It’s Sunday as I sit here writing this.
What a week it’s been.
I can’t be the only person thinking that, either.
It. Has. Been. A. Week.
I’d loop you in on all the crazy that’s happening in my life at the moment, but that’s not the point of this post. We each have our own kind of crazy to deal with, right? Whether it’s work, family, health, or trying to find toilet paper. (I finally mail-ordered mine. Hopefully it arrives by the time this post goes live because as the sole female in my household, I take the toilet paper situation seriously, and we are dangerously low.)
Regardless of what’s happening in your life right now, though, we all have to deal with a degree of chaos and crazy every single day. I’m not sure if the current national health situation makes the crazy worse or if just shines a light on the things that already stress us out and make us feel like we’re in one of those giant machines that crushes cars like they’re silicon straws. Let’s be honest here. Hard times tend to bring out the best in us…and the worst. That makes this a great time to extend grace to one another. Hopefully we’re already in the practice of doing that. It’s easier to show grace to someone who is at their worst if you’ve already established the habit of grace.
In some states right now, it is illegal to gather together in large groups. This affects schools. That’s a no-brainer. It affects churches, too, though.
I understand the reasoning. Keeping large gatherings to a minimum may help slow the spread of COVID-19. I get it. I don’t even think that precautionary measures are wrong. It breaks my heart a little bit, though, that we are being told that in order to protect each other, we cannot do something that God commands us to do. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together” (Hebrews 10:24-25a). Again, I’m not saying that I disagree with the limits placed on large gatherings. I’m just saying that it makes me sad.
The laws limiting large gatherings hadn’t gone into effect in our state yet, and our church had opted to meet for Sunday service. We also live-streamed, though, for those church members who did not feel comfortable attending. This was the first time we had ever live-streamed, and it was a little stressful. I was on the team working on the technology and pulling it all together. Even though we’d had practice runs this past week and I knew what to do, when it came time to set up this morning, I couldn’t figure out how to extend the legs on my tripod – something I had done earlier this week with no problem. I was a teeny, tiny bit of a nervous wreck.
Sometimes life is like a pressure cooker, and we’re all holding onto our lids for dear life as things churn and bubble inside of us.
After the tripod incident, I went off and found an empty room so I could sit down, take a few deep breaths, and pray. I don’t know how long I sat there, but I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed.
Then I went and got back to work.
There was this huge weight of responsibility on my shoulders, and I felt inadequate to that weight. I’m relatively decent at techie stuff, but it’s not my profession. I’m not a photographer or videographer. I had never streamed anything before. It was kind of like flying with a wing and a prayer…but without any wings.
That’s the crux of it, though.
In our weakness, God’s power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). The Greek word that we translate as “perfect” is teleitai, and it doesn’t quite mean perfect – at least not in the way modern Americans use that word. It means completed, fulfilled, accomplished. It means that God is glorified when we stop trying to do things in our own power, admit how very weak we are, and let Him – in all this strength and power – carry us. God is glorified when we step aside and let Him do the heavy lifting.
It took a few quiet minutes of prayer hidden away in a quiet room with a copy machine to remind me that I wasn’t in charge…and that God had my back. If something went wrong with the technology, it wasn’t on me. It was under His control, in His power. I had done everything I could, but the whole service from beginning to end rested in the palm of God’s hands, and I could absolutely trust Him to know what was best and to see that His will was accomplished.
Which brings me back to grace. The pressure I felt this morning was an itsy, bitsy little microcosm of what our church leaders are dealing with right now. I can’t fathom the challenges they are facing as they determine how best to both serve and protect their congregations. They might occasionally make choices you don’t agree with, but they make those choices out of love for their flocks. Whether your church chooses to continue meeting, suspend services, or do something else entirely – I urge all of you to treat your church leaders with grace. Show them love. Support them. Encourage them. Pray for them.
Hugs to you from someone who now kinda-sorta knows how to live stream. I’m praying for you as you give grace to others while walking through the crazy and the chaotic that is this life.