We are living in an unprecedented day. Mostly confined to our homes, we leave them only briefly to purchase food and other necessities.
We miss personally visiting with families, loved ones, and neighbors. We long to return to our churches to worship and fellowship with others. Schools and universities are closed, so children, teens, and young adults are at home with parents, some of whom continue to work via telecommuting.
With businesses having to shutter or reduce staff, many have suffered job loss. Unemployment is at record highs. Churches, being unable to collectively gather, have also been hurt financially.
Limited items at groceries, long lines at food banks, shortages of medical supplies at hospitals, and a general atmosphere of uneasiness and outright fear have gripped many.
Front line personnel—doctors, nurses, paramedics, police, firefighters, chaplains, and others—risk infection to comfort those who have fallen to the pandemic.
Worst of all, as I write this, in the U.S. there are more than 600,000 reported cases of COVID-19, and nearly 25,000 persons who have perished from this illness.
Isolation, social distancing, and other measures have helped to limit the spread of the virus, but there is still apprehension about when things will return to normal.
So many negative factors have a tendency to overwhelm us with a sense of loss, fear, and darkness. But we are reminded by the recent celebration of Easter—one few of us will forget because it occurred under such unusual circumstances—that even when things seem to be at their worst, there is hope and light ahead for those who are followers of Jesus.
It won’t be long before businesses reopen, schools return to session, toilet paper is available in abundance, and we are again with those we love, work, and worship with—and we will look back on 2020 as if it were a bad dream. Yes, COVID-19, like so many other grave experiences we face throughout life, will be a thing of the past.
Our prayer for you and yours is that you will find peace and hope in the message of the resurrection, now and in the days to come, knowing with bedrock certainty that God is with us—even when all around us seems to be upside down—and He will never leave or forsake us. We can take confidence in the words of the Apostle Paul:
"Neither death... nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else
in all creation, will be able to separate us from the
love of God" (Rom. 8:38-39).
Although we are currently serving from our respective homes, the 16 employees of Pensions and Benefits USA and I are here to assist you with matters related to ministerial retirement, life insurance, taxes, compensation, benevolence, and other financial concerns. If you need assistance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-888-4656.
May God bless and keep you in His peace!
Kevin P. Gilmore
Director – Pensions and Benefits USA
Church of the Nazarene