In talking with many of you, I am encouraged and grateful for the way you are staying connected and seeking to support one another. Some of us are feeling a measure of Covid fatigue, but we must continue to do the right thing until we are able to gather safely -- we need to continue to pray to that end.
This sense of feeling isolated, being tired of the restrictions in place and wanting to return to some semblance of normalcly is very real. I look back over the past 10 months and would never imagined that we would be unable to gather for almost half of this time. I think of friends who have gone home to be with the Lord and lament the inablity to have been able to come alongside them in their final days; in the inabitly to celebrate and honor their lives in community. I think of friends who are even now dealing with health concerns or are just feeling lonely and while it is good to talk or pray with them on the phone, it's not quite the same as being able to sit with them.
With the current outbreak at Sunnybank, Janice and I are being extra-diligent, staying close to home, only being out when necessary. Even though I have worked from home for years, there is a sense of feeling cooped up a times. And there of times when I lie awake a night thinking about and praying for the safety of my wife and children and for you, my church family. I have watched, as I'm sure many of you have, all the events that have been unfolding in our nation and in the United States and sometimes I find myself angered by the blatant disregard for common courtesy and decency, the spirit of defiance I am seeing to often on the nightly news--there is just too much criticism and complaining, opposing and protesting; something within longs for a better day.
In all of this, the Word of God continues to bring rest to my soul. There is great comfort in hearing God say in His Word...in quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15) There is a peace we experience in hearing Jesus say...Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
When wonder, how can we find our way forward, God says to us...Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105). And so we pray...Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long (Psalm 25:4-5).
I share all of this with you, to encourage you to stay the course, to hold on to the vision of that day when we can gather again, take off our masks, sing loudly with great joy, take the hand of one another and bow together in prayer and hug one another! Until that day, lets keep doing our part to lift up the spirits on one another, to comfort and encourage and support each other and above all to pray for each other.
I am so very proud of all of you! In all that we have had to endure, I am seeing the character, the strength, the very heart of Valley; you are an amazing group of friends, caring, compassionate and generous and I guess I just wanted to say 'thank you' -- I thank God for you.