There have been more questions than answers in this season, everything from daily decisions, to what the summer (and now the fall) will be like. I was looking back this week at an email from the second week of March. It said something like, "hopefully when we're back in the office in two weeks" - well, that estimate was more than a little off! And, even though we inched forward a bit this week and are now in Phase 1.5, it seems this season is far from over.
Yet none of this is a surprise to God. I've been wondering if maybe we are focusing on the wrong questions in this season, questions like, "When will this be over? What will the next normal be like? Will the kids go back to school?" And the never ending, "What's for dinner?"
Perhaps instead we should be asking and pondering, "Who would God have me be right now? How have I seen and experienced His goodness and grace? Is my deepest desire to know more of God in this place? Is it to reflect His glory to a world that is hurting, confused, and angry? Or am I just trying to get through this so that life will go back to 'normal' or comfortable?"
I've been through some tough seasons in my life; I'm guessing you have too, and maybe your toughest season is right now. May I encourage us all to turn our eyes toward Jesus, to read His Word, to lay our needs and requests before Him. When we do this we remember who we are and Whose we are. We remember who God is, meditating on His attributes and offering our praises. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. (Psalm 34:1) God is all knowing and all powerful. He alone is Infinite. He alone is Eternal. He alone is Sovereign.
As image bearers, saved by Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, there are attributes of God that we are to experience and then reflect, for His glory alone. In every season, even in the midst of a pandemic, our highest purpose is that we would become increasingly like Christ.
Let's consider some of the attributes that we are called to reflect (this is just a start). We are to be:
• Loving, as Christ has loved us (John 15:12-14)
• Merciful, forgiving as we have been made forgiven (Matthew 18:21-22)
• Faithful, to God and to others (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
• Patient, abiding in God, in His timing and His provision (2 Peter 3:14-15)
• Wise, seeking God and His Word above any other experts (Romans 11:33-36)
These months have brought me to the end of myself many times; times when I fell short of treating others as God would have me. Times when I sought my own ways rather than His. There are so very many questions that I don't have the answers to. In my own self I am impatient and want to see quick solutions, especially the kind that make my life more fun or less stressful. In my own strength I am not quick to forgive or loving towards those who are difficult to love. Yet I can testify that the times when my lack and neediness landed me at the feet of Jesus, rather than striving on my own, I have always found enough of Him. I am able to experience His love, mercy and faithfulness and then reflect it to my fellow image bearers. I am able to be patient and wait for answers from His Sovereign hands.
This season is longer than we would have guessed. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The questions we ask matter, who we ask them to and how we answer them matters, not only for me and you, but also for a world desperate to know the hope and salvation found in Jesus alone.
"May God in His mercy lead us through these times; but above all, may He lead us to Himself." -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
P.S. - If you're looking for a great summer read and want to learn more about God's attributes, check out None Like Him
or In His Image
, both by Jen Wilkin.