“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” Psalms 42:4 NIVUK
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil 13b-14 NIVUK
One thing that has happened during the pandemic is that many churches have experienced a drop in attendance. Bluntly, people who faithfully went to church every Sunday don’t go anymore. Their commitment has failed to survive the hassles of lockdowns, and a transition to services being live-streamed or held using Zoom. But what about their commitment to God and His people? There will always be things trying to get in the way of our God-worship, and difficulties will often expose what is in people’s hearts.
The Apostle Paul suffered greatly in his missionary journeys – many of his challenges are listed in 2 Corinthians 11 – but nothing ever stopped him from doing what he knew God had asked him to do. So he pressed on to fulfil his mission in life. We may not be high profile missionaries like Paul, or evangelists like Billy Graham, but we too have a mission in life and responsibilities to God and His people. And so in this continuing pandemic season, there is perhaps an opportunity for a reset, for forgetting the difficulties of the past 18 months or so. Those anxieties, griefs, and worries, the lockdowns, that have blighted our lives. Instead we must reach out to God for a fresh infilling of His Spirit and remember that today is the first day of the rest of our lives. We cannot change the past but we can ensure that our future is aligned to God’s will and purposes.