We have a choice

On Sunday, I was incredibly encouraged. Our live stream went off without a hitch. I heard from members of our congregation who said God used that service to speak to their hearts while they stayed in their homes. The small group that my wife and I lead met virtually through a video chat app and it worked pretty well. I praised God for doing what only He could do … help us continue to be the church even when we couldn’t be together (something we plan to continue as long as necessary).

Then Monday came. If I had to guess, I would say I spent more time Monday reading and communicating about COVID-19 than I did reading about and communing with God. This is ironic considering that the day before, I had just told our live stream audience to be careful to stay informed but not become too immersed in what we see on our screens. On Monday evening, as I continued to read and talk about this virus and how it is affecting the world, our country and even our own region, something snapped. Fear entered into my mind and began to establish a stronghold.

Jennifer could tell something was wrong. It’s true: I don’t hide my feelings well. My thoughts had quickly gone to the worst-case scenario. Jennifer listened patiently as I shared my fears with her. Verbalizing that helped me considerably. Then she shared with me how she had played out this scenario in her mind many times over the years, because that’s how she functions. When we have heard about a global threat of some kind, I’ve always been the one to listen and help her work through those fears. But those never came to our doorstep. This virus has. Even without confirmed cases in our area, we are feeling the effects. God already had prepared Jennifer for this. She has faced this in her mind and allowed Him to help her overcome her fear each time. Jennifer and I talked together and she reminded me that if all we know is lost, God is still more than enough.

I am thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. As I read from Romans 6 on Tuesday morning, Paul’s words took root deep in my heart; much deeper than the day before.

Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (Romans 6:16)

Actually, Paul, I did realize that. But Monday, I lost sight of it. Thank you for being the instrument of righteousness that God has used to help many people like me remember that we have a choice. Tuesday was very different. I started my day by really listening to God speak those words into my life. Shortly after that, I made breakfast for my family and thanks to Jennifer’s idea to do a devotion with our daughters, all four of us had a vibrant conversation about our faith in Christ, how we need to stay connected to him at all times, and what that looks like moving forward.

Like me, you are a slave to what you choose to obey. The world is changing. It’s hard. We need to give ourselves space to share our feelings about this with God and then allow Him to help us move forward in faith. Just as Paul has been an instrument of righteousness in the hand of God, you and I can be, too. Believers need encouragement, and those who don’t know Christ need to see his love in action. Let’s help one another do that … one day at a time.