SOME THINGS I HAVE MISSED
SOME THINGS I HAVE MISSED
It’s been thirteen weeks! From March 16th until June 14th, we have been unable to meet. The situation which brought this about is very rare – we haven’t seen anything like this for about 100 years. During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, citizens were ordered to wear masks. Schools, theaters, business, and churches were closed. Sound familiar? Anyway, here we are, 100 years later, going through a very similar situation. It reminds us that we are often subject to forces beyond our control! And during this “lockdown,” I have sure missed a lot of things…
Speaking just from a physical perspective, I missed going to restaurants! Over the years, that has become something that Anna and I love to do. As most of you know, she is a great cook; but we also like to “go out” and eat – whether it’s “fast food,” or a little nicer place. It’s just something we enjoy. But for weeks – even months – this privilege was severely limited. We did an occasional drive through at “Taco Bell” or “Chick-Fila,” but that was about it. But starting on May 11, when the restaurants opened up again (yes, I remembered the date), we went out – several times! When I walked into O’ Charlies, I clapped my hands and yelled out to the staff, “Okay, let’s get this economy stimulated!” They laughed, and agreed with my words. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean so much.
But the things I missed the most were spiritual things involving the church. All of my spring meetings were cancelled. I always enjoy meetings for the “change of pace” it gives me (and you). But not this year! I also missed our assemblies here. No public worship, no public Bible classes, no men’s classes, no VBS – what a bummer! No greetings at the door. No hugs. No handshakes. No smiling faces. No jokes. No laughs. No kids. No aged saints, like Mary Burris, George Boser, Sarah Cloud, Sue Hammer, the Britts, Harold Brown, Mike and Lou Ann Brown, the Funkhousers, the Greesons, the Crawfords, and others I can’t recall right now. No hospital, nursing home, or private home visitation. Man, I sure missed all those things – and more!
Oh, we tried to “compensate” with technology and private worship. But preaching to an empty room is very difficult! It isn’t the same as preaching “face to face” – something is lost in the experience. It’s not the same on the “listening end” either! Anna and I listened to David Eldridge every week (so I wouldn’t have to listen to myself). Yet, as much as I love David, it’s not like hearing him in person! While I believe private worship is important (Jm.5:13), it is much better when we do it together (Col.3:16). All of this is a testament to the wisdom of God in commanding us to actually be together (Ac.11:25-26; Ac.12:12; Ac.20:7; 1Cor.14:23-40; Hb.10:24-25). I have a greater appreciation for the role of the local church in our spiritual well-being.
I missed elders’ meetings. Oh, we teleconferenced; but it just isn’t the same! While we discuss very important things, we also laugh and joke and unload our stresses. We trust each other. We love each other. We encourage each other. I am so privileged to work with Jan, Randy, and Al. There is a chemistry that just works. That’s not to say we haven’t disagreed a time or two. But in the end, we always pull together for the cause of Christ! It is that prioritization of the spiritual that makes this church successful. It is also comforting to me as a preacher to know that the other elders have my back – and I’ve got theirs! It’s called “trust.” And it’s critical in any working relationship.
I want to close by saying that at no time was I afraid during this crisis. I was careful to socially distance, and wash my hands frequently; but I never did wear a mask (until today). I know that may sound terrible to some, but I just had faith in the Lord that all would turn out as He willed. I also know that this isn’t completely behind us. But we are much closer to putting it behind us than we were three months ago! The road to this day was long and a little difficult, but here we are! Let us thank God for His great blessings and His infinite mercy!