"I wonder what sort of a tale we've fallen into?" - Samwise Gamgee
When I was a boy, my father was injured trying to repair his two-row corn picker. The cuff of his pants got caught in the PTO, and in a second he was flipped and stripped of his clothes. Dad told me to run home and get mother. I was afraid to run through the corn, so I ran the long way around the field to get home. Dad was in excruciating pain and now extremely frustrated with me for taking the long way around, when I had just a few rows of standing corn to navigate through to get home much faster.
That story shows the difference between being "inside the story" and "outside the story." When you are inside the story, you can't always see the best and most prudent route. Fear can paralyze you. Whereas, when you are outside the story, you have a view of the whole field and better recognition of what to do.
When we read about the courageous stories in the Bible, we are reading their story from the outside. We should not forget that for them, they were still inside the story. They had no idea, that as they fought through their fears, we would be reading of their courage thousands of years later, from the outside.
So, what kind of tale have we fallen into? We have fallen into COVID for 7+ months. We have fallen into civil unrest like we have never seen in our nation. Many have fallen into economic ruin. We have fallen into political strife as the election approaches. The church has also fallen into hard times with record low participation with many churches still closed or without a place to meet. What does courage look like in a tale like this? What will people say about Living Rock in 100 years, as they look back at our day from the outside? Who has 20-20 vision in 2020?
I will tell you that this time we are in is changing us more than we know - for better and for worse. Here is what I think courage looks like for us inside the story:
As God prunes and perfects Living Rock Church, I pray we come out of this tale looking more like Jesus. And yes, I hope people will look back at us from the outside and see our faith and our courage.
Please pray for the LRC leadership, church, and for one another,