Words of Hope from Elder Mark Erbelding

In Acts 16: 6-10, we read about how the Holy Spirit influenced one of Paul’s mission journeys in a very unique way. These very intriguing words say “they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”

I often wonder what this looked like – was it a set of circumstances that came together to change their plans (like missing a boat or becoming ill) – or was it a literal physical restraint? Could it even have been a pandemic? Regardless, the Lord changed their plans in a very obvious way and they had to adapt. As a result they went west and the church in Europe and what we call western civilization might well trace its roots back to this event.

We might say the same thing in these days – this virus pandemic has given us no choice but to change the way we do many things – including our ministry to others, the way we “do church” and interact. Some would say that things will never be the same again – even when the virus has run its course. Although our message of hope in Jesus Christ does not change, our methods for delivery may. Maybe we are being given a glimpse of what it was like for Paul, Silas, and Timothy through Luke’s account in Acts 16. How will this period in our history be remembered in 20, 50, or 100 years? What changes will take place? Will our lives go back to “normal”? What is “normal” anyway? One thing is for sure – God is still in control!