Greetings, Visitors and New Beginnings Family! If you choose, pour yourself a cup of coffee, then pull up a chair for the latest edition of “Coffee with Gary” entitled “The Meditations of an Older Believer.”
As we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19 shut downs, I find myself thinking back over what I have lost. I recently heard that not enough people will be fully vaccinated for us to achieve herd immunity in the United States until late summer or early fall of 2021. Consequently, the current restrictions on social distancing and mask-wearing will probably continue for quite some time yet. This worries me because it sounds like I will lose another Wisconsin summer due to COVID-19.
There is no other place I’d rather spend summer than in Wisconsin. Summers in Wisconsin are generally characterized by lower humidity and comfortable temperatures. Summer is also the season that I spend the most time outdoors. Last year, because of COVID, I missed vacations, summer events, and other family gatherings that typically occur in the summer season. Thus, the prospect of losing another Wisconsin summer began to anger me. Having lived over 60 years, how many more summers do I have left? After all, I have more summers behind me than I have ahead of me, and I can’t afford to lose them!
As my meditations progressed, I thought about the youth who were juniors in high school last year. These young people are effectively being robbed of a rite of passage. Now, my high school experience wasn’t all that hot. However, everyone should have the opportunity to experience high school for themselves, the good and the bad. Suddenly, I felt less anger and more sorrow for those who have genuinely lost something of significance. Then I thought of high school in terms of a season in a kid’s life. This season comes and passes when they inevitably become young adults. This traditionally occurs at graduation. While I probably have several summers left in me, high school is a window that, once closed, can never be opened again.
This led me to ponder the days I have left, and I thought about a passage from the Word of God. In Acts 1:6-8, Jesus’s disciples asked Him if it was time for Jesus to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus answered them, saying, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power.” I reasoned that if it wasn’t for the disciples to know the season or time of Israel’s restoration, it’s not for me to know my seasons or times either. Psalm 90:12 instructs us to “number our days.” In other words, I need to make the best of the days I have left and leave the seasons and times up to God.
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with our church’s district superintendent. As the conversation progressed from church business to a more casual conversation, he mentioned a short-term mission trip to Thailand we attended together with other district pastors. As a layperson, I have always considered it an honor and privilege to join the other pastors on this trip. In our conversation, the district superintendent mentioned that if the COVID-19 pandemic had come when we intended to go to Thailand, the trip would have been canceled. Acknowledging that God is in control of the time and season of COVID-19, I realized that my meditations had just progressed from anger to sorrow to thankfulness. Thankful that God allowed me to go on a “once in a lifetime trip, once in my lifetime!”
Your fellow pilgrim, looking for a country of our own (Hebrews 11:13-16),