Hello Church Family,
How is everyone doing? It’s hard to believe that it’s been two Sundays since we have been together and it looks like it will be a few more until we can be back together in the same building. I can share with you that the church staff misses you and we can’t wait until the Sunday that we resume on campus services. I miss the kids like crazy but have enjoyed the limited ways that we have been able to communicate. I know you have probably received more emails and social media outreach from us than ever, but until we can be together again physically we will keep them coming.
The other day, I shared a devotion with the kids called turn your disappointments into opportunities. I know right now we are facing disappointments everywhere we turn. For some of you, it may mean that your high school or college student is missing many of the special things that are associated with being a senior or upperclassman. My heart goes out to these families as I know how hard your young people have worked for the accomplishments that will mostly go unrecognized in the near future. Others of you have had to face the disappointment of being without a job or facing a temporary cut in pay. I’ve heard some people say they are scared to go out anywhere, so there is the disappointed of being isolated and feeling alone in this time. Still others have faced the disappointed of an uncertain future as retirement funds have been depleted and savings have been hit hard. I don’t know of anyone who has escaped the long arms of disappointment that has been associated with this virus.
The question now is not, "do we face disappointments," but "will we turn those disappointments into opportunities?" This reminds me of the story of the Apostle Paul and some of his followers who had the best intentions of going to the city of Bithynia, but God had other plans for them. The story is in Acts 15:6-16.
“6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Paul certainly had to be disappointed when he was not able to go to the place he had felt called to go. Surely he and his companions had to change plans, take additional travel time, buy extra supplies, and face difficulties due to this disappointment that they faced. The good news was that God was in control and he led them to the right place. They turned their disappointment into an opportunity as they went to Macedonia, ministered to the people there, and were able to visit with Lydia. Lydia and her whole household came to Christ and she became an important friend and supporter to Paul and his ministry among the Gentiles. Their disappointment became a God given opportunity.
How about you? How are you handling the disappointments that we face these days? It’s easy to be depressed and feel alone and isolated, but remember God is in control. Take this time to create opportunities to connect with people. I, for one, have emailed, texted, and called as many people in a two week period than I can ever remember doing. Let me encourage you to take a meal to a neighbor, offer to deliver groceries to someone who fears going out in public, make a phone call, or video chat with your life group. Do whatever you can to make the most of this opportunity that God has laid before us. A few months from now, I believe that we will not look back at these few months as the time when we lost contact with our church, but will see it as a great time that God used us to reconnect and strengthen the body of believers at Hyland Heights. My challenge to you today is to turn whatever disappointment you are feeling into an opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God.
Have a great week!