by Angie Bruce

A note from Pastor Joe Pullen: My wife and I have been blessed to be in relationship with Steven and Angie Bruce since their moving truck pulled into town when they arrived. We connected instantly, and it was their family that witnessed the Great Fire of 2019 at the Pullen house when our grill burst into flames. Oh, the memories. Before Coronavirus, our families would get together nearly every Sunday night to talk, play games, eat, and ummmm, well, watch The Walking Dead together. To say we miss hanging out with them would be an understatement.

Angie has been in ministry for 22 years, has completed Master’s work in Pastoral Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy, and makes a fantastic iced mocha when volunteering at the Fireside Café. I’m grateful for her willingness to share her thoughts about how God is ministering to her heart right now: 

Since we have been holed up in our homes, waiting for this virus storm to subside, this section of the song “Always” by Kristian Stanfill has been running through my head almost non-stop:

Troubles surround me, chaos abounding
My soul will rest in You
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way
Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always
I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord
I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord

As we watch the events unfolding around us, hear the daily changing recommendations, see the conflicting reports, the fear, the panic, and the chaos beginning to unfold in some of the bigger cities, it is easy to fixate on the horizontal perspectives of life. We wake up, we check the news, we check social media, we listen to medical and political briefs, and we make efforts to connect with our friends and family that we are currently separated from and missing. And while those things can be good, they can become all-consuming if we don’t take great care to keep our perspective where it needs to be.
At the beginning of Psalm 121, in verses 1 & 2, it says:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
PSALM 121:1-2

The repeated bridge of the song “Always” is lifted straight out of this scripture and is filled with so much comfort. I can, we can, make the choice each day to simply look up. It’s almost a gravitational pull to keep our gaze horizontal, to check in every day to see what everyone else around us is saying, from the experts to the keyboard warriors online. But are we lifting our eyes to check in every day with the only One who actually has any control over our current situation? What does He have to say about all of this?

In Isaiah 41:10, we read:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
ISAIAH 41:10

He is with us. He gives us strength. He upholds us. What do we as believers have to fear, when we have the creator of the universe by our side?
When we lift our gaze, He changes our perspective. When we see through different eyes, we will see God’s hand at work all around us, through people finding creative ways to love their neighbors, through connections with others sought after in new ways, and through the selfless acts of people we’ve never met who choose to serve in a time of danger, from grocery store stockers, to restaurant staff, to police officers and healthcare workers putting themselves directly in harm’s way. And we can rest in the comfort that God is still on His throne, He is giving us strength, He is guiding us, and He holds us in His hand. We just have to look up.

  • Becca Menning says:

    Thank you for this encouragement Angie! What a breath of fresh air. Fixing our gaze on Jesus is the only way to weather this storm ❤️

    • Tricia Miner says:

      So True !! He is still in control & on His throne . To Him be the glory. Thanks for sharing your encouragement with wonderful scripture of hope & No fear but faith!!

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