Faces on Faith: The unexpected
It was a Wednesday evening and my wife and I were driving home after choir and Bible Study. We were listening to music, singing and laughing, when a special weather bulletin from the national weather service announced a blizzard warning beginning late tonight with up to twelve inches of snow expected and winds up to 70 miles per hour. At the time the temperature was 58 degrees and it was raining, so it was hard to imagine that what was predicted would come true. Later this would be called the blizzard of 1978, or the white hurricane. It was the perfect storm that disrupted our lives for a number of days.
Now we face another storm called the Coronavirus Pandemic. This virus has impacted the whole world and at this point there is no end in sight. Even though a few sounded an alarm quite some time ago, what we are dealing with now is unprecedented. In some countries and in parts of our country people are in total lockdown. Weddings have been canceled and grieving families cannot properly bury their loved ones.
Yet, even though we are experiencing much fear and anxiety, as a people of faith there is good news. First, people all over the world are used to practicing their faith in what is called house churches. This is especially true in China where practicing your faith openly might land you in jail. So while we are sequestered at home let’s continue to practice our faith through prayer and the study of God’s word. Second, let’s have an extended conversation with the Lord. I suggest reading the story of when Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John chapter 4). The powerful dialogue comes to the point of Jesus offering the woman “Living Water that wells up into eternal Life.” This is in spite of the fact that this Samaritan woman was considered a half breed by Jews, she had been married five times and was currently living with a man. I don’t think the woman expected Jesus to not only speak with her but offer her the gift of Amazing Grace. That conversation changed her life and she became a witness for others. The point is to have a good conversation with God and I believe we will experience unexpected blessings.
At this writing there is no end in sight regarding our present health crisis. To me the anecdote to fear and anxiety is Faith, Hope and Love. As the Apostle Paul says, “seek the higher gifts” which will never pass away. This is how we meet the unexpected.
The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.