Giving Up More Than We Expected

As we entered the Lenten season a few weeks ago, many of us may have prayerfully decided to give up something for Lent – perhaps chocolate, alcohol, coffee or perhaps even pizza or Diet Coke! If we choose to give up some important item from our lives for the 40 days of Lent, it is meant to be a part of a spiritual discipline to help us focus on what God truly gave up for us in His Son, Jesus Christ on the cross.

With the events of the past week or two, life as we have known it, for now, has changed in some profound ways. Schools and universities have closed their campuses and students, teachers and parents are wrestling with the new online learning reality. Many businesses have closed or have restricted services. A number of us are working from home and/or may be concerned for our jobs. People continue to hoard toilet paper. The record high stock market and booming economy are taking quite a tumble. We are being asked to practice something quite new and unnatural, “social distancing”. We have had to forego hugs and handshakes. We are worshipping our awesome God through virtual means. It can all seem rather isolating and unsettling.

Hence, for this Lenten season, it may seem like we have given up much more than we would have expected when we began our journey on February 26, Ash Wednesday. As we live with these temporary challenging times with a seemingly new reality forming each hour, we need to remember that one thing, one relationship will not change. As the author of Hebrews reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Our most important relationship in life, our Lord, is a constant that we can count on in unsettling and rapidly changing times. Two great Psalms that I encourage you to read today are Psalms 46 and 91. I believe you will find great comfort and application from these two sections of God’s Word.

The current turbulent storm that we are all trying to navigate will pass. No storm lasts forever. So many opportunities for mission and ministry exist toward individuals, our community and to a world that is hurting. Our God is bigger than the Coronavirus and the related challenges we face at this time. He has overcome bigger issues that these. God has conquered sin, death and the power of the devil through what His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ has done on the cross and the “good news” of the Empty Tomb. God has got this and us in His all-loving, providential and sovereign hands. Be encouraged!

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