Empty Churches

As we approach Easter Sunday, my faith celebrates, but I am sad. I’m not sad because Christ left something undone. I’m sad because I will not be able to celebrate His resurrection with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I wish my faith was strong enough to squash my sense of loss at not being able to worship with other believers at church this weekend. Because of this, I am sad.

I took this to the Lord. As I grieved this loss before Him, this verse came to my mind:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…(Psalm 46:1-2a)

Do you know what struck me as I recalled the verse? I wasn’t feeling fear; I was feeling sadness. At least that is what I thought. But as I let the verse roll through my mind, I began to second guess my own feelings. Was I sad or afraid?…Or both?

The word “refuge” means shelter. In this verse, it is a shelter made of rock. A place where one could insulate themselves from harmful weather or find safety from an enemy. The word describes God as a dependable, safe place to find shelter when everything around you seems to be falling apart.

When I can’t go to church on Easter Sunday and worship with others, my world is falling apart. That makes me sad; but as I think about it, it also makes me afraid. I’m afraid because the world has changed in such a short period of time. What I thought would never happen has happened. It’s not because of terrorists, legal action, or the fall of democracy. It is because of a virus. That stokes fear in me and you.

The word “trouble” paints the image of people squeezed into tight places, pushed into a corner, unable to get out. It kind of sounds like Stay-at-Home orders. It refers to being confined because it is not wise to move around. It is not sheltering because one wants too. It is sheltering because one has too. It is the trouble that comes from being in danger. Eerily, that describes what is happening this weekend. Hence, we are not worshipping together on Easter.

I am taking my sadness and fear to the Lord. He is my refuge. He is my dependable, safe shelter. He will take my sadness and turn it into joy. He will snuff out my fear and replace it with His presence. I will not be afraid.

God has promised to be your refuge to. Go to Him. He is available.

Here is a song I’ve been enjoying. I hope it encourages you.


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