By Rachel Brown
There is a great variety of emotions surrounding the events of the past year. Nearly everyone would agree that the changes in our community and the world have challenged norms and disrupted our comfortable routines. That has certainly been true in the ministry where I serve, Cole Valley Christian School. The arrival of Covid, stay-at-home orders and area mandates have continually left me wondering how this ministry, my job and my children’s education would be impacted. Would the Lord provide teachers for my children and the many others at CVCS? Would enrollment decline due to health and financial concerns? Would the Lord provide for the needs of the ministry?
In my personal life, lives of my friends and church family life, I hear echoes of those same questions and more. As I have pondered what can be learned from last year and all the fears that arose, I see a theme. All of them can be summed up in one simple question: in what do I put my faith? I have personally been challenged and blessed to watch believers choose to respond in faith, trust and courage even in the grip of grief and hardship in 2020. Isn’t it true that our response to hardship, fear and upheaval is a good indicator of our walk with the Lord? To respond as Joseph and believe that even what is meant for evil God will use for good is not natural in our flesh (Gen. 50:20). Our response can be an enormously impactful testimony for the Lord to encourage other believers and illuminate for unbelievers the hope that is found in the Lord alone.
God often uses difficulty and disruptions to capture our attention and draw us into deeper relationship and conversation with Him, but sometimes we don’t pause. It is all too easy to live within our daily routines and grow less aware of our ever-present need to trust in the Lord. I was reminded of this last summer when one of my friends asked me to pray for her family. As a single income family with seven children, they are reliant on the husband’s employment for income. When my friend told me that her husband would likely be laid off due to the stay-at-home order, I responded that I would pray he would keep his job. She said, “There is no need to pray he will keep his job. Only pray that we will continue to rely on the Lord alone to provide.”
This response fueled by her dependent walk with the Lord and continually joyful countenance floored me (Matt. 6:31-21). In subsequent conversations, she talked about daily pause to listen to the Lord and meditate on His Word. The Lord did answer their prayer by allowing her husband to keep his job, one of only three people in the company they were able to retain. In addition, soon after, he was publicly honored because of his hard work and faithfulness over many years of service.
Another theme I have seen in my role in Admissions at CVCS is the challenges and changes to comfortable routines because of Covid. It caused many of us to pause, listen and recalibrate our lives to more closely align with God’s calling for us and our children. Disruption or loss of jobs, church life and children’s school were just the pause many people needed to draw near to the Lord and gain courage to make big changes He was calling them to.
Some families have heard the Lord calling them to move to another state, take a different job or look for a different kind of education for their children. While these changes can initially produce stress and the feeling of upheaval, when prompted by the Lord, obedience yields amazing fruit. There is a joy and peace that comes only from knowing you are precisely in the center of God’s will for your life (John 10:27-28). It has been amazing to hear about God’s children stepping out in faith in this way. It is a great testimony to others as it challenges the priorities accepted in our culture, especially taking time to pause and intentionally seek the Lord.
After over 20 years working in various businesses, I can’t imagine taking for granted the privilege of working in a place where prayer and reliance on the Lord is the norm. However, I have still been amazed at the staff at CVCS. Their dedication and faithfulness to their calling from the Lord has been more challenging than ever this past year. They are impacting over 1,000 kids each day with their mission to partner with families to help each student reach their individual potential. The commitment to stay on-mission despite constant changes and obstacles is a testimony for the Lord. This is just as true for each believer who stands in faith in whatever the calling God has on their lives and who continually puts their faith in the Lord alone.
What is the Lord calling us to? Is He calling us to continue faithfully walking the path we are currently on? Is He asking you to trust Him in a new way for employment, children’s education, or even the community where you live and serve? Is He calling you to give in a new, possibly sacrificial way? How can we know if we are not willing to pause and listen to the Lord?
One thing I hope to have firmly learned through this past year is that we cannot anticipate or control circumstances. We can prepare ourselves by relying daily on the Lord, not waiting for circumstances to dictate a pause to stop and listen, so that when we face the next unexpected circumstance we respond in faith and obedience.
Rachel Brown is Director of Admissions and Marketing at Cole Valley Christian Schools. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.