Take a step…


Everything is bad…
That’s the resounding message from almost every source that we hear right now.

People are dying from COVID.
Churches are going to begin closing.
The economy is going to crash.
Race is more contentious than ever.
You might not have a job much longer.
Our country will collapse if __________ becomes president.
It’s bad.
All of it.

But truthfully…
It’s not all bad. In fact, some of our greatest experiences, realizations and new ways of thinking and doing have come from the ashes of the bad.
As far as all the bad things I listed above, most of them aren’t as bad as people want you to believe. They just know that they have your attention if they are telling you something to be afraid of. Honestly, we give almost everyone who scares us our undivided attention. It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When our safety is threatened, that’s all we can think about until we get it fixed…oh wait…there’s a new bad thing that just came over the airwaves.
Feel familiar?

So how do Christians navigate these times? How do we navigate a culture that is so paralyzed with fear that Christianity seems like a fairy tale for well wishers instead of the power and life that we need to move forward?

Isaiah gave wise counsel during a difficult time in Israel’s history. It’s counsel that I think is helpful for us as individuals, as employees, as family members and as the church.

Isaiah 30:21–23 (ESV)
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” 23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

“This is the way, walk in it.”
What powerful words.

This is the way.
Walk in it.

That voice that we hear is the Holy Spirit which moves us to walk in hope instead of fear is saying to you…this is the way…walk in it.

I love that Isaiah also says that we will hear this when we turn to the right or the left as if God himself is concerned not just with where you’ll end up but the very. next. step.

I certainly don’t have all the answers to all of the challenges that we are facing, but I do know that Isaiah’s words ring true…take the best next step…whether you turn to the right or to the left. Take the step.

The God is aware of all truth. He knows if a conspiracy theory is true or false. He knows the motives of the producers and newscasters and if the news is true or false.
God knows how long COVID will last and if a vaccine will be effective. He knows what’s going to happen in the economy, when the next shooting will be and if the individual or officer is guilty.
God knows which churches will close and which will not. He also knows what will happen to each church member of every one of those congregations and he has a plan.

This is the way.
Walk in it.

God knows what our jobs will look like in a year, 5 years, 50 years.
God knows if you will keep your job or if you will lose income…and he has a plan.

This is the way.
Walk in it.

A few years ago I noticed that the voices I was listening to on radio, TV and online were able to change my mood and elicit emotions in me moreso than God’s word or the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit.
So I started turning them off. Not all of them. I still want to know what’s going on, but in a typical day, the same stories are repeated relentlessly from one personality presenter to the next. There’s just no need to to take it in all day.
In fact, I would love to know exactly how many unique stories are actually covered on a given news channel in 1 day. I bet it’s less than 1 hour of information repeated endlessly.

It can be paralyzing when we are afraid or when we have no idea what the future holds.
What’s important for us right now is knowing….

This is the way.
Walk in it.

You may not be able to see what’s ultimately coming but you can take a next right step, today.

Pastor Mark

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