As we all know, this has been a challenging year. Many of our church buildings have sat empty, just now starting to very cautiously refill. Our “victim as our identity” society would have us wallow in self pity and lash out with blame. The issue isn’t that we are going through an unprecedented crisis – every generation that has existed on this earth has experienced serious crises, many far worse than what we’re going through. We’ve just become accustomed to a smooth ride…
The simple fact is that sometimes it takes a crisis to rouse us from a dozy, half-aware existence [primarily focused on comfort]. Or maybe it’s just me that’s true of… Anyway, I was feeling sorry for myself when I ran across the words of Rory Noland in his book “The Worshipping Artist,” and they challenged me to put my trials and tribulations into perspective:
“We should not, therefore, be too taken aback when unexpected and upsetting and discouraging things happen to us now. What do they mean? Why, simply that God in His wisdom means to make something of us which we have not attained yet, and is dealing with us accordingly. Perhaps He means to strengthen us in patience, good humour, compassion, humility, or meekness, by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under specially difficult conditions. Perhaps He has new lessons in self-denial and self-distrust to teach us. Perhaps He wishes to break us of complacency, or unreality, or undetected forms of pride and conceit. Perhaps His purpose is simply to draw us closer to Himself in conscious communion with Him; for it is often the case, as all the saints know, that fellowship with the Father and the Son is most vivid and sweet, and Christian joy is greatest, when the cross is heaviest…. Or perhaps God is preparing us for forms of service of which at present we have no inkling.”

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