February 2021: A Word from your DS

February 03 2021

In the book of Genesis, the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob, can be described as a life filled with hope, and also, confusion. From an early age, Joseph seemed destined for great things. Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, and he dreamed (literally) of a future where he would be the leader of his entire family (Genesis 37). And with youthful arrogance, he did not mind letting everyone around him know about his promising future. His boasting filled his half-brothers with jealousy and resentment. And when the opportunity came, they sold Joseph to Midianite slave traders, who in turn, sold him to an official in Egypt. 

For Joseph, this had to be traumatic and more than a little confusing. He probably asked, Why is this happening to me? How could my own brothers treat me this way? How does slavery in Egypt line up with the dreams God gave to me? It would take many years for Joseph to make peace with the past and to even begin to sense God’s greater plan. But this much is certain about Joseph: he never gave up on God. He never forgot his dreams, and he held on to hope even in the midst of the chaos and confusion. 

As we enter the eleventh month of The pandemic that won’t seem to go away, two words come to my mind to describe this journey we have all been on. They are the same two words from Joseph’s life: confusion and hope. Confusion abounds. Consider the varying and opposing opinions on masks, shutdowns and vaccines. Some government officials and even the medical professionals have demonstrated an amazing capacity to contradict themselves. The truth is, we have never been here before. Mistakes, missteps and the misspoken word should be expected (and you can quote me on that).

Yet in the confusion and chaos of a global pandemic, we can still have hope. Like Joseph in Genesis, you and I can have faith in the God whose mercies are new every morning and whose faithfulness is to all generations. We can believe in a God who works in ALL circumstances for our good. As Christians, we can be confident that Jesus is still building His church, even in the midst of quarantines and shutdowns. Nothing on earth can prevent us from worshipping and serving our Savior! We can be assured of the promise that whenever (and however) 2 or 3 are gathered in Jesus’ name, He will be there.

Bishop Bryan has continued to celebrate and encourage “adaptive behaviors” among South Georgia’s churches and pastors throughout this pandemic. The creativity, commitment and spiritual maturity among the churches of the Northwest District leaves me humbled and deeply grateful. This journey is not quite over, but we know so much more now than we did before. And as we move into a new future, a future none of us imagined, may we be able to agree with Joseph’s ultimate assessment of his circumstances: God meant it all for good.