Since the COVID-19 crisis began, we have all had to readjust our lives. This readjusting process is ongoing, and we will experience the implications of it for years to come. I have been seeking to spread a message of how that out of the ashes of a global pandemic God is doing and will do something great and unique. If we choose to see this as a growth challenge, we will find our faith and personal resolve stretched and cultivated, which leads us to be better persons than we were before.
If taken from the right approach, the present crisis can lead to healing, personal growth, thankfulness, and a greater appreciation of what we have. Perspectives have changed. Hopefully, we have become more thankful for the seemingly smaller life pursuits. Have you been spending more time outside in the sunshine, gardening, reading, journaling, praying, emailing and connecting with old friends, re-examining budgets, and taking stock of what is truly important in life? If so, you are on your way to growing through all of this rather than being destroyed by it. You are hopefully finding that you are stronger than you think you are.
I was recently drawn back to James chapter one where God’s Word challenges us to count it all joy when we face trials. James’ point is, of course, not to be happy that something bad has happened, but rather find joy and peace during it. The reason for doing so is explained in verse 3; “for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Faith in God is like a muscle that only grows when stretched. I am ever thankful for the joyful, peaceful, calm, and happy life moments. As wonderful as those are, that’s not when our faith grows. Our faith grows when we are tested, pressed on every side, persecuted, emotionally harassed, and spiritually frazzled. During the times when I found myself on my knees, crying out to God, praying for strength, and the Spirit Himself was interceding for me with groanings that could not be uttered (Romans 8:26), that was when the growth happened.
Afterwards, as the dust of my present trial began to settle, I realized I had grown in faith, personal resolve, and my walk with Christ. I had experience perseverance that comes only by faith. I am then empowered to do as God’s Word says and become mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4).
We will get through this, but not without firm and unyielding faith. Make a daily choice to become the best persons we can be. Love one another, help one another, stay connected, and keep moving towards that better and brighter day.
Dan Birchfield is pastor of Greenfield Baptist Church in Meadowview, Virginia. He is also employed with Bristol Virginia Public Schools. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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