Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is a beautiful day with sunlight showing on grass that is turning green once again. It is spring according to my calendar, but we all know that spring shows up later in Minnesota than most other places. Lake Auburn is losing its ice, but the last bits of winter may hold on for a few weeks more. Still, we take a lot of comfort in the general predictability of seasons. We can be confident that spring will come and summer will follow. We have experienced the cycle of seasons repeatedly enough to feel that confidence.
When I made my commute home from the church yesterday (a walk across the driveway), Meg was actually pleased about a news broadcast. The governor of Minnesota had given details of the plans for dealing with Covid-19. He had clear details of what to expect and when. He gave clear information about how the state was working with companies like 3-M and Medtronic. There was clear information that the goal was to delay the spread of disease so the state would never run out of room in Intensive Care Units. Meg and I both found it very reassuring that people were taking leadership and seriously building teams to address the troubles facing our state.
Good. Someone has a plan. Someone with authority and power is taking responsibility. Someone is looking out for us. It is reassuring. You can see where I am going with this, can’t you?
God has a plan. God is stronger than all the other powers that ever have been or ever will be. The God who made the Universe with a word is strong enough to deal with any problem in the Universe.
The Bible doesn’t say that life is easy. Throughout the sixty-six books of the Bible, there are all kinds of hardships and challenges. There are wars, famines, floods, droughts, kidnappings, murders, and disease. Even the very uplifting book of Ruth begins with the untimely deaths of a father and his two grown sons. Even the most popular psalm includes walking in “the valley of the shadow of death.”
We can feel confident that God has a plan. We do not know the details of that plan, but we know where that plan leads. The plan leads us to spend eternity with our loving God. We know that the plan is centered on Jesus who overcomes the distance we have put between ourselves and God. Jesus also taught us how to live with love so that we could make this earth resemble heaven.
First Timothy 2:4 says, “God desires all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”
God has seen our ancestors through much tougher times than this. There have been many times of trouble, worry, and disease. Even in the darkest of times, some Christians have shared the light of God’s love. Even in times of anxiety and depression, people have learned the good news of Jesus Christ.
Jesus directly addressed this issue in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I began this letter with talk of the changing seasons of the year. We can all be confident that spring and summer will eventually come, because we recognize the pattern of the plan. We can trust God to comfort and sustain us through this time, too. God is more dependable than the seasons. Winters can be harsh and summers can be hot, but relief is always coming.
We do not know the details of God’s plan, but take comfort in the knowledge that God is all powerful and loving. He does not shield us from all troubles because he gives us opportunities to make our own choices and rise to the occasion, but the ultimate goal of the plan is that love will prevail.
God has a plan. God loves you. God guides and strengthens you. Take comfort in that. The road is not easy, but the road eventually leads to fulfillment and joy.