What a weird semester. I don’t know how else to describe it.
I rang in 2020 quarantined from the mission team I was serving with in New York City with the flu, and now, just four months later due to COVID -19, I’m quarantined from you guys – the team I serve with at Alabama and Shelton. In between these two events, there were so many things – from incredibly encouraging to heartbreaking – happening at the crazy speed we often find spring semester to be like on our campuses.
When we met for prayer together before the start of spring break, our conversation was exactly what you would predict. Feelings of fear, doubt, uncertainty, grief, and concern as questions were raised about the coronavirus, personal travel plans, future internships and placements, classes, ministry plans, graduation… the list went on. But as we stopped to pray, I read Psalm 46 to the group.
I find great comfort in Psalm 46, because when the world is chaotic around us, we’re called to be still and know that He is God.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Be still. That is hard for some of us to do. But we are currently forced to develop that practice and discipline as we have been stripped of our normal, day-to-day routines. If you are not struggling in any other way right now, you’re probably struggling with this one!
Know that He is God. This has been something I have been meditating on since January 1, and in recent days, I’ve been reminded:
He wants us to fully know him. He wants us to know that we are fully known by him. (Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14, 1 Corinthians 8:3, Psalm 129:1)
God is still the same God. His steadfast love for us remains. None of this has taken him by surprise. (Hebrews 13:8, Psalm 26:3, Psalm 139:4, Isaiah 40:28)
God promises that everything is used for His glory and purposes and our good. (Romans 8:28, Romans 11:36)
We are to love him, follow him, and grow in him. As we do, he deals with our sin. (2 Peter 1:5-9, 2 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 6:1, Romans 6:23, 1 John 1:9)
We are to love others. (Matthew 22:37-39, John 13:34, Ephesians 4:2)
Even though our circumstances (and our location) may have changed for the semester, I want to encourage us all to stay the course.
Our mission hasn’t changed even though our circumstances and locations have. We are still going to love God, love each other, love campus and beyond.
Technology affords us the opportunity to be present where we are, but also to stay connected with each other from campus.
The sudden shift in our semester might take some time to navigate. Give yourself and those around you grace and patience as you figure it out.
So what’s next for us?
This past week, the BCM Leadership Team met to catch up, pray, and shift some things online. While the BCM building is closed, we have not stopped. There are great things coming to finish out the spring semester.
Journey Groups begin online this week. (Check with your JG Leaders for the Zoom info and potential time change.)
Wednesday Lunch will happen from your homes. This Wednesday, grab your lunch and hang out with us from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Zoom. (Meeting info will be posted on Wednesday morning).
Discovery Team is providing ways to help us develop and strengthen our personal worship times, as well as planning a Senior Discovery on Zoom on 4/14. (Seniors, check the Senior GroupMe for details.)
Our Prayer/Evangelism Team has prepared weekly prayer emphasis. Watch our social media platforms for ways to pray and respond in action.
Reading Groups will take place in late April. (Date to be determined soon. Check www.uabcm.com/spring-2020 for more info.)
There will also be online group games, a March Madness restaurant bracket, and more fun things coming.
Here in Tuscaloosa, we’ve been in touch with administration at UA and Shelton offering to help assist them and any students in need during this time. (We’ve been able to help two students so far.) We were able to donate masks we had in storage from past disaster relief trips to a local surgical center. We’ve been prayer walking campus and our neighborhoods as we exercise healthy social distance.
And we are getting ready to welcome the class of 2024.
We’ll be making announcements on these platforms. Be sure to follow and sign up to stay in the know!
Follow us on social media: @uabcm
Check out the website: www.uabcm.com/spring-2020.
Sign up to receive texts: Text @uabcm to 81010.
I hope you’ll continue the journey with us! I have been extremely encouraged as I have reflected on this past year. And I am super excited to see how God will use our new circumstances for His glory and purposes and our good. Please know that you are prayed for and the staff is available to meet with you! Reach out and set something up.
In this with you,