By Douglas Carver
Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ!
I pray that the Lord continues to bless you and your family during this coronavirus pandemic with good health, a grateful heart, fruitful ministry and peace that passes all understanding in these challenging days.
We’re so thankful that you have answered the call to chaplaincy ministry “for such a time as this.” You have done so many incredible things to send the hope of the gospel into hard, difficult and often forgotten places where people so desperately need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
In recent months we have faced life-changing events that have forever altered how we live life and serve in ministry. As a result of governmental orders temporarily restricting religious gatherings in efforts to prevent spreading the coronavirus, many of us are still gathering for online worship services. Additionally, chaplains in various contexts are providing ministry of presence through virtual means.
Concurrently, due to the increased discussion in our churches and communities regarding race and reconciliation, our nation is struggling mightily in a search for healing and common understanding.
All of these cataclysmic events have hurled our world into mass anxiety, tempting many people to believe the human race has never experienced anything so devastating and powerful as what we are facing today. I’m reminded of the old hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory.” The hymn is a petition— a desperate prayer for Almighty God to bestow wisdom, power and peace upon His church — “for the facing of this hour.” It was written in 1930, a time when the United States was being drained of life and hope from the 1918 pandemic flu that killed over 50 million people, not to mention World War I which produced over 40 million military and civilian casualties and the Great Depression that decimated the world’s global economy.
The hymn, based on Deuteronomy 31:6, focuses on one simple prayer request throughout the song, “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour.” That’s our constant prayer for you today and in the challenging times ahead of us. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread…for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV)
Chaplain (Major General) Doug Carver, U.S. Army-Retired, is the Executive Director of Chaplaincy for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.
Published June 16, 2020