Things are moving in the direction of ‘normal.’ A friend of mine who suffers with mental illness once told me “Normal is just a setting on a dryer!” As I think about gathering for a maskless Men’s Breakfast tomorrow I feel a sense of hope and of anxiety. Almost all the participants will be totally vaccinated, including me, but after two years this once familiar practice seems strange. It will be wonderful to meet in ‘table fellowship’ again and it feels foreign. We will be taking some precautions but much less than before. In the meantime, China is again locking down its citizens and case counts in Europe are rising. I am told to stop looking at ‘case counts’ as a measure but old habits die hard! I am hoping that a good meal and even better News are the only things shared tomorrow morning.
As I was mentally preparing for this ‘return to normalcy’ I was offered the opportunity to fill in for our pastor at Wednesday’s Worship Night. I recalled the unofficial motto of the Church Army, now called Threshold, “Be prepared to: Preach, Pray, or Die at a moment’s notice!” Naturally, then, I said yes to the request and began wondering what I could share.
Because I was at that time wrestling with feelings of anxiety I decided to look at the Psalmist David’s prescription for such feelings. I was drawn to Psalm 37:1-4 . The initial line caught my eye right away “Do not fret…” This spoke right to my issue. My problem is, though, I am really bad at ‘don’ts.’ If I see a sign that says, “Do not touch.” I have an almost irresistible urge to do just that. Fortunately, David goes on to give me some ‘dos,’ which I respond much more positively. He invites me to get some perspective by realising what is temporary and what is lasting and the calls me to trust in the Lord. This scratches right where I itch because often times my anxiety is an expression of a lack of trust in Go, in his character and in his promises. So, once I align my perspective and make God and God’s will my guiding star, the psalmist goes on with his prescription with “do good.” In this phase of anxiety release he calls me to action. My experience is that prolonged inactivity does not help but exacerbates my anxiety. But I am not just to ‘get busy’ I am to “do good.” The formula seems simple: seek the Lord and do his will as I best understand it. When I do this God promises that I “will dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” This reminds me of Psalm 23 and also Jesus’ assertion that he has come “to give you life in abundance.”
At this point my heart finds rest. I believe that right now, though there is risk, God is making a way for a return to in person fellowship. I need this and so do others. ‘Virtual’ life is despite the nomenclature, not real life. I am keenly aware that we ought not to throw all caution to the wind and though governments may be loathe to set mandates the Church ought to be sensitive to the health of the community.
On another note, Threshold House has financially survived the heating costs of the winter and the huge snow clearing bills. We are really grateful to God and his people for this. We have major expenses ahead though as we continue with our renovation plans for the lighting system. We will need soon to address fire alarms and spoke detectors in the remaining wing. This will cost another $4000. In addition, the guys in residence have been praying for a pool table. They have a place already in mind for it. They believe it would greatly enhance the ministry and outreach of Threshold House. Perhaps you would like to join them in these prayers. This is a stretch for me. I told them I have “heat and lights faith,” but I may not have “pool table faith.” The guys have begun to pray like the man who said to Jesus “I believe, help my unbelief.”