Faith matters. I don’t think it has ever mattered quite as much to me as during these last six months. The fear of catching COVID-19; the fear of giving it to a family member or friend; and, the isolation and loneliness that comes with sheltering-at-home have taken their toll. But through it all, my faith and my beloved Mt. Tam Church have kept me grounded in the knowledge that I am not alone and that God has my back – always. The sign in the church’s front yard this week reads “Blessed are the food providers for they sustain us.” Yes, they sure do and to all essential workers, we are so grateful. But I might also add a new one, “Blessed is my faith for it sustains me.”
The pandemic has brought with it a few gifts. One was to recognize the authentic, genuine loving kindness exhibited by members of this church. We don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk! Jesus tells us to “Love one another as I have loved you.” As good Methodists, we have heard this verse dozens of times! We understand it. We believe it. And we do it! Love is what binds us all together, and yes, most of us have practiced this commandment for a very long time. The pandemic has magnified the need for that love, as well as the actions many have taken to share that love.
Faith is what helps me trust God in difficult times. Life, at the same time, has taught me that there will be difficult times. We can’t necessarily “pray them away.” I have come to fully embraceProverbs 3: 5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Heavenly God, please strengthen our hearts, and remind us to encourage one another when the troubles of life overwhelm us. Please guard our hearts against depression. Give us the strength to get up each day and fight against the struggles which seek to weigh us down. Amen.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)