You know that verse about mission in the hymn “I cannot tell”, do we really believe it? The words go:
I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
How He will claim His earthly heritage,
How satisfy the needs and aspirations
Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
We sing it with gusto – or used to before COVID but I think if we are honest, we have to admit that we do think we can tell. It’s all down to our mission plans and projects. It’s all down to our ability to grow large, busy, vibrant churches.
And so, COVID has hit hard because the primary and most visible means for doing that has been taken away from us. Furthermore, if we are honest, many of us are nervous that as the pandemic goes on, it makes our churches more fragile, it makes it less likely that people who have got used to life without in person gatherings will come back. And if that happens, it will set our missions back quite a bit too won’t it.
I have a similar personalised temptation as I find myself between pastorates, waiting to see when and where the next calling will come from. What if it never turns up? And I think we can call do this in different ways in our lives, we can look at specific things we have gone through or are going through and think “how can this be good for God’s glory?” or more importantly “will I be okay through this?”
We are missing a crucial point. The very reason that we are living for Christ, part of churches, committed to mission, seeking to lead and pastor is because of God’s character. We believe that God is sovereign and that is crucial to our confidence in the good news. If God is sovereign then he is more than able to fulfil his purposes. If he isn’t sovereign then our church priorities and our vocational callings are a waste of time. We might as well give up now. However, if God is sovereign then we know that the circumstances that we find ourselves in now are very much part of that purpose. He is working all things together for good. We may not know how he will accomplish his purpose for our good and his glory but we know that he will.
But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory,
And He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendour
When He the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is known.