In times like this, when fear and uncertainty threaten to overwhelm us, it’s helpful to take a step back and ground ourselves in the truth of who we are and whose we are. The gospel message we celebrate at Easter is one of absolute, unconditional love. You are more deeply loved by God than you can possibly imagine, and it is out of this love that we find the courage to stand.
This truth remains even amidst a crisis. The early church, itself, was birthed in a time of crisis and grief, right on the heels of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension.
On the night of his arrest, Jesus gathered with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and acknowledged the fear and uncertainty they were likely experiencing. He said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world!”
We are all experiencing some amount of trouble this Easter season. Yet, during this time of crisis, my prayer is that we would heed Jesus’ words and take heart, for he has overcome the world! Though it might be tempting to fall back into fear in this time, my prayer is that you would lean in with courage. Lean in and ask, “God, what do you have for me in this season? What do you want to say in the middle of uncertainty? Who do you want me to be, and what are you calling me to do?”
It is with these questions in mind that our team has developed a four-week devotional titled: Love Remains. We invite you, starting on April 20th, to join us on as we study portions of Acts. We’ll discover how the early church blossomed in the wake of Christ’s ascension and how we are a part of that continued growth and restoration today.
As we each take time to sit in the presence of God, my hope is that the church would emerge as a people fully known and loved by God, now empowered to extend that same love, healing and courage to others. May you find that it is when we most want to look inward the Spirit seems to call us outward.
You’ll see this very sort of story reflected in this devotional series as the early church, in the midst of crisis, came together in love and moved forward in spirit-filled action. Couched in the knowledge that God would always be with them, the early believers found a way to move through fear and answer God’s compelling call — a call to love, a call to serve, a call to be a transformative light in the midst of a dark world.
It is our hope that as you experience his love in this season you, too, would find the courage to stand, and to be an irresistible witness for Jesus to all who are confused, scared and suffering during these times.
Scott Arbeiter retired from World Relief in 2021 as president after serving the organization in various roles for more than two decades and is a former pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.