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Perseverance is a Commodity We Would Rather Not have to Spend

How many times have you found yourself falling, failing or faltering in your quest to make it through another day? COVID-19? “If I can only make it through another day.” Kids having to do another semester of e-learning? “If I can only make it through another day.” A job that is less-than fulfilling and more-than frustrating? “If I can only make it through another day.”

Perseverance is a commodity we would rather not have to spend, because it is only redeemed in the monotony or struggles of life. We don’t need to persevere at Disney World (well, o.k., some of us do). Perseverance applies only when needed due to the severity of the circumstance.

You have to persevere through COVID-19. You have to persevere when you receive bad news. You have to persevere when life is a marathon and you fill ill-equipped to run it.

The American poet, Robert Frost, once wrote, “The best way out is always through.” But wouldn’t it be better if we could find a detour around the pain and avoid it in the first place? Sure it would, but we don’t always get to choose our path. Many times in life, we are simply placed on a path not of our choosing and not to our liking due to circumstances well beyond our control. No one chooses to go through a pandemic. No one chooses to lose a child. No one chooses to have cancer.

So, yes, the best way out is always through, but it sure helps when we have someone showing us the way. This is the hope we have in Jesus Christ. As the writer of Hebrews says, we look to him, “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

We look to Jesus because he knows the way. He’s been there before. “We run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1) because Jesus guides us. He strengthens us. He assures us that he will never abandon us.

Running suggests two things: Hope and progress. We don’t walk the race marked out for us; we run it. Why? Because we have hope that what we are running toward is better than what we are leaving behind. Someone once said, “Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination.” We hope for a better day. And our hope is a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19) because it is based in the One who has gone before us and won. Now he returns to lead us through the dark valley into his marvelous light.

Running also suggests progress. We’re not standing still. We’re not losing ground. We are anchored, but the anchor is set ahead of us and not behind us. Our anchor of the soul doesn’t hold us back but pulls us forward.

My prayer for you right now is that you will not let the darkness overwhelm you, whatever that darkness may be. Your present situation is not your final destination. So, keep your eyes on Jesus, and He will lead you through.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

You’ve Got to be Kidding Me

You’ve got to be kidding me. Right when COVID-19 seemed to be slowing down, and restaurants, businesses and church buildings started to re-open, boom, our nation experiences a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Today’s headline for one news syndicate reads, “U.S. sees 250,000 confirmed new virus cases in first five days of July.” Another one says, “America is still `knee-deep’ in the pandemic’s first wave, Dr. Fauci warns.” Yet another reports, “Hospitalizations are growing in nearly two dozen U.S. states.”

In addition to the numbers, we have the multitudinous extrapolations of self-proclaimed experts on both sides of the political aisle. “The virus is a government hoax to abolish our rights, including our right to worship.” “The virus is a serious threat that should precipitate a national lockdown that should only be reversed when a vaccination is discovered.” I even heard of one church in Texas that has one section in their auditorium for “masked-seating,” and one section for “unmasked-seating.”

These uncertain times lead many to either a state of denial or a state of fear. Neither is the right path forward. Jesus said we should be wise as serpents, innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Ninety-eight times the Bible says we are not to worry, be anxious or afraid. We do not have to fear, because we know that God is “over all, through all, and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). We fear not, because God is with us. “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

We listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14). We submit ourselves to governing authorities (Romans 13:1). We stand up for the oppressed and marginalized (James 1:27). And we step out in faith to serve others in the name of Jesus (Acts 21:12-14).

Back in 1527, a deadly plague hit Martin Luther’s town of Wittenberg, and he wrote a letter to a friend, explaining how churches should deal with such complicated circumstances.

I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me, and I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith, because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.

May we, too, have an unswerving conviction to live by faith, not by sight, in the wise counsel of others, for the advancement of the mission of Christ.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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