It’s been about a year of COVID. To put the year in perspective, this past Sunday (March 14th, 2021) was the first time that LBC was all together for one service in person indoors since March 15th, 2020. That date will forever be burned into my memory because it was the weirdest Sunday service I’ve ever experienced. No one coughed, sneezed or really made any other noises during the service the WHOLE TIME. Everyone was on edge and thinking, “Should we be here? What is going on in the world right now?!?” Then came lockdown. And pretty much from that point forward it has been a year of trial and tribulation. But it has also been a year of God’s faithfulness.
Let’s not forget God’s faithfulness because remembering what God has done for us over the past year is so crucial for our growth in Christ. In fact, the epitome of sin is being ungrateful. As Paul writes of the unrighteous: “Even though they know God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). Therefore, as Christ’s church, we must strive to remember what God has done us in the past. Here is my list of thankfulness and where God has shown up in my life in the past year.
- God revealed himself to me in a profound way when I was away for a day of prayer and contemplation. He assured me that He is present on the other side of death, which I was apparently doubtful about deep in my soul. But God was gracious to reiterate the promises of Scripture that we will be with Christ forever when we die as we await our resurrected body.
- I’ve always struggled to have a consistent devotional life throughout my life. When the pandemic started, however, God impressed upon me the important of developing a daily prayer and word habit. While some days I feel like I’m connecting with God better than others, I have only miss a handful of days since the pandemic started.
- I’ve seen God faithfully give me the strength to persevere through this year. “I’m still here!” as I like to say.
- While I believe my marriage to Heather was really good before the pandemic, since it start, I have seen our relationship flourish. It is sad for me to hear of spouses who are completely annoyed with each other due to how much time at home we’ve had. That has not been my experience of marriage in the pandemic. If anything, we have grown closer together.
- My kids have also grown incredibly close to each other. While both of my kids are very social, I have not seen them suffer too greatly from the social deprivation because they have learned to lean on one another.
- My kids have a relationship with their grandparents I always wished they had. I never really knew my grandparents, three of them passed before I could really even remember who they were. I longed for my kids to have a close relationship with their grandparents, after seeing how close Heather was with hers. While we lived in Kentucky, we were able to visit her grandparents in West Virginia about every three months or so and it was always a great time. It was inspirational for me. And while the kids were isolated from their grandparents during lockdown, that didn’t last. And since Memorial Day 2020, they have grown incredibly close with my parents which has been everything I had hoped for them.
- Building on their relationship with my parents, I have seen my relationship with my parents become what I hoped it to be as an adult child. It is truly a blessing and life-giving have them part of our lives.
- We’re still here! The very fact that LBC is still around and I have the opportunity to preach the gospel and make disciples is a testimony of God’s faithfulness. The past year was by FARRRRR the most challenging year of ministry I’ve ever had, but through the challenges God has sustained the body.
- The church’s financial situation has been fine. While giving has been down some, so have expenses. We have not had to make any significant cuts to the ministries of the church, which has enable us to continue with the mission of making disciples without having to worry about the financial status of the church.
- New leaders are being produced. So many new leaders are being produced in the ministries of the church. New opportunities like the Women’s 4for4 group has connected many women in the body. Men have been added to the various Learning Groups in the Men’s Ministry. New Community Groups have started.
- The pandemic gave me time to get a head start on my doctoral research project, writing a whole-Bible curriculum for Youth Group students based on the biblical covenants. I had so much time to write that the pandemic probably helped me get to the point where I can graduate early.
These are a just few ways that I’ve seen God’s faithfulness over the past year. What have you seen God do?