Many of the Protestant churches in our area are struggling. It is a matter of grave concern to many of us. There are discussions and workshops; there is talk of amalgamation and re-alignment; there is even talk of closing some of the churches which cannot continue under the present circumstances. There is a lack of attendance, and as a consequence, a lack of funds. In many cases, the situation appears to be desperate. Most of the worshippers are elderly; there are few young families, teenagers, or children. Many people say, "When this generation is gone, we are finished; there is no hope; the church as we now know it will disappear." And indeed, it is a big problem facing many churches at the present time. There are so many people outside of the church who are just not interested. It seems that they do not have the need to believe or to worship.
This is not a new situation. According to the Bible, the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah struggled with this as well. Jeremiah was so distraught that he wished he were dead. Isaiah prophesied, "You will hear but never understand. You will see but never know what you are seeing." (Isaiah 6:9 NIRV) It seems that the people at that time were not interested in worshipping God either. Isaiah compared the people of Judah to a forest cut down, just "stumps" (Isaiah 6:13) showing — no visible life left at all.
We have a creek behind our house, and some years ago, there used to be a fair number of beavers making their homes there. They cut down trees on our property to build their dams and lodges. They hauled the trees and branches away, and the only things left were the stumps sticking up out of the ground. At first sight, these appeared to be dead, but as time went on, new shoots came out of these seemingly dead stumps, and new trees grew. The roots were still there; there was life after all.
And so it is with our churches. It may seem that they are on the brink of disappearing — some of them — but the roots of faith are there. The years spent bringing the gospel of Jesus were not wasted, and at some point, new growth will show. There is hope indeed, and with faith, we do continue on.
After all, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV) If we keep on continuing on, our work is not in vain. I'm sure of it.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for Your churches in various places, especially those places where people are struggling to keep going and those places where people are being persecuted for Your name's sake. We pray that You will bless us, and that a change will come about. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" (Lyrics)