As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20 NASB
To recap “What’s This? part 1,” I wrote yesterday about God answering my desperate prayer with a pandemic, which made no sense. I questioned His provision over the past decade the same as the Israelites questioned His manna for 40 years.
What’s this, God? Seriously, what is this?
I tried hard to believe Jeremiah 29:11, His plans offer hope and a future. However, it was Him who allowed shut down churches, closed businesses that ended social interactions, and limited family time that isolated our significant people. He tolerated our social distancing when we needed each other more than ever.
The sentiment “We are all in this together” didn’t comfort anyone anymore than “No Weapons Allowed” signs save lives. I kept my blog signoff “In This Together” because I used it long before 2020, but I felt alone no matter how much I shared on here and on Facebook.
That was, until the church across the street held three services on May 17, 2020. I only visited because no place else opened. I assumed (I chose this word on purpose) that since their sign said “A Church of Love,” members lived however they wanted without truth or conviction, which also meant they didn’t change and live better, but at least they were letting people inside. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth and from His Truth.
I don’t know what God had in mind for you when He allowed the world to shut down, but, for me, He wanted me across the street to learn and to serve and to be planted, and to finally change me like I couldn’t change before.
Solid Rock is a unique place. That’s a big word because not much measures up to being one-of-a-kind. I couldn’t become a member without serving and I couldn’t serve until I joined. I had to agree to watch four sermons about the church’s core values: Give, Forgive, Serve, and Respect. Before I’m allowed to give or receive advice, permission is required. When I get offended, and it will happen, I’m encouraged to go to the person (not three other people who know them) and say, “Help me understand why this happened.”
Good stuff, right?
Two months into attending, I became a faithful tither for the first time in my life.
By October, I finished reading the Bible all the way through for the first time in my life.
On some unknown date, the Holy Spirit started working inside of me for the first time in my life. I never paid much attention to His Spirit until I started dancing in the back of the church. I had to laugh when a friend asked, “Have you always been that demonstrative in your worship?” No one’s more surprised than I am.
And, for the first time in my life, Jesus is First in my life – not my marriage I’ve worked hard to save, not the children I’d give my life to save, and not my precious grandchildren who I want to be sure are saved – all the things I put before Him until He shut down the world and opened up “A Church of Love.” Thank you, Jesus.
I’d love to hear your praise reports and prayer requests since I know not everyone’s experience this past year has been as encouraging. I hope you’ll be encouraged that Jesus shows up in our valleys too. I know because I was there before the pandemic.
In This Together,