Today, as I write these words, we should be returning to the USA from a trip to Greece and Turkey which followed the travels of the apostles Paul and John.
Then we would drive back across the border to Ontario, Canada, where we should have been since May 14, to begin a meeting at Jordan. Then a VBS at Wellandport. And on to South River for another meeting.
Instead, we’re in Polson, Montana. Looking out at the scenic Mission Mountains and Flathead Lake.
In our Bible reading today The Preacher writes:
To everything, there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
I wonder what is the purpose of these times?
In the past six months we’ve not only been affected by the Coronavirus, but the impeachment of our President. Cancellation of our beloved sporting events. The doors closed to houses of worship. Engaging in online religious services and in-home communion. And the postponement of many personal plans.
Furthermore, we’ve been horrified at the egregious murder of a black man by a police officer that has prompted peaceful protests. Sparked racial unrest. And has given license to violence in our major cities. Destruction of public and private property. And the dismantling and defacing of our national monuments.
Also, major companies are dropping age-old iconic symbols. Musical groups, companies, sports teams, and even colleges are feeling the pressure to alter their image. Make concessions. Or even change names.
On top of all this, we’re in a Presidential election year which is making every decision political, not only by the politicians themselves but by ordinary citizens. Even to the issue of whether or not to wear a mask.
It seems at times you feel the tension in the air. And certainly, you see it on social media. One of my friends lamented that she was frustrated that you couldn’t post anything on facebook without someone taking exception to what you said.
So, again, how do we find purpose in times like these?
Could the purpose be in times like these…
…To return to trusting in God, and not politicians, governments or human institutions?
…To remember that we’re not in control of our lives as much as we think?
…To develop personal patience when our world is turned upside down?
…To learn to say, “if the Lord wills,” when making our plans?
…To open our eyes and hearts to the injustice that some people suffer?
…To realize that everything is not about racism?
…To be reminded that America is not a Christian nation? (No nation or institution can be really be Christian, that’s an individual relationship)
…To discover that we actually can survive without some of our enjoyable past-times?
…To see that even in the midst of a wicked world, there are still a lot of good people?
…To work on getting to know our friends, brethren and even family better, and more deeply?
…To respect each other’s individual differences, personal preferences, and conscientious concerns?
…To find new ways to minister to our brethren, to the lost, and to “the least of these”?
…To reach across racial barriers, both black and white, to seek common ground, mutual understanding, and work together for the good of all people?
…To finally admit that the answer to our nation’s ills is not found in a political party or our favorite candidate, but in submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
…To use adversity to discover new and exciting opportunities to serve God and our fellow man?
…To test our faithfulness, commitment to Truth, and willingness to “fight the good fight of faith”?
…To overcome fear with faith, defeat worry by prayer, and gain strength through the Word?
I suppose I have more questions than answers. But I know the text tells us there are times of death. Mourning. Losing. Destroying. War. And hate. All of which we’ve experienced.
But it also says there is a time for healing. Building. Laughing. Embracing. Mending. And peace. Maybe it’s now time for these.
I do know that at all times, good or bad, our ultimate purpose is grounded in the will of God. Centered in Christ Jesus. Learned through the Gospel. Lived in our daily lives. And directed toward the heavenly prize that awaits faithful Believers.
There is a season…
There is a time…
There is a purpose…
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman