“…and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’”
In the midst of fears, school closings, working at home, toilet paper shortages and a general disruption of every public aspect of our lives, we stop and think. As we prepare to have more downtime than usual, we do a clarification of our values. We don’t like to be forced to do anything, but we are now being forced to sit and reflect – and herein lies the problem. We’re not very good at this.
We hear the words “The Lord be with you” and we remember Jesus is Emmanuel, or “God with us.” Yet we look heavenward and ask, “Where is God in all of this madness?”
The reality is that God is much more likely to change us than our circumstances. The problem is we usually pray to have events change and rarely do we pray to be changed. Most of us don’t like any change, let alone to have ourselves be changed. In these days, I ask you to pray for change both in our circumstances, but also to pray for a change within yourself.
The change we desperately need is to trust that God is near. And because God is near, we have hope. Our hope is not whether we can control a virus or any other aspect of our lives. Our hope is that we have a God who loves and cares for us regardless of our circumstances. Even more, we have a God whose love becomes real as we share God’s reassuring love with those near to us.
Realize that God will be near as you spend extra time with your family. Realize that you will need a portion of patience and wisdom to make good choices in these days of downtime. You will quickly learn that downtime can be sinful just as easily as it can be holy. Realize that cultivating an understanding of God’s presence is your work to be done. Make time to pray, study and talk about God’s love.
Ultimately, cultivating God’s presence is the key to a fulfilled life that suppresses fear and curates hope.
I pray that you will experience the power of God’s presence as we all navigate these uncertain days.
It is a privilege to be your pastor.
Pastor Greg Bouvier
Sheridan Lutheran Church
We are still planning to gather for worship the weekend of March 14 & 15. If you are unable to join us in person, worship online with our Livestream at 9:45am on Sunday.