? What if I was injured and couldn’t work again, would I still shine for him? What if I experienced such and such…..at some point, you may really be shocked at your answer, and realize that God still has work to do in you, as maybe your confidence and contentment in him still needs work.
I want to encourage you to take this current season we are in to search your heart, and see if there lies any confidence rooted in something else other than God. It may be good things like our children, our savings, etc. Once God reveals that, then rededicate those things to him, and ask him for contentment that comes only from him. And if you do this, I trust that you will be truly steadfast on that rock that is Christ and be able to stand, come what may, in these uncertain times we live in.
- Pastor Olu Jegede