Janine knew she had made a horrible mistake. At 15, she was well aware that she could not properly care for her yet unborn child conceived out of wedlock. As she sat in church on Christmas Eve she struggled with how to tell her parents, and how she would handle the shame and the disappointment she would hear in their voices. For her, abortion was not and never would be an option. Her heart ached as she struggled with the difficulties that lay ahead, and the heartbreak of knowing that for her child’s sake, given her child up for adoption would be what was best.
As she sat in church on Christmas Eve, in the quiet of the candlelight she would later tell her family and friends that she had no doubt that Almighty God spoke to her. The message was clear and concise. “Janine, I know what you are going through. I too had to give up my Son. I too felt the pain and the anguish that you are facing.” But be assured “’I will be with you always!’”
Janine found instant courage knowing that God knew exactly what she was facing and that no matter how tough the future, God, the Creator of all, would be by her side.
It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was a difficult year. But as difficult as it was, we always had the confidence of knowing God was always by our side, giving us comfort when needed, hope when desperate, joy in the midst of sorrow, and confidence that He will never leave or forsake us.
With the promise of a vaccine, and Covid 19 being more controllable, 2021 will be a year of opportunity, listening anew to God’s direction, hearing His nudging through the power of His Word and following in the footsteps of Christ who is Lord. The convenience of “going back to business as usual” is not (in my opinion) an option for the church. Instead, we need to “walk by faith and not by sight!” Magnificently, God is not stumped by what needs to be done, but it will take courage, vision, boldness, creativity and determination to focus and follow in the direction that He leads.
May I also be so bold as to say to all of our NJ Congregations, it’s been hard on all of us, including our Pastors and called Church Workers. Make sure to insist that they take some time off, time away from the pressures of ministry and to spend some quality time with their families. Don’t take “no” for an answer.
Pastor R. Izzard
For the Wellness Coalition