There is no other organization in the world like the church. In Christ’s church, young and old, rich and poor of every tongue, tribe, and nation are seeking to reach out and care for one another. In a day of massive uncertainty, we have a certain hope. There are so many unknowns. How long will this go on for? How economically crippling will this be for small businesses and the self-employed? How great will be the loss of life? Will the emptiness of a materialistic mind-set be shattered by this?
London is a city that never stops and never sleeps. Yet, God has brought it to a standstill. People have more time to read, to study, to listen. Households have assumed a greater priority. For Christians, family worship has taken on an even greater importance, and fathers are needing to step up and take on the role that God has given them. We’ve found that young people’s work during this time has provided an opportunity for discipleship that had proven more difficult in normal times.
There have been indications in the past year that people are becoming more open to the gospel. We have had more people interested in the gospel and coming to church over the last six months than at any time I can remember in my ministry. The numbers haven’t been huge, but some have even continued to watch the sermons online. The church has seen a greater desire for people to join small groups in the last two weeks than we’ve seen in decades. What the long-term spiritual effects of this period will be are uncertain. Death, which has previously been hidden in our culture, is now confronting us as a nation, and we pray it is driving people to Christ.
In the midst of all this confusion and chaos, individuals and families are losing loved ones and there is tangible fear. The government thinks that it will have done well if the United Kingdom has a death toll of twenty thousand at the end of this virus. In the congregation where I serve, a father of nine has been taken home to glory in the last couple of days. We have felt the bitterness of death, the pain of separation, broken hearts, the feeling of deep and overwhelming sadness, and the uncertainty of the future. Of course, these things are true in normal times, but COVID-19 has brought these truths home to us so that the pain of this broken world and the preciousness of Christ are more real to us.
We feel fragile, but Christ’s church is not.
Two Lord’s Days ago, I preached on Psalm 73:23–24:
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterwards you will receive me to glory.
We learned four things from that text: how we need the presence of God, the strength of God, and the wisdom of God, and then that, wonderfully, He will receive us to glory.
We are being shaken, and yet we trust Him. Pray for us.