Thankful In This Time

This is a time like no other. We are facing a crisis unlike anything we have known before. The global coronavirus pandemic has created severe hardships and perplexing challenges that leave us rightfully and gravely concerned. On a personal level we practice “social distancing,” while trying to look out for others and perhaps wondering how they (or we) will pay the bills. As communities and as a nation we worry about how our medical facilities and personnel will keep up with demand, and when and how our economy will recover. With an eye to the world, we pray in earnest for other countries that are far less equipped to weather the medical and financial fallout of this crisis.

As the World Mission Prayer League, we, too, are concerned. We have called some of our global workers home, while others remain in their countries of service. We have closed our offices in Minneapolis, but continue working steadfastly, regularly meeting, coordinating and praying – nationally and globally
– via teleconferencing. Nearly daily we monitor and pray for the well-being of our workers and the enormous challenges being faced by the populations they serve around the world, most of which are severely impoverished, and many of whom know little to nothing of the hope we have in Jesus. We are assessing the needs of our partner organizations in other countries to determine how we are to pray for them, and how we might help financially.

Yes, we are concerned, and we encourage all of you who are part of the Prayer League to share and act on those concerns with us. However, allow me to share with you that we are also thankful. I, personally, am enormously thankful for a number of remarkable things in this time of unprecedented crisis (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

1. I’m thankful for Jesus! I’m thankful in the midst of all this uncertainty that my life – our lives – are in his very capable hands, that he overcame death itself and promised to be with us to the end (Matt. 28:20).

2. I’m thankful for trials. Nothing else really gives us such opportunity to reconsider what really matters, to trust God more, and to grow in perseverance (James 1:2).

3. I’m thankful for heroes. I lift up in prayer those who risk exposure to this virus in order to serve others at this time, from the halls of the hospitals to the aisles of the grocery stores. I praise God for the opportunities he has given all of us in this trying time to extend Christ-like care and compassion to others (Philippians 2:3).

4. I’m thankful for innovation. The unique challenges of these days have caused us to rethink old ways and assumptions. We have embraced exciting new possibilities, technologically and relationally. We’re reconsidering what it means to be God’s church and how to do God’s mission. We won’t be the same after this, and I see God’s hand in that (Romans 8:28)!

5. I’m thankful for perspective. Specifically, global perspective. Never before have the nations of the world faced so universal a crisis, and yet with technological and economic capacities for confronting the pandemic so dramatically disparate. Might God use this to open our eyes more fully to the realities of our global neighbors? Might he teach us something of our mutual need for his mercy, and our responsibilities toward those less fortunate than ourselves? I hope so (1 Timothy 6:17,18).

6. I’m thankful for sabbath. There is – or at least can be – something sacred about this extraordinary time. “Be still and know that I am God,” our Lord encourages us in Psalm 46. We have stopped
much of our frantic running around. Stores closed. Meetings canceled. Contacts curtailed. Perhaps this is a time for sabbath, for stepping back, for a holy ceasing of those things that distract, that we might center on that which matters most: our relationship with and reliance upon our God.

7. I’m thankful for purpose. While we may have lost many of the typical “patterns” that guide our daily living, as followers of Jesus we can know that our lives continue to have great purpose. Indeed, this is a time for commissioned living, a time to fully embrace our calling to make disciples of all nations. After telling us to “be still and know that I am God” in Psalm 46, the Lord proclaims, “I will be exalted among the nations!” How the world needs to know Jesus, my friends! But where shall we begin when even our workers cannot “go”? The answer is clear: let us pray. Let us stand in the gap for those who are suffering and struggling, for those who are wondering or wandering, and for all those who still haven’t heard of the Savior. May this time be their time – and our time – to seek and receive God’s mercy.

2 thoughts on “Thankful In This Time”

  1. Amen. This is a great composite of the keys points of all the many sermons I have had the privilege to hear BECAUSE of this crisis, and I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is at work getting out the message, that God is sovereign, and that the gospel cannot be silenced. What a time to witness God being glorified regardless of what comes against. Love and prayers for all those on the front lines.

    • Thank you, Lynn, for your partnership in the Gospel and your ongoing prayers for the laborers in the fields and those among whom they labor! Blessings to you!


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