Boundaries, Battles & Blessings – during the pandemic tribulation

We need to be wise in the battles we fight AND in knowing the right time to fight them.  For instance, there are numerous actions taken by both governments and individuals that raise the eyebrow of the average person.  Decisions that seem to be adding to the stress that many feel.  But given the state of mind that most people have to manage during this pandemic, the wisest choice seems to be avoiding unnecessary conflict, whenever possible.  As the old saying goes, “time will tell”.  We will all be judged in the passing of time as to the soundness of our actions.  Even a legitimate gripe needs to be shelved during a crisis so that we can give ourselves to the work that is most important.
 
And the most important work, in my view, is keeping faith strong during this time of tribulation.  I think we need to stay attentive to caring for our families and each other.  I know that you’ve all heard a flight attendant explain the safety procedures in case of a mid-air emergency.  One instruction always strikes me as counterintuitive.  In case of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you.  PUT YOURS ON FIRST before assisting the person next to you.  The logic is sound.  If you are not able to breathe yourself, you most likely will NOT be able to help those around you.  
 
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF so that you can properly help those around you.  Do the things that Christians know to do in order to “breathe”.  Pray, confess, meditate on Scripture, sing songs of worship, and share your hope freely (while practicing physical distancing of course!!). 
 
One of the ways that April and I are trying to practice wise boundaries is to limit the amount of exposure we get to the news in a 24-hour period.  We are making sure that we are listening to good music, getting daily exercise, READING good books, including the BIBLE, to name of few of our daily habits.  That’s not to say that I am always doing the right things.  I’ve had to be told on several occasions that even pastoral care has its boundaries. 
 
Set limits that you know will keep you mentally and spiritually healthy.  And don’t forget to see the blessings that God faithfully gives His children even in the midst of great pain.  It’s been observed by numerous theologians and historians that the church of Jesus Christ in western civilization for 1500 years has never not met for Easter or missed months of worship and ministry, even in times of war and plague far more devastating than COVID-19.  On the other hand, we live in a time when we have been able to “see” each other virtually.  (I’m in no way implying that online “church” is actually fulfilling the commandment of Scripture).  I’m just pointing out a blessing in the midst of a curse.  With family in Orlando, Houston, and Ontario I’m very thankful that we can meet regularly online.  It’s nowhere near the same as a family dinner but it has helped ease the separation anxiety.  Find your blessing and give God thanks.  Do it right now.  Stop, name a blessing and then thank Him who is the giver of all good gifts. 
 
One of my immeasurable blessings is YOU.  I’m pumped to be serving you during this pandemic.  And I look forward by faith to serving you in the aftermath of this crisis.  And I plan to do so by setting boundaries, fighting the right battles, and by counting my blessings. 
 
Stay strong in the Lord, church family!  We’ll get through this together. 
 
Pastor Deric