Those that know me have likely either engaged with me in a conversation on baseball or suffered while I spoke on baseball. For those of us who struggle to remain faithful to our Seattle team, there is little question that we deal with disappointment on a regular basis. There are few things as disappointing as seeing one’s team lose the game in the bottom of the 9th inning or in extra innings. Recently I suffered a similar disappointment when in one Sunday I am joyfully announcing that we were free to gather for worship without masks, which was followed within a short span of time that we needed to suspend worship due to COVID infections. I will confess that it can be a challenge to deal with such setbacks. In the last few weeks, I have been part of the decision to suspend worship services, seen a dear friend hospitalized, had another friend tell me they were choosing to leave our congregation. All this had forced to re-evaluate all the plans that seemed on the verge of coming to fruition after a long COVID imposed moratorium. I pondered such questions as “How do we regain a forward momentum?” “How can we gain ground when our Sunday numbers are down because a number of members still watch from home?” I look around and see COVID fatigue; a few folks scrambling to keep the wheels turning, and some plans again placed on the back burner. If I were to choose to focus on only that, I would likely curl into a fetal position and asked not to be bothered until we are past this point in history.
However, that is not what I choose to focus on. I think of Paul’s words in Colossians 3:2-3 [Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.] I think of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:8 [Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of Praise, think about these things.] When I contemplate Paul’s words, I am reminded of who I am in Christ and the things that should demand my focus. These things are not the things that cause disappointment. “Whatever is true”: Among the things that are true is that God called twelve disciples just as messed up and imperfect as us and said, “Go change the world.” The challenges and disappointments I mentioned pale in comparison to what they faced. And yet, through their obedience and faith, the world was never the same. We can choose to focus on our disappointments and challenges, or we can choose to remember who we are in Christ, what He has told us to do, and what is possible through faith and obedience.
Have a blessed week, Vic