Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

There aren’t a whole lot of ways to encourage people who are running a long race. As a former crosscountry runner, I know that the list of appropriate cheers is limited. “Way to go! Don’t stop! Looking good! Keep going!” That’s it. Really, though, these four cheers are enough.

So, here we are in May—when, hopefully, we can begin relaxing the social distancing restrictions that have been in effect since mid-March. Until that happens, we’ll keep grinding it out in this strange long-distance race, measured in days instead of miles, that has us going nowhere, yet feeling exhausted.

Because God is good all the time, however, we do have some things to cheer about as we move forward.

Way to go! Providence people have been amazingly flexible, resilient, and positive—adjusting on the fly to new ways of worshiping, giving, learning, connecting with one another, and caring for our community. These are not easy things to do, but I have witnessed a remarkable amount of grace and gratitude over the last two months.

Don’t stop! The Lord continues to work through Providence even though our campus is closed. Ministry committees have been meeting online to make decisions for our church. We’ve helped feed neighbors in Charlotte through our partners at QC Family Tree and Second Harvest Food Bank. Our deacons are keeping in touch with our seniors and Sunday school leaders are figuring out how to teach the Bible from a distance.

Looking good! Our online worship services have nearly doubled the number of people we’re reaching every week. Just about all of us have taken an economic hit as a result of the coronavirus, and yet we continue giving generously to support God’s work through our church. There is a great deal of prayer happening in midst, and I’m confident it will bear fruit.

Keep going! When the time comes to begin opening back up, things won’t immediately return to the way they were. Every institution is going to handle this “re-entry” process in its own way. At Providence, we will take a slow, safe, and sustainable approach to finding our new normal. This means that other churches might begin worshiping together in person before we do. Although I am eager to be back together with you all on Randolph Road, I’m also determined to come back in a way that is smart and responsible.

The last leg of any race is usually the hardest. Let’s finish this one strong. May the peace of Christ be with you!