Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…  

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

Have you noticed that everything is more difficult in a pandemic? Let me put it another way: there are no simple tasks in a pandemic. If you have a “to do” list for the day or the week, just cut it in half. Cut it in half and count yourself lucky if you can accomplish half of the items on that list. Better yet, cut it in half, and then throw both halves away.

Supply chains are strained, networks are overwhelmed, hold times exceed most stays in purgatory, offices are closed, and seeing a real person is next to impossible. I spent three hours on the phone last week trying to accomplish a simple task, and I am quite certain that I was unsuccessful. Time will tell, but when the IRS calls me, I am going to just put them on hold, and play Karl’s greatest hits, as they sit in my virtual waiting room and apologize every ten minutes for the extended wait times.

Nothing is easy, essential workers are dog-tired, friends and neighbors are weary, and from the tiniest tots to the most aged of our elders everyone is suffering the effects of Covid19. If misery loves company then we should all be getting along just fine. The truth is, no one has been spared. Nearly every citizen of earth has been touched by the disruption of this contagion. Some are hungry; it is predicted that the pandemic will be followed by a famine of Biblical proportions. Families are stressed, marriages are on the rocks, the unemployment ranks continue to grow, hospitals are struggling to care for those who are plagued with Covid19, and nearly everyone is suffering from the depression and loneliness that comes with this lock-down.

Everything is more difficult in a pandemic. What do we do with this information?

First, we must try to stay on the side of optimism. I know that can be difficult. The fear that haunts us is understandable, but largely overstated. I have spent many nights losing sleep over things that did not happen. In fact, most of the energy that I have expended worrying has been wasted. In this case, optimism is warranted. Why? Because human beings have endured dark seasons like this before. Because science is on the verge of taming this pandemic beast. Because even in the midst of lock-down we have it better than 99% of the humans who have walked the face of this earth. We will make it through this; I have no doubts about that. We will worship together, we will laugh and sing, we will travel and host intimate parties in our homes. Fall to sleep counting your blessings; it will foster your optimism and perhaps you will sleep better.

Secondly, we must try with intentionality to be kinder and more compassionate to the people that we share this pandemic with. If everyone is afraid and hurting, and they are, then the last thing they need is your poor attitude.

I received an email this morning that was encouraging to me and my staff. It provided a lift to a busy work day. The email included this quote, “Don’t be discouraged, neither be dismayed, for the Lord, thy God, is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

There you go, an admonition to be of good courage, to stay on the side of optimism, and to know that God is with you at Payless, at the Post Office, on the phone with customer service, and as you walk your neighborhood. If God is with you, then be on your best and most compassionate behavior, remembering always that everything is more difficult in a pandemic.

One day closer,
Pastor Jim