I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.(Joel 2:25, ESV)
We are living in odd, difficult, and uncertain times. What we have experienced and are experiencing cannot be easily summarized or readily processed. But one thing we can know: the past nineteen months have revealed how fragile life is and how little control we actually have.
Our God, however, is a God of restoration. He is a gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. Not only is He able to bring us through this time, we can come through stronger than ever in our faith and in our fellowship.
Nothing is too hard for God. He can do anything. Because God is omnipotent (all-powerful), He does not care about “degree of difficulty,” for when you are omni-potent there is no “degree of difficulty.” In fact, there is no such thing as difficulty!
And yet, the all-powerful Ruler of the universe, chooses to use weak and faulty humans to accomplish His will. He has even commissioned us with the greatest of all tasks, the spreading of the gospel.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV)
We can overcome, because of the One who lives in us and calls us to Himself. It is by His blood (His work to redeem us for Himself) and by the Word of our testimony (the continual work of the Spirit to apply Christ’s work to our lives and conform us into His image) that we overcome. It cannot be our strength but His faithfulness.
We have lost opportunities these past nineteen months – some have been taken from us and others we have neglected to take hold of. And yet, the Lord can restore us, establish us, and strengthen us again for His purposes. But there are a few things we must do so that effectiveness can be recovered.
(1) Let’s purpose to move forward. No longer can we fear those things we cannot control. With wisdom, we can faithfully and responsibly pursue the calling we have received in Christ Jesus. We can gather together for instruction and encouragement. We can engage in ministry.
(2) We must overcome spiritual atrophy. More than lethargy, we have become so relaxed and disengaged for so long that our spiritual muscles have diminished. Having been in “survival mode” for such a long time, we must once again look outward and upward. We must retrain ourselves to serve one another, to be gospel focused, and engaged in ministry.
(3) We must repent of being frozen by fear and discouragement. I don’t know who else needs this one, but I need this one the most. Because of fear and insecurities, because of discouragement and uncertainties, there remains a long list of things that haven’t happened and a greater list of people who have been neglected. To the extent that we have been paralyzed by circumstance and selfishness, we must repent and move forward.
and (4) Let’s go!! Let’s re-connect with one another, re-discover the joy of ministry, and re-engage the mission He has given us. People need hope. They are looking for comfort. They are desperate for purpose and meaning. We have the eternal, life-changing, soul-enriching message of the gospel. We serve a God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond anything we could ask or imagine. So, let’s go! And let’s see what He does through us and in us for His glory.