October 2021

Eric Sloane is well known for his books on early American life. In his book, A Reverence for Wood, he tells about the use of cedar shingles and how they were obtained in the early American frontier. The best shingles came from swamp bottoms in New Jersey. Old cedar logs, submerged for perhaps hundreds of years, were pulled up from swamps, dried, and then cut into shingles. They found that these shingles were easily cut, lasted longer and provided the best sheltering roofs.
As I reflect upon Sloane’s words, I wonder how many of us feel that this past year and a half has felt like being submerged in a swamp of inconvenience, isolation, fear and even anger. To be sure it has been a period of time unlike anything we have experienced before. It is tempting to feel that a part of our lives has been wasted. Not so. Nothing that happens in life is outside the shaping hand of God. As the scripture says, “God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God . . . according to his purposes” (Rom 8:28).
We have not yet exited this Covid journey. But be assured, that God is “at work in each one of us according to His good purposes” (Phil 2:13). Your time of “submersion” is not for nothing. What have you learned about your walk with God? How has it humbled you and made you more pliable in the hands of God? What have you learned about ministry and making another’s life easier? What opportunities for sharing the peace you know in Christ have you had during this time? Maybe most of all, what have you found to be your faith’s greatest possession, even when much of life has been overwhelmed by the flood waters of pandemic?
Let me encourage each of you, for however long we must continue to deal with Covid, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t lean on your own understanding (or the understanding of the pundits, social media, or self-help gurus) but in all your ways acknowledge the Lord and He will direct your paths” (Prov 3:5,6). Be confident that when you do, He will shelter you in the “shadow of his Almighty hand” (Ps 91:1). Pastor Mike