by Wendy Berghane, Hearts Alive Curriculum Specialist
If we are all being honest, we have gone through periods of time when we wonder if God has forgotten about us both personally and in ministry. Plans don’t work, preparations go haywire, and prayers seem to go unanswered.
So many churches and ministries are seeing a slow return to regular attendance. Some families seem to have fallen away from the church routine. Volunteers may feel a bit anxious about returning to regularly scheduled programming with Covid still out there. And even pastors and staff seem to feel a bit rusty when it comes to re-engaging in active church life. The concerns and “problems” that filled our plates two years ago suddenly aren’t even a topic of interest at the staff meeting table. Instead, we are left wondering how to operate in the midst of these current circumstances.
Hearts Alive children’s curriculum kicked off this Fall with lessons on “Living in Wisdom.” God’s Word is filled with so many stories and instructions with how we are to move through tough times.
It is so easy to miss this truth in the middle of the battle or despair. We often miss the small moments when God makes himself known because we are so focused on our feelings of doubt or frustration. We overlook the basic goodness and faithfulness he pours out onto us each and every day. It is a pattern we all have fallen into.
The good news is that we can work to change that pattern! When I am feeling lost or forgotten, one of the things I do is simply start naming the good things in my life, in my ministry, and in the world around me, and then I thank God for each one of them. It can be as simple as, “Thank you Lord for the cloud cover that cooled us down today,” or “I enjoyed that conversation with my friend last night; thank you, God, for the people you have put in my life.” Once you begin setting your eyes on the good things God provides, it will get easier to see things that are often overlooked. You’ll start to see where God shows up, even if it’s not how you expected him to. And that will lead to the assurance and joy of knowing you aren’t in this alone.
And don’t discount the power of prayer and digging into God’s Word during times of difficulty as well. So often we find it easier to talk to God or keep up with our Bible reading when things are going well, when there aren’t waves in our ocean or challenges to face. But in reality, it’s during those times that we need to be talking to God and turning to his Word the most! James reminds us that, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16 ESV). Giving things over to God in prayer and reminding ourselves of his character will without a doubt help us better manage those tougher storms.
Take comfort in knowing that he is in the details of your life and your ministry and trust that he will direct not only your steps, but the steps of your church, volunteers, and members.
Times are hard. But hard times are nothing new. Our very faithful God will bring us through just as he always has done. He is in the middle of it all. And he is working. Look for what he provides. Raise a song of thanksgiving. And never stop talking to him and building that relationship. He will not disappoint.
We would love for you to download a sample of our Hearts Alive children's curriculum. You can download it here.
Hearts Alive Sunday School and Children's Church provide liturgical congregations a highly-anticipated children’s curriculum that combines captivating content, lectionary alignment, and Gospel focus for children ages 3-12. For those seeking to engage children in a fun, age-appropriate application to the Revised Common Lectionary, Hearts Alive is a three-year course of study to give children a strong overview of the story of salvation and how it ties to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Hearts Alive supports and elevates liturgical traditions and the church calendar while using clear, contemporary learning techniques to present the Word of God. Learn more in our online community.
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