Whatsoever our condition be, let us never limit God. God’s people should never be better, the times were never worse. Where we be bad, God is good. Times are bad, God is good. He can alter all. When there is no hope of escaping, no likely issue, God can make it good.Richard Sibbes
To various degrees, life is certainly different for all of us right now. The impact for some means the loss of a job, which can have a domino effect that leads to many more hardships and stresses. It’s a time where we are experiencing what it’s like to not be in control. It’s easy to feel helpless, discouraged, and all alone, especially when you’re mandated to stay home and encouraged to practice social distancing. A friend of mine now finds himself at home with his wife and children while trying to telecommute for the first time. He said, “Life is tough right now. There isn’t much to do. How many legos and blocks can you play with? How many movies can you watch?” Although his experience is not comparable to financial loss or instability, it certainly demonstrates what some are dealing with and how they are trying to cope.
As a Christian and elder of a church, I contemplate the hard and difficult times of the Church throughout history and how it responded during a time when the Gospel was being spread throughout modern day Syria, Turkey, and Italy. The 1st Century Church faced persecution of various degrees that ranged from ostracism to displacement and even death. The 15th Century sparked an era that would result in the birth of the Protestant Church as Bible translation allowed the common people to read Scripture in their own language. The Church grew throughout the 15th-17th Century as a result of the Protestant Reformation, but not without great cost. As Christians turned to the authority of Scripture alone, ostracism, displacement, and death were present once again. Over the next 200 years the Church would continue to grow, and modern day North America would be its beneficiary. The Gospel was proclaimed from the Northeast towards the Southeastern Atlantic coastline. Universities were built for the purpose of the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful proclamation of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit of God brought about the Great Awakenings of the 18th & 19th Century’s. Universities like Harvard adopted biblical criticism in attempt to subvert the sufficiency & reliability of the authority of Scripture. The cults of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, & Oneness Pentecostalism reintroduced heresies of the pre-Modern period. The 20th Century had other challenges like Darwinism, and the sufficiency and infallibility of Scripture. Those were times when the Church was challenged to defend what it believed, and yet international mission movements took the Gospel to foreign lands and the Church continued to grow.
In some ways, things are not too much different today. Although post-modernism argues against something they say doesn’t exist while at the same time standing upon that “something” (ironic isn’t it?). Truth has a way of either being one’s best friend or worst enemy.
For the 21st Century Church we stand on the same truth that has always and will always exist…God is Good. The trials suffered and conquered by the Church over millennia indicate how good God is. He has always been with His Church. She has persevered in whatever circumstance surrounds her. His people haven’t merely survived, but have thrived. Now, while the world is struggling to survive, and very few are thriving, the Church is at a point in history where every true believer can give testimony to God’s goodness and make it known through the sharing of the Gospel. His Church shall prevail!
on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.Matthew 16:18