Many of us were moving into 2020 with great expectations of what the Lord was going to do in our churches. And let’s be a little honest, we planned events! It’s what we do every year heading into the fresh start of each and every year. We rolled out the exciting events to our congregations that were to come in 2020! Revivals, youth camps, big blowout community events, Easter dramas, concerts, missions trips, and so on.
We all got off to a great start in January. Meanwhile, we were hearing about this virus on the other side of the globe, Covid-19/Coronavirus. You, like me, never gave it one single thought. Maybe in the back of your mind you heard it and said to yourself, “it’s clear on the other side of the world, it will never make it here.” And as we began to move through January, we heard Covid-19/Coronavirus in the news more frequently. February, its gaining traction and still not hitting home with us. But March. Hmm, March. “It came in like a lamb,” and still not sure if it ever went out.
I remember, sitting in a staff meeting on Monday, March 9 th. Pastor Dixon asked if I would attend a community meeting that was being held at the Murphy Theatre in downtown Wilmington, Ohio. This meeting was put on by the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and was in regards to training local residents in spotting storms for NOAA. I’m about to become an official “Storm Spotter!” Oh the possibilities!! That’s not actually what Pastor Dixon had in mind for me. Some information was going to be covered in the first 20 minutes of this “storm spotting” training in regards to Covid-19. He thought it would be wise to see what this whole thing was about. My expectation of that community meeting was maybe some cleaning processes or maybe some things to consider throughout our facility. My expectations were low. It was that first 20 minutes of that meeting I heard for the very first time of a possible shutdown. Excuse me?! As the next few days of that week progressed, none of us didn’t know what to expect.
In 2 Kings 5, we find Naaman. Captain of the Syrian army and also a leper, is sent to Elisha to be healed of his leprosy. Naaman goes to Elisha’s house and is met by his servant who instructs Naaman to dip himself in the Jordan River. In verse 11 though, we find Naaman angry that Elisha did not meet him in person. Why was Naaman so angered? His expectations were high. Did he expect to be greeted in a manner of great importance? Did he expect some sort of grand welcome? Just as Naaman, I believe our expectations were very high for 2020. But notice in verse 13, the servant pointed out the great thing that Naaman expected and then turned his attention to just follow the instructions. “Wash and be clean.” God showed up big in a much simpler way! Many of our plans changed, but I believe our attention has been re-focused. We are reminded of the simplicity of His Gospel not our plans.
As we prepare for 2021, make big plans. Plan big events. But always keep in mind, it’s the simple instructions that God wants us to follow and He will show up big! What are you expecting?