As many of you know, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order Monday morning telling Oregonians to stay home, stay safe. This Order prohibits group activities, reinforces social distancing in all things and directs employers to instruct most employees to work from home. The Governor’s Executive Order is attached to this message. It is important for all to know that NCU is in full operation with administration, faculty and staff engaged in their work via digital platforms. While campus buildings are locked, students are engaged with their faculty and classes on-line and working toward the successful completion of their coursework. In accordance with the governor’s order there is limited University staff working in the business office, information technology, admissions and student life who can be available to answer question via the phone or email. Additional information about limited library access will be sent to you later this week.
I realize this is a frustrating and difficult time – but it is also a time of opportunity to live up to our name as Beacons. These challenges may seem daunting and we may harbor anxiety or even fear. In light of these challenges we may feel somewhat inadequate or weak. But we also know that we find our strength in weakness. I have thought some about this seemingly counterintuitive notion over the past few days. The idea that true strength is not found in our own abilities, intellect, or power but in and through Christ and in his economy it works best in the areas where we are the weakest. The Apostle Paul learned this truth. He was persecuted and suffered a weakening complaint that led him rely on Christ more and more. He prayed for the “thorn” to be taken away AND was shown the truth that the grace of God is sufficient and the power of God made perfect in our weakness.
Paul learned this in his weakness, his frustration, his inconvenience, and even his fear. His words in 2 Corinthians chapter 12: “… he said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Perhaps the challenges that accompany the coronavirus are our “thorn”. Many of us might say we already had a thorn or two before the current crisis arose. But again, what an opportunity to be Beacons – those who come to know that in our weakness we find the perfection of the power of God in our lives; at our disposal to be light in this world.
Thank you for your prayers and patience. As we move forward, let’s be sure to include first responders, health care professionals, and government leaders whose judgement and actions are so important during these unsettling times.
Joseph Womack, Ed.D