“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend: you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:8-10
Looking back to the middle of March when this pandemic started, I never thought that we would be living in a world like we are living in today. A world in which we can go long periods of time without social interactions due to masks and distancing. The world is in disarray due to a plethora of issues and it seems like there is no end in sight. At times, it feels like this is the normal forever. My wife has genuinely asked me multiple times, “Will this ever be over?” While that is not the case, our minds can easily arrive to this conclusion. What this pandemic has really taught me is that I must be very careful of what exactly I am putting my hope in. Am I putting my hope in normalcy, my job, sports, concerts, or gatherings? Or am I truly putting my hope in God? I can often find myself depending on my own solutions rather than God’s solutions. I have to be grounded in God’s word in order to fight my way out of those habits.
The prophet Isaiah’s words in chapter 41 are powerful. This passage is a familiar one, but what really hits home is the way God speaks to Isaiah. What is most helpful is the future tense of the promises. We are not just being reassured that God has been with us, which he has, but we are being promised that he will be with us moving forward. He has and will continue to be with us, strengthen us, and upholds us forevermore. Those words bring about hope, not stress, something we can so easily feel during this pandemic.
In the past 6 months, there have been a number of instances when I have felt that Crossings’ hands have been tied when having to make hard decisions that felt like they had already been made for us. While most of our team would give anything to just welcome guests on property in order to create experiences to proclaim the gospel, we have had to close our gates. No staffers jumping up and down, no lake full of splashing, no worship that you can hear miles away, this summer has looked different than we could ever imagine. While we have had to shut down our properties until the start of 2021, our hope is set on the fact that God is with us and will uphold us moving forward in order to answer the call to minister to those that God brings onto our properties.