Message from the Elders– May 6, 2020

Dear Church Family,

We have been separated physically now for over eight weeks, we long for the time when the separation can be over. We just need to be patient a little longer. Being patient is hard, it is harder when we are younger but can also be hard when we are older. During this pandemic we have all had our patience tried. From those things that are just inconveniences like having to work from home, teach the kids from home, and no open restaurants for eating out. Then there are other more critical situations like having a loved one in a health crisis and we can’t be with them in the hospital, the loss of a loved one with no funeral, the loss of a job, the separation from family and Church family. These things are difficult and try our patience. With this in mind we can look to the scriptures to find an example of remaining steadfast and patient during trials and troubles.

Being Steadfast
We are reminded of another situation in the Bible where a man had some very difficult times in his life. Think about the struggles that Job dealt with, loss of his family, loss of his fortune and loss of his health. It would have been easy for Job to do as his wife suggested to “Curse God and die.“
Job 2:9-10
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

It is sometimes hard to accept the troublesome times we live in and be patient during the troubles. We may wonder like Job’s friends did what we did to deserve the troublesome time we live in today. Like Job we can have faith that God knows our situation and while it may not be easy for us to understand this present circumstance, we can have faith that He will work things out for our good. Romans 8:28

As far as we know, Job was never told the reason he suffered (i.e., Job 1). Actually, he did not need the information. If he could simply appreciate that the Creator is all-powerful and all-wise, he could rely on him no matter what.

The biography of Job is really the biography of all of us, for we do not always know the explicit reasons for our suffering. We do not “see” as God “sees.” We can, however, rely upon the Lord of heaven and earth. He is our Creator and our Redeemer. He is in control and does not operate erratically or without purpose. We are assured that we have salvation and a home in heaven through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10; cf. Rom. 5:8).

It was not for Job’s benefit alone, but it was for ours also, that God led Job through the humbling question and answers found in Job 38-41. We, like Job, can lose sight of “who God is” while suffering. But when we encounter God in the world and in the word, we are reassured that God is the powerful Creator, the philanthropic Sustainer, and the perfect Ruler.

God, reminds Job with his question to Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4). The Lord followed with a challenge: “Tell me, if you have understanding” (v. 4; cf. v. 21).

God through his questions to Job helps him and us to understand that since we cannot even process the basic understanding of how God created the earth how are we then qualified to judge what happens on the earth.

Job was steadfast and faithful in the lord even when he did not understand why the difficulties and tragedy were happening to him. James reminds us of this in James 5:11.

11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Job now serves as an example of perseverance despite his limited knowledge. We find ourselves in a similar state. We don’t fully understand why we are in this situation but like Job we do have the knowledge that; “The Lord is compassionate and merciful,”… and that should be enough for us to remain steadfast in the Lord.

Elders Message Update
Once again, the Eldership wants to let you all know that you’re in our prayers and we’re looking forward to the day when we can meet again as a congregation! We encourage you to remain steadfast and patient until we meet again. Georgia has started the process of lifting some restrictions, with the lifting of the restrictions we are hopeful to be back together soon. You will be hearing more information about when and how we plan to begin meeting again in the next days and weeks ahead.

Thankfully we still haven’t heard of anyone in our congregation that has contracted the virus and we’re optimistic that we will be meeting again as a congregation soon. We are watching the situation closely and our desire is to be back together as soon as possible. With that said we’ve decided that the building will remain closed through the end of May. Should we see a dramatic change or improvement we will be anxious to consider starting back sooner rather than later. We’re considering a phased approach to begin our public assemblies. We may have some additional requirements for each member to gather together for worship. One of those requirements may be the use of a mask while together. With this in mind we would ask that you secure some masks for use at worship if you don’t currently have one.

In preparation for phasing in the assembly at the building the Elders have prepared a short 10 question survey that will be sent out by email today. We encourage all to participate in the survey to help us have a better understanding of each individual’s situation and comfort level for returning to our Congregational worship together at the building. We will use this information along with recommendations from the local authorities on when and how to once again gather together and open the building. Please only submit the survey once.

Everyone should be encouraged to know that the Church is continuing to meet as individual families every first day of the week to pray, sing songs of praise to the Lord, partake of the Lord’s Supper, study God’s word and joyfully give of our means as faithful members of the Lord’s body always have. It’s encouraging to hear of the joyful worship being offered to the Lord from our church family and a further demonstration of our faithfulness that even though separated our contribution has remained near normal levels. We’re also pleased to tell you that Matt will continue to bring us Sunday morning and Wednesday evening lessons delivered via our YouTube page.

In Christian Love,
The Eldership

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