For a couple of years, I was privileged to lead a number of services at a church without a pastor. When they got a new minister, my regular worship with them was over, and in appreciation, they gave me a rose bush. I planted it behind our house, and I named it after the church, "St. Andrews".
When we moved to a smaller house in December of 2013, we took it with us. I planted it in a big container, and in the spring, I planted it in the flowerbed behind the house. It did well until a year ago. That winter was really cold, and the lack of snow allowed the freezing air to threaten the life of the rose. It struggled all last summer, and that really bothered me. I did not want to lose it. So, I dug it up, put it in a pot again, and put it on the deck behind the house where I could nurse it, along with some house plants that I keep there in the summertime. Last autumn, I put it back in the flowerbed and covered it with a pile of leaves. During the winter, about 30 centimetres of snow covered it all. When I cleaned up the flowerbed in March of this year, I noticed new growth on the branches close to the ground. St. Andrews is alive and well, and I am so pleased.
Likewise, the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the lives of individuals as well as the sustainability of businesses. The general consensus is that many small businesses will not be able to survive this period of inactivity. There have also been some articles in the newspapers about whether the Christian churches that are already struggling here in this rural area will be able to carry on if this lasts much longer. During this period of isolation, a number of them are sending out weekly services via the Internet, and the fear is that people will not come back. Many of us fear for the future of the church.
In my study Bible, the title for chapter 41 of the Book of Isaiah is "Israel assured of God's help". In that chapter, we read about all the good things that the Lord did for His people, even and especially during the most difficult times. Then, the Lord's wonderful words of comfort are recorded:
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (NKJV)
Are you worried about the future of the church? With tender love, God protected, cared for, and looked after the rose during its struggle to survive. Isn't His church much more valuable than a rose bush? Just so is His church covered with His love, and He will look after His church. We are never alone. That is the truth of the gospel.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we are assured through Your Word and our faith in You that You will be with Your people and Your church during these days of uncertainty. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "For All The Saints" (Lyrics)