Pandemic living: Perseverance
Updated: Apr 24
The last month has demonstrated to all of us how inaccurate were any assumptions we had that the coronavirus pandemic would cause only a brief interruption to our lives and our experience as a church.
It was a month ago today that Covenant Community Church did not gather to worship at our normal meeting place for the first time during the pandemic. Since then, a series of escalating restrictions has been put in place hopefully to slow and eventually to halt infections and deaths. As a church, we have worshiped four consecutive Sundays from our homes by means of a video platform. Our Bible studies for women and men have been conducted in the same way.
And each of the households in our church has lived largely in isolation in order to serve the common good – the preservation of health and life of those within our homes and all others. The social separation from church family and others, as well as the restrictions on normal activities, can take a toll, likely increasingly.
The wait – whatever its duration – calls for perseverance. And, as followers of Jesus, it is not a grin-and-bear-it kind of endurance. No, it calls for this kind of perseverance:
A perseverance that understands God has a purpose in this pandemic and the power to end it at any time;
A perseverance that remembers God is good and always does good;
A perseverance that is produced and sustained by the gospel of Jesus;
A perseverance that recognizes and makes use of the abundant, sufficient resources available in Christ;
A perseverance that knows God is using this time to shape us into the likeness of Jesus;
A perseverance that realizes the indwelling Spirit will enable us to bear Christ-like fruit.
At the heart of this encouragement is the gospel, the gospel that provides us with the proper perspective in trials. Milton Vincent says in his book A Gospel Primer for Christians:
"[E]very hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me. When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad. I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials. The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ.
"Preaching the gospel to myself each day provides a lens through which I can view my trials in this way and see the true cause for rejoicing that exists in them. I can then embrace such trials as friends and allow them to do God’s good work in me."