Encouraging words from our Pastor, Michael Babcock!
In these times, we need to remember the important things, which are the eternal things. Pastor Babcock encouraged the flock at Calvin Orthodox Presbyterian Church recently with a devotional that we thought was just too good not to share! Here it is:
2020 has been a bizarre year. Before we could heal from the turbulence created by the impeachment of the President, COVID-19 became a new catchphrase in our vocabulary. Soon businesses were shut down, people were quarantined, projections of millions of deaths, hospitals being overwhelmed with corona patients, so schools and even churches closed their doors. Some churches still have not opened. Then came the controversies about shutting down society versus herd immunity. The flip-flop narratives of the viability of wearing masks wore us down in uncertainty. After reeling from that commotion, the nation began to suffer economic upheavals due to shutdowns and people losing jobs. Reports revealed pandemic numbers of people falling into deep depression with rising numbers of suicides due to isolation and the loss of hope. Those needing medical care couldn’t always get it due to COVID restrictions. For months our television and computer screens have been occupied by images of streets crowded with violent mobs supposedly protesting against “systemic racism.” That quickly dissolved into just angry mobsters who took opportunities to loot and destroy.
This year also chronicled record heat waves in the western United States with record droughts. We’ve felt it here in Phoenix. Fires raged in Oregon and California while hurricanes and tornados devastated the Gulf Coast. Then we were dismayed when we watched a perfectly good and qualified judge get raked over the goals as she was confirmed for SCOTUS. Just when the tunnel showed a little light, this election turned out to be a fiasco. How many are shocked and angered by Arizona turning blue? The legitimacy of many ballots in various states looms over us as lawsuits have been filed and recounts are being demanded. This is not going to end anytime soon.
We are seeing a cultural shift away from democracy and capitalism towards Marxism and “democratic socialism.” That is not a conspiracy theory, it is the vocalized political agenda of the BLM, Bernie Sanders, AOC, Kamala Harris, and others in the Democratic Party. This has been building up for decades and we shouldn’t be surprised by it; neither should we be dismayed. Alarmed, perhaps, but not discouraged. 2020 was bad. 2021 may be worse. That doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it? Well, it’s the honest reality, but it’s not the only reality. Hebrews 12:27-29 reminds us that God is “removing those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” God is the great Sovereign who is overseeing all these events, shaking creation, so that His kingdom of peace and joy might be displayed amidst the collapsing society and failing technology of man. We need not worry because “God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.”
When you come to church tomorrow, and you walk through those doors, you are coming into the halls of eternity. You are coming into the presence of the great King. We will be raised up to understand that all this trouble and strife of the current affairs will be long forgotten. Who will care who won the 2020 Presidential election 100 or 1000 years from now when we are living before the throne? Who will care about the controversies of masks versus no masks when we are worshiping God in perfect unity and harmony? Tomorrow, we will be given a foretaste of eternal joy and have our hope revived. Granted, that doesn’t minimize all the tribulations and upsets of the present day, after all, we are also citizens of this nation, too. But it does put it into perspective. God is on His eternal throne and He is directing everything that is happening today for His glory. That isn’t just a good cliché to hold on to, it is the absolute truth.
I don’t understand what’s going on and how it will all work out for our good, but they say hindsight has 20/20 vision. When the Vandals sacked Rome, people all over the Empire were filled with fear of doom and gloom. When Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Southern people trembled in dread over the collapse of Southern democracy and culture. Well, changes occurred, but God used these things to demonstrate the gospel’s power to give peace and security to all who trusted in its message. Likewise, we’ll know all about today’s trials in the sweet by and by and until then, we have God’s oath that we are citizens of a kingdom that cannot be shaken though the heavens and the earth itself reel and stagger as a drunken man and its people come to their wits’ end. Who knows what God will work in your hearts tomorrow in worship? But you can know He will certainly work eternity’s value into your heart because the God of peace, the God who cannot lie, said He “will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you” (Romans 16:20).