My thoughts turned to my grandmother as I brushed a coat of primer over her old dresser, a refinishing project on a piece of furniture with an extensive history, much like its previous owner. After 98 long years, Grandma took her last breath and stepped into eternity to be with her Lord Jesus. Our family is grateful for her legacy of faith and we rejoice that she has left the pains and trials of earth to be in Heaven. She had 7 children, 14 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild—how beautiful to think of how many more lives came into existence because of her, our beloved matriarch. This recent event has me pondering about our time on earth; one generation gives way to another, there is death and there is new birth; thus is the cycle of life. Like The Ecclesiastical Teacher says…
“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4
I don’t think I’m alone in sensing we are in a time of great transition right now, across the globe. Previously, we used to know a busy and fast pace of life, centered largely on ourselves and a circle of people we loved most, filled with hours of striving for success, power, money, and the comfort and luxury it all affords. But now: many people have lost their jobs; our young people have been furthering their education from the confinement of their homes, away from their friends and teachers at school; our seniors are feeling more alone and isolated than ever; we have a limited ability to be corporately entertained or to eat in public with our friends, and we sure can’t travel or appreciate the freedom of coming and going anywhere we please. And, of course, we are not able to come together corporately to worship our Lord Jesus and fellowship together in the way we used to.
I want to acknowledge that in all of this, we very well might be experiencing a sense of loss, feelings of grief and complete uncertainty about how to move forward. However, it does seem this pandemic has really helped us as a society to slow down and re-evaluate the way things have been spinning out of control, and also to consider the well-being of our planet and our fellow earth-mates. There is a new sense of gratitude for the ordinary people around us who pump our gas, bag our groceries, and care for us when we are ill. Do you find yourself waving and saying, “Hello” to more of your neighbours as you spend your extra spare time going for walks and playing outside with your kids and pets?
Are we witnessing the end of something and the beginning of a New Thing? I believe we are.
“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Earlier this week I was much comforted by the Lord through a dream he gave me. In the dream I was in my final year of high-school and had an upcoming exam in Pre-Calculus. I was talking to a teacher, sharing my anxiety about not feeling prepared and fearing I would fail the course, perhaps jeopardizing my graduation. Unexpectedly, this teacher nonchalantly waved her hand and told me that math was not essential for life in the future. The funny thing about all this, was that in the dream, I was wearing a dance tutu.
When I asked God what he may be trying to communicate with me through this picture, I sensed He was saying that, for me and for the body of Christ, as we move into this new era ahead, pre-calculated solutions are unnecessary. It is not a time to have all the right answers and all the knowledge to arrive at them. Rather, it is a time of transition to better things, a time to dance! We are on the verge of graduating into something beautiful and new. We have some celebrating to do!
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
Whether COVID-related or not, in our current time of loss, testing and transition, we can always reach out for God’s promises and hold on tight to them while we struggle through to the New Beginning. Here are some favorite scriptures that come to mind:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” Malachi 4:2
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread…because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7-8
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record?” Psalm 56:8
“No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard, and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Song: Beautiful Things by Gungor: https://youtu.be/1spkhp41ig4
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.