That remarkable resilience

remarkable resilience

Don’t expect Church in 2021 to look the way it did at the beginning of this year. In lock-down boredom we’ve uncluttered our lives, homes, garages and work-places; we’ve repainted the walls, dug up our gardens and asked ourselves deep, difficult and challenging questions, and for the most part we’re pressing into the future with a renewed sense of hope and vigour.

I hope you are at that place too. Something defines us, but it’s not the ‘British bulldog, stiff upper lip’ mentality. That would make it a national, cultural thing. Instead, what defines us as a people together (at least those who are followers of Christ) is that we remain a people sharing a common vision, on a mission and with a certain hope before us that can’t be shaken off by the isolation and restrictions that everyone, young and old and on every continent, experiences today.

The magnitude of what God is doing is significant

The premise, ‘tough times make for tougher people’ sounds good, but it is not a convincing one. Instead, we’ve been learning God is both with us and for us in ways that we never thought possible. Consider the magnitude of this, in a global-lock down lock-down millions have appreciated the precious nearness and presence of God in their homes and lives; and many for the first time too, bringing new meaning and renewed purpose.

The breath-taking sign up and participation with online Alpha courses has been amazing! Who would have guessed! Some churches have reported that their Sunday meetings online have been attended by nearly twice the congregation numbers! In fact, Manchester Bishop, David Walker told tells Sky News that more than 400,000 people watched one of his online services, easily surpassing any church congregation.

The benefits

Being a tender people in tough times means that many followers of Jesus have been discovering the tremendous reassurance and closeness of God as they live temporarily in a less-rushed quieter and seemingly safer world where neighbours talk over the fence and share barbecue or coffee and cake. Minute things make big differences. (We need to stay alert to others at this time though: Summer lock down was bad for people already struggling with mental health; a winter one may well be 10 times worse – with cold, dark nights and limited social contact, so keep a lookout for your family, friends and neighbours who are struggling.)

We are in the good of what God is doing and certainly, I have confidence that God is up to something phenomenal and that we are about to see a world-wide move of God that will be astonishing.

Remarkable resilience

This has been a time of extraordinary remarkable resilience, especially for us as church together. Initially, we (the Church) couldn’t sing, pray or meet together and then within days we ‘zoomed’ into one another’s homes, but with a difference. We joined together intentionally, but now we were including those who were thousands of miles away. We’ve seen their homes, their gardens, their food and drink, their pets… and new children.

Instead of dividing us, we’ve been drawn closer together. Michael Ramsden from Ravi Zacharias team was able to speak at three international conferences in one day from the comfort of his own home; no travel, jetlag or complications. Something he would never had dreamed of before!

Society has pushed through this time with great resilience, but the Church has done it with remarkable resilience. And the credit for that all goes to God. We’re in His hand; he sustains us, encourages us, keeps us, protects us and shows loving kindness and patience towards us in such a way that we continue our journey in life with him. Covid We’re leaving lock down stronger than when we went into it and with greater appreciation for all that we had, but for all the new things that we are discovering.

After isolation

It’s not a new phenomenon. Paul recognized the experience (as he knew it) and often mentioned his isolation but his heart, thoughts and prayers were frequently for those who were at a distance from him, and his longing was to be with them. We reflect that similar longing. 2021 will be different, but we are carrying into it all that we have discovered during this time of restriction.

For myself, I have been encouraged to see so many new faces on our Church podcast. “Who is that?” has become a frequent exclamation as we sit on Sunday morning, in pyjamas with bacon butties and coffee watching Church on Telly! I’ve also been encouraged to see glimpses of the new leaders emerging, preachers improving their preaching skills after seeing and hearing themselves as we see them. These have been hard days, but I applaud the Church for the remarkable resilience they have shown – all around the world.

We are in the good of what God is doing and certainly, I have confidence that God is up to something phenomenal and that we are about to see a world-wide move of God that will be astonishing.

Keep depending on the Lord – you’ll not be disappointed.