As our plane touched down in Grand Rapids last night, I breathed a sigh of relief and offered a prayer of thanks to the Lord for bringing Amy and I home safely. Pastor Steve and Mia greeted us outside the door of the airport, and we had a LOT to talk about on the way home to Norton Shores. I am so proud of how our Staff and Elders and Deacons have ministered to the Anchor Point family over the past week as we entered uncharted waters as a church, and community and country. I was able to stay connected through conference calls, phone calls and texts, emails and Facebook messages while away, which was important and good to be very much in the loop around here!
But of course, while visiting our daughter Hannah and Brian and 4 of our grandchildren, as well as staying with and enjoying time with my parents in Arizona the past week, we watched, along with the rest of America, the daily updates and everchanging strategies for “flattening the curve” of the Covid-19 virus. The fear of the unknown is palpable, crippling our lives, as we see businesses shuttered, shelves emptied in mad rushes to hoard “essentials” as people return home only to lock their doors, sequestered inside their homes, unable to enjoy going places or doing things in certain areas or times. Like a poison, fear is consuming our society—paralyzing and immobilizing our best efforts.
This fear is evident everywhere in America today. It’s not like you can say, “I’ll just move away, and it will be better.” Where can you hide when it seems like the world is falling apart? People from every walk of life and every place on the map share a common concern over our health as the pandemic grows. And in a world that is changing so quickly and seems out of control, we may ask: “Where is God? Does God know? Does God care?
Not only has He never left, He has not been caught by surprise and cares more than we could ever comprehend, especially in difficult times such as our current situation with the virus. The problem is that we too often miss His presence and peace, hearing only the clamor and headlines of our world crashing down.
Abraham Lincoln asked those same questions during the terrible years of the American Civil War. Lincoln was beset by fears, but he found answers when He turned to the Lord and His Word. Amy and I once visited the Lincoln museum in the Ford Theater in Washington D.C. and saw the Bible Lincoln used while serving as president. He had a habit of tracing his finger across any verse he was reading. So, you can tell what passages Lincoln read most often because they appear faded due to his finger rubbing over the verses so often. He virtually wiped one verse off the page because he rubbed his finger over it so many times, tracing as he read. It is rightly regarded as the verse he turned to more than any other. It is Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
I love how the psalmist put it in Psalm 2:71 – “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
As we continue to absorb all the changes and witness this unprecedented time in our lives, let us join those people of faith from yesteryear who found deliverance and peace in the midst of the storm, as we seek Him, and hear Him say: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Please know that we are praying for you and want to stay connected as a church family. We are trying to work on a live stream or some type of “service” on Sunday morning to reach into your home and will let you know if we are able to do that. Many of you have received a phone call from a staff member or board member in the last few days, and it has been our pleasure to pray with so many of you over the phone. Let’s continue to seek the Lord together and remember that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).
I love you and praise God for our church and pray that He might work through you to not only show the love of Christ to your neighbors in the ways you can, but also to enjoy the peace that passes understanding in your hearts.
Because He Lives, Pastor Rob