Ringing the Bell

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So, how are you doing? Really? Lately, I’ve been struggling in the “good fight of faith” (2 Timothy 4:7–8). The lockdown, which initially was a rather novel experience, has morphed into a nuisance. A necessary nuisance, but a nuisance, nonetheless. In addition to the small nuisance of not being able to get a decent haircut (sorry Jill), and the need to wear a mask, is the nuisance of not being able to carry on normal ministry. That is far more than a nuisance; it is a burden. I, and my fellow elders, are concerned about the welfare of Brackenhurst Baptist Church. It is for this reason that we are trying to stay in touch with the congregation. It is for this reason we need the congregation to stay in touch with us. If you are struggling in the good fight of faith, then hear these words as a ringing of the bell. We are in your corner.

As a local church serious about ministry, corporate worship, and meaningful gathering and fellowship, this time of separation is growing all the more challenging. One of our members has died and we were unable as a congregation to gather to grieve together with the family, and with one another as family. And it is doubtful that things will return to “normal” anytime soon. Therefore the concern: How are we doing? How are the members of Brackenhurst Baptist Church doing? Really?

How are we doing emotionally? Are we growing frazzled the longer this goes? What about those living alone? Are the walls closing in? Is despondency a temptation?

How are we doing relationally? How are family members getting along with each other? Are the pre-lockdown relational cracks widening?

How are we doing financially? I pray, often in the middle of the night, for church members who may lose their jobs, and for those who are being punched in the financial gut with salary cuts, or no salary at all.

How are we doing spiritually? Has fearfulness overtaken faith? Is anxiety keeping us from the rest we have in Christ (Matthew 11:28–30)? Is cynicism gutting our joy? Have any of our members been ensnared by the vitriol on social media? Are there church members who are setting wicked things before their eyes (Psalm 101:3)? Is Jesus Christ becoming more precious to us or is our spiritual vision fading?

The elders really want to know. We want to help. When we phone and ask how you are doing, we want to know! If things are great, we want to know. But if you are struggling, in any area, we want to serve you well. Let us know!

We all face the temptation, the longer we are absent one from another, of getting used to it. We may grow comfortable holding our needs close to our chest. Brothers and sisters, let’s guard against this.

No doubt, God is doing many things in these days, and one of those is confronting us with our self-sufficiency. Like Rocky Balboa, we have a hard time asking for help. But this is not a movie. And you and I can only handle so many blows. So, as you fight the good fight of faith, remember that it’s okay to ask for help. This article is my attempt to “ring the bell” for those whose hands and knees are weakened (Hebrews 12:12–13). Let us help.

Maybe you are one who is fighting strong. That is wonderful! Consider then how you can practically help those who need you in their corner. Give them a ring; it may be the bell they need to hear.

In your corner,

Doug