Dear Grace Family,
I wanted to share a couple thoughts that have been on my mind lately as I consider the challenges we are facing in this pandemic. We are living in uncertain times, without any accurate sense of when the COVID crisis will be behind us. We are navigating uncharted waters and are unsure of how the future will be different in light of current events.
If you are anything like me, it can be easy to get discouraged in the face of all this. It is overwhelming and uncertain, and that is a scary place to be. In addition to resting in God’s sovereignty (which we have talked about quite a bit), I find that one of the most comforting things to do is to reflect on church history. As you do this, you will realize that, while none of us have gone through anything like this before, this is not anything that the church hasn’t experienced already. There have been plagues, there have been political crises, there have been wars and rumors of wars and earthquakes and famines (Mt. 24:6-7). As the book of Revelation makes clear, these are just some of the kinds of challenges that the church faces in every age.
You and I are not the first saints to endure these things. Our brothers and sisters who have gone before us have endured many of the same challenges and obstacles to their faith and to their witness for Christ. And that’s good news. Because the Christ who sustained them is the Christ who “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). And he is also the same Christ who has promised that he will build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Mt. 16:18).
Remembering this was encouraging to me. Sometimes we simply need a nudge to look beyond our own circumstances and realize that we aren’t the first ones to struggle and suffer in these ways. As we do that, let us remember that Christ was faithful then, and he will be faithful now.