Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:2–4, ESV)
How much longer? We have endured this pandemic for so long now.
I remember when it all started that we were a few weeks away from Easter. I hoped that we would be able to come together and have a grand celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. But our Easter worship in New Jersey came and went online only.
Later, I hoped that summer would mark the end of the pandemic. And summer did provide a little relief. We regained some sense of normalcy with the return to in-person worship but with restrictions and limited capacity. We saw the return of other things like indoor dining, but social distancing and masks were very much part of the reality. Coronavirus still clouded our days.
We are now entering the holiday season. And this pandemic is not going away but only accelerating. Our children are still doing remote learning. More people are testing positive than at any point throughout this ordeal. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations will no doubt be impacted.
For some of us, the pandemic has been mostly an inconvenience. For others, the consequences are more severe. Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you were diagnosed with Covid-19, and have lasting impacts on your health. Maybe you lost your job. We all have our stories of how this has affected us.
I don’t know how much longer it will be that we will need to wear masks and practice social distancing. But I do know that day is coming when this pandemic will be a thing of the past. It may not be for some time yet. But I rejoice that we are one day closer to the healing of our land every day we wake up.
I know this because I know that God answers every prayer. Sometimes, the answer comes immediately. Sometimes, it comes eventually. But even if it does not come immediately or eventually, it will always come ultimately. If the prayer is not answered in this life, it will be answered in the life to come.
Our God is faithful. And our faithful God calls us to faithfulness. And it is through that faithfulness that he will produce fruitfulness. But that faithfulness often requires perseverance to endure long and difficult seasons.
The thing about seasons is that they don’t last days or weeks. Seasons are prolonged over months. There are seasons for sowing, cultivating, and harvest. But there are also seasons where the land lies barren.
We may be in that barren season now. It may be an incredibly difficult season, but consider how God may be using this season to prepare you for the next. There are things like perseverance that can only be learned through persevering. And the perseverance you learn this season will benefit you exponentially in the season to come. It just might be that when you look back at this time, you will look back in gratitude for what God instilled in you through this time.
There will come a season of sowing, of cultivating, and of harvest. But until that time, what does faithfulness in this season look like for you?