Outcomes

COVID-19 marches on.  Millions of people have now battled this virus and hundreds of thousands have died from it around the world.

And yet, the next chapter of life is starting to come into clearer focus. More businesses are reopening – at least partially.  More people are feeling comfortable getting out and about – while wearing their masks and social distancing. More plans for the summer and beyond are being made – or re-made.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not quite sure what life will be like when we come out on the other side.

As I see it, there are two major outcomes. I hope and pray that both will be the case for you.

Outcome One:  You remain healthy. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you make a full recovery, and, with time, return to normal life.  You keep your job, or you get your job back when the economy regenerates.  You maintain your positive outlook.  Your loved ones stay relatively healthy, keep their jobs, and recover from this outcome.

Those outcomes will not be the case for everyone. Hopefully, all of these things will work out for you. If they do, thank the Lord for preserving you and providing for you and those you care about.

However, as important as those physical outcomes are to each of us, I believe there’s a more important and lasting outcome that could come out of this pandemic.

Outcome Two:  You may or may not remain healthy.  You may or may not come out of this economically stable.  Your loved ones may or may not be okay.

This pandemic has been a glaring reminder that we are not in control of life.  Even the experts and the powerful and influential leaders of our world have been at a loss some of the time.

What if there’s something better than just being okay?  What if there’s something more important than being in control or stable or healthy?

I truly do hope and pray that we all come out of this safe and healthy.  But of far greater importance is whether we trust Jesus in the midst of it all. 

Times of affliction are often the greatest opportunities for growth, both in our daily lives and in our life of faith.

Jesus is inviting you to call on Him for your daily bread.  Jesus is beckoning you to listen to Him in Scripture and speak with Him in prayer.  Jesus is sending you to serve your neighbor – whether over the phone or computer or in-person or under your own roof.

 

This morning in Bible study, we considered Philippians chapter 1, one of the Apostle Paul’s last correspondences.  Paul would not have grown to become the man of faith that he was by the time he wrote Philippians if not for all that he suffered for the name of Jesus (Acts 9:16).  Having seen so much affliction over decades of ministry, his concern is no longer whether he’s free or imprisoned, or even whether he lives or dies.

Paul knows that the best outcome, no matter what else happens, is that the Good News of Jesus continues to be made known, both near and far (Philippians 1:12-18).

A great (temporary) outcome in this pandemic will be for your to live and thrive and return to “normal”, but the best outcome will be for you to grow in Christ, even during the peak of this outbreak,  or for you to begin trusting Him, or for you to return to Him, as God’s Spirit works in your heart through the message of Christ.

That’s an outcome that will make a difference for all eternity!

Once again, I hope and pray that God will continue working in your heart and life during these difficult days, both preserving you and your loved ones, and most importantly, drawing you closer to Himself and His everlasting love for you!

A closing prayer – known as the Prayer of Good Courage:

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,  by paths as yet untrodden,  through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage,  not knowing where we go,  but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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