for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
So, how are you? How is it with your soul? That’s the question that John Wesley said his preachers should ask when they visited from house to house. I confess, I rarely asked that question. My questions were always about how things were with the lives of my parishioners: how did they feel, how did they cope, how were they surviving. When I was in Scotland Neck, I became a member of the Rescue Squad and an EMT. I always said it saved my ministry. Before then, when I saw my folks and asked them how they were, I had a reference. I can’t tell you, through the years, how often I took blood pressures of my folks. They would even call me to come and check theirs. Now, we can buy machines that do that.
Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves today is “how is it with my soul?” In the pandemic, we’re concerned with how it is with our bodies and our health. We’re concerned if we have enough food or toilet paper or dog food (for our dogs, you know). We’re concerned with the cost of things, the availability of things, the opinions of others, what the truth of everything is, and who agrees with us. We’re concerned with when we’ll be back in church, when we can eat out, when we can get our hair cared for, and when folks can all go back to work.
I confess: I miss sports. I miss the games. We should be smack in the middle of the NBA playoffs, the first and important months of baseball, and the quest for the Stanley Cup. By now we should have a new Masters Champion and PGA Champion. I should be wearing a t-shirt that says that Duke won the 2020 NCAA championship. But all of that is quiet.
But really: how is it with our souls? Are we timid? Are we afraid? Are we sad? Or are we still trying to learn, still trying to improve, still trying to figure out ways to do the good things of life? I lost a fraternity brother to COVID-19 this week. He was younger than me, active in his church, one of those guys who overcame a lot to be where he was and what he was. I am truly sorry and truly concerned that so many still think that it’s not as dangerous out there as the experts say. Because of that, my soul might not be in a good place. But Paul told Timothy that Christ did not come to us to make us timid, but to have power and love and self control. That’s how it needs to be with our souls. There are enough uncertainties. Perhaps the certainty of Christ is what we need more than anything else.
Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.
That’s a good prayer. Amen.
Pastor Rick Moser