Many of the clients we represent at Alliance Defending Freedom know what it is like to face threats to their small businesses.
After all, they’ve walked through lawsuits that last for years. They’ve grappled with the fact that the stand they are taking could mean their financial ruin. And they’ve weathered hate mail and even death threats with grace.
In some ways, these trials have prepared them for the uncertainty and hardships that have come along with the COVID-19 outbreak. In other ways, it’s entirely new territory.
Blaine Adamson, owner of print shop Hands On Originals, has had to substantially scale down his business to comply with government measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Normally during this time of year, Hands On Originals is in the midst of its busiest season, printing t-shirts and other materials for summer camps. But those camps will remain closed this year.
“We had ordered all of our stock for the busy season. The payments are coming due, but we are not shipping out,” Blaine explained. “Our company was extremely strong. Suddenly we are faced with the reality that we have to make it until next March [when business normally picks up].”
Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has had to cut the shop’s hours in half and send his part-time employees home, paying them with vacation time. While he would normally have around 70 customers on any given Saturday, the pace has slowed to about 20.
Carl and Angel Larsen, who own Telescope Media Group, have been self-quarantining with their family since the beginning of March. The Larsens typically film and produce many live events, but the COVID-19 outbreak has caused several cancellations. While that has been disappointing, they are grateful that there has still been a demand for their filmmaking talents with the uptick in livestream events.
Despite these challenges, these small business owners take comfort in knowing that God is in control. And they’ve been dwelling on Scripture—unchanging truth in what seems like an ever-changing situation.
Here are a few verses these clients shared with us that have been encouraging them during this uncertain time.
1. Ecclesiastes 7:14 – “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other...”
Blaine shared that he finds peace in the fact that God can see the bigger picture and can bring good out of even the most challenging circumstances. He’s seen this firsthand. God brought him through a seven-year lawsuit that threatened his business—his life’s work—simply because he declined to print a t-shirt expressing a message against his beliefs. Walking through that gave him and his family the ability to set their minds on what is right and true—the goodness of God—even in the midst of a trial.
2. John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
When a woman came into Masterpiece Cakeshop recently, Jack was able to encourage her with this verse. During this pandemic, Jack continues to fight in court for his right not to be forced to express messages or celebrate events that violate his faith. Despite all of this, he knows that for those who trust in God, our treasure is not here on earth. We can find joy in the fact that Christ died for our sins so that we “may have life and have it abundantly.”
3. 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 – “We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”
The Larsens love welcoming a diverse group of people into their home to share a meal around their 12-foot dining room table. So the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly tough for their family. They’ve done what they can to connect with others. They’ve had virtual spaghetti dinners. They also created a family hymnal and have family worship time. Through all of this, they’ve been focusing on this verse in 2 Corinthians. In a time and situation that threatens sorrow and financial hardship, they are dwelling on the promise that in Christ, we have everything. And that is a reason to rejoice.
We pray these verses will bring some encouragement to you during this time of uncertainty. And we give thanks that we serve a God who is in control even when the situation seems uncontrollable.
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