For the first time in 3 years our churches have actually stayed open in January! Yay! It’s been a difficult 3 years. We’re probably all suffering some degree of ‘pandemic fatigue’. It appears that we’re slowly coming out of the fog. Isolation is of particular concern for followers of Jesus, since, as Hebrews teaches, we are to “encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 We have had to work harder to stay connected and I am thankful that so many of you stepped up to make this happen.
Isolation, anxiety, restrictions, heated controversy and of course, sickness itself, are all forms of suffering. I often find it helpful to refer to the promises of God in Scripture when faced with the hardships of life. Here’s a wonderful promise from 1 Peter 5:10, 11:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen”
We can use some restoring and being made strong, firm and steadfast! Notably, Peter’s emphasis is on the reputation of God and worshiping him, rather than on the suffering. He is ‘the God of grace’ who calls us into ‘his eternal glory in Christ’ and to him belongs ‘power for ever and ever’. We do not exist for ourselves but for God’s purposes.
My heartfelt thanks to all of you in 3 churches and beyond for your labour of love in keeping our mission alive, contributing to these pages, and supporting myself and my family. Special thanks to Lynne Bertrand for her support and patience and for keeping us all on track!
Although the culture around us is constantly shifting in viewpoints and values, Scripture holds true, the gospel remains the same and “the Lord knows those who are his own.” 2 Timothy 2:19 May you find peace of mind in this wonderful truth. As 2023 unfolds then, let us continue to live for the glory of God, be steadfast, love one another and trust completely in the Lord Jesus Christ who never fails, forsakes or leaves us.
In Christ’s love,