Our secretary in Seguin had a sign by her desk that read, “God is going on before us. Our job is to keep up!” (cf Deut. 31:8) On several occasions, I found myself praying, “Please, God, can you slow it down a bit? I’m having trouble keeping up!” And God would respond, “No. But I Am with you. My strength will lift you up.” And He did.
A few years back, after a massive building campaign, we migrated to Bethany’s new Worship Center. It was so exciting to finally be in it! Then we had General Conference 2019 and all the fallout from the decisions made there. Which led straight into the COVID pandemic. Which required some deep and fast learning on many fronts. Which was made even more challenging by several major staff position changes. At several points, I felt overwhelmed. But every time I prayed about it, God responded, “I AM with you. My strength will lift you up.” And He did.
In the last few weeks, my plans were disrupted by COVID, then by my stepfather’s memorial, then by rebound COVID. As I slogged through those weeks, I was so very grateful for pastors and staff who continued to serve Christ faithfully and powerfully while I was out of commission. I was so very grateful for your emails and cards and prayers which encouraged my body and spirit. I was so very grateful for God’s Spirit protecting the rest of my family from the virus even while bringing healing to mine. I was so very grateful to see your beautiful faces when I returned and received your warm greetings. I found myself praying, “Thank you, God! You are with us. Your strength is lifting us up and blessing us.”
As we look forward, I am excited by the spirit of our congregation and the Spirit moving within us. I am excited by the stirrings of Awakening I sense among us. I am excited by the new commitment and fervor I see in our church family. I am excited by all the ideas and energy with which our new staff and pastors are blessing us. I am excited at the challenge we are embracing to grow deeper in our relationship with God even as we grow wider in our love for God’s children. Yes, we have challenges ahead of us as we continue to climb out of the pandemic slump and face denominational issues. But I am convicted that God is with us. His strength is lifting us up.
A song currently on the radio, “Yes He Can” by Cain, includes the tag line, “Did He move every mountain? Did He part every sea? Yes, He did. So, yes, He can.” As I listen to it, I am thinking that may need to be my new motto. Over and over and over, God has proved His love and care in my life. Over and over and over, God has proved His strength and blessing in the life of Bethany. Over and over and over, when I felt overwhelmed and the church faced challenges beyond our understanding and ability, God has been with us. His strength has lifted us up and blessed us beyond our wildest dreams.
Did God overcome the challenges we faced in our past? Can God overcome the challenges we face in our future? Yes, He did. So, yes, He can!