Everyone is going through a tough time right now. People are getting sick, some are dying, and many are losing jobs and income. There is a huge burden on those that are missionaries and pastors to feed their flock, but the avenue in order to do so is limited. It’s great that we live in a time of technology. We can zoom and video chat. Sermons, scriptures and encouraging words are shared over social media in both the written word and videos.
I love how God’s people come together and improvise, to share the gospel. But, we all know that watching a video or reading words on social media does not compare to being together, hugging each other and sharing and doing life together. Which is so much of what being a Christian is about.
This can put a lot of pressure on pastors and missionaries who are trying to continue to meet the needs of the church, but have limited resources and means to do so. I applaud those that are continuing to try, those that are working outside the box to make it happen, those across the country who are willing to take risks and meet the needs of the people they serve. Everyone is in this together. There is no one around the world that is untouched.
Right now there is a high level of anxiety among Christians and non-Christians. There is an accelerated rate of Obsessive Compulsive behaviors as people worry about getting sick and spreading the illness. There are a number of people that are depressed due to lack of income from losing their job. Countless others fear getting sick, getting others sick, or are afraid they too will lose their job, with no end in sight. All while living in isolation from friends, family and their church.
These things can cause a lot of conflict. Some people may not agree with how the situation is being handled from a Federal, State or local level from the government. Some may not be happy with how the church leadership is handling the situation. Others may be in disagreement over their own feelings of infecting others or themselves. Many people are very confused and overwhelmed with the entire process. Just as much as people are worried about losing their jobs and family members those that lead the church are also worried. It is easy to allow our emotions to control us, rather than being in control of our emotions. When we allow our emotions to control us, then we react. We have a feeling such as anxiety or fear, and then we act out of that feeling which can hurt others, ourselves and even the church. To be in control of our feelings we need to recognize what we are feeling, for example fear or anxiety. Then be honest as to why we are feeling this way. Look at scripture and what it says about that feeling, then act in love, grace, and according to God’s word. And then “if it is possible with you, live at peace with one another” Romans 12:8
We have no knowledge of when or if this will end. Pastors and those in ministry don’t know what will happen to their church when this ends. Will people get used to staying at home? Will people be so excited to finally be in church that the pews and chairs are full? We can pray that once we are back to “normal” there will be more people than ever who want God in their life and who will be a part of the church. Pastors, teachers, ministry leaders, missionaries and Christians please don’t lose heart. Now is the time that we can be the church by showing compassion, while also not allowing fear to dictate our decisions. I believe that it’s important that as Christians we unite during this time. We encourage each other. Encourage those who during tough times are making sacrifices, encourage those who in tough times are taking risks, encourage those who during tough times are trying to make the best decisions for everyone. Pastors show yourselves some grace. Church show your pastors some grace.
Here are some action steps this week:
1.) Are you living in fear? Read what the Bible says about fear.
2.) Are you allowing your emotions to control you? If so, recognize why you are feeling how you are, and then read what the scripture says. Put the Word of God in practice.
3.) How are your feelings affecting your relationship with others? Are you showing grace, love and compassion? or do you find yourself being irritable and in conflict with others?
4.) If in conflict how can you resolve those conflicts, Biblically?
5.) How can you show grace, love and compassion today?
6.) If you feel like your emotions are in control of you, such as anxiety and you are having a hard time, please reach out to Here2There ministries firstname.lastname@example.org or a professional therapist for help.
Some follow up scriptures:
Isaiah 43:2, Psalm 37:5, Romans 8:18, Isaiah 41:10, Proverbs 12:18, James 1:19-20, I Peter 3:8-11
Christy Paul, LMHC