Dear Cobham Park Church Family,
Most of my yard is slowing down. I haven’t seen any flowers for weeks—including the climbing rose bush on my trellis. But yesterday, Tammy and I were surprised to spy a solitary pink rose blooming within a tangle of bare, thorny stems! If that rose could talk, I imagine that it might tell me, “I’m the only bloom left! What difference could I possibly make in this chilly, dying world?”
Does that sentiment seem familiar to you? Christians often feel isolated and out of place in today’s world. The seasons have changed and faith now gets a chilly reception. We find ourselves looking at the thorny evil around us (and in us) and wonder what difference we could possibly make. Should we even keep trying?
Thousands of years ago, the prophet Elijah felt like the last rose before winter—the only believer left in a spiritually cold country:
…I have worked very hard for the Lord God of the heavens; but the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you and torn down your altars and killed your prophets, and only I am left; and now they are trying to kill me too (I Kings 19:10; The Living Bible).
Elijah had seen Israel abandon the LORD for a popular pagan storm-god named “Baal.” God, however, tells Elijah to go back and get busy following his call. Then the LORD makes an interesting comment: “And incidentally, there are 7,000 men in Israel who have never bowed to Baal nor kissed him (I Kings 19:18, The Living Bible)!” Elijah may have felt like he was the only one who hadn’t jumped on the Baal bandwagon, but present appearances and his personal feelings did not match reality. There were actually thousands of faithful believers who were known, treasured and protected by God. And Elijah’s faithfulness was far from useless!
Let’s take a lesson from my last rose. The world may be chilly and we may feel outnumbered, but God is still in control! Nothing we do goes unnoticed by Him. Jesus has already stood alone against the world’s evil and won—and we are His! And incidentally, there are millions of other Christians praying and working with you. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58, ESV).”
In His Love,