“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21
In these days we’ve had a powerful reminder of this truth. We are reminded that God is sovereign and man is not. It is God who determines what each new day will bring—man does not. There is so much that we do not know and so much that we cannot control. The truth is, that’s always been the case, but in God’s providence He brings along special circumstances to make us more keenly aware of what has always been true. That is an act of God’s grace. And when God graciously awakens us to see that we are not as much in control as we had pretended to be, or do not know as much as we had pretended to know, we should thank Him, and not be discouraged by it.
My wife and I have 3 young children. There is a lot they do not know, and very little they can claim to have any semblance of control over. They don’t know what we’re doing this afternoon—much less tomorrow. They go where we lead them. And like most young children, they’re quite alright with that. They’re okay with not knowing because they have this intrinsic trust that their mom and dad know. And that’s enough. Jesus said there is much we can learn from little children. We can be quite content with not knowing and not controlling, when we recognize and trust that our heavenly Father knows and controls all things. He’ll lead you and me and our families and our church wherever He desires. And I think one place He is intending to lead us all at this time is into a greater awareness of our dependence upon Him. To humble us. To make us aware of truths that have always been true, but which we have not always acknowledged—that we are dependent upon God for everything. Our every step is determined by Him. Our every breath is supplied by Him. Our every need is met by Him, or it is not met. God’s hand and His sovereign will orders absolutely everything. We do not.
So as James says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live’—notice how he puts that: “if the Lord wills, we will live”—don’t think you can even take that for granted—‘if the Lord wills we will live and do this or that.’”
Recognizing that we do not know what tomorrow will bring—or next week or next month—we are making an update to the plan we had two weeks ago where we indicated that church services and gatherings would be postponed through April 5. Most of you are probably aware by now that yesterday our governor introduced a shelter-in-place order for our state, effective through the end of April. Since the guidance from our civil authorities and medical authorities has not been eased, but rather tightened, we will be complying with the governor’s directive and extending the suspension of church gatherings at least through April 30. Sadly, that does mean that we will not be gathering as a body for our annual Sunrise Service and Easter service. Happily, we can still celebrate (weekly and daily!) that our Savior is the risen and reigning King who conquered death to give us life. That certainly gives us much to rejoice about!
Jon Patton on behalf of the elders