Hello! If you are a regular follower of this bible study, you were no doubt expecting a lesson on the second half of Matthew chapter 12. However, in light of the upheaval we are currently experiencing, I wanted to take this opportunity to give us all something to think about. We will get back to Matthew next week.
Unless you are living off the grid right now, you have no doubt heard about the Coronavirus, aka, Covid 19. This strain of the flu is quickly spreading around the world; it has the potential to cause death in the elderly, the young, and people with other serious health concerns.
Since there is currently no cure, the best recourse is to avoid getting the virus in the first place! The best way to do that is to avoid contact with other people.
To that end, we are seeing the cancellation of college classes as well as some public school systems.
Sporting events, entertainment venues, restaurants and even churches have temporarily closed their doors. Nursing homes are on lock down. Traveling has been curtailed or banned altogether in some places. All these cancellations have resulted in a disruption of the economy.
All of this is happening before our very eyes – literally. We live in an age where information, pictures and opinions are thrust in front of our faces within seconds of an incident occurring. The pandemic and its ripple effects are being broadcast minute by minute. The sheer volume of information is overwhelming and much of what is being reported is bad news.
But before you become dismayed, remember this: most of this information is coming from the world, and thus has the world’s perspective on it. As a Christian, you have a different perspective. Everything that happens in this world and everything that happens to you must be filtered through God’s promises.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
Dismay is defined as ‘to disable with alarm or apprehensions; to terrify’. The world is indeed terrified and alarmed. It should worry about the virus, because mankind has no cure. Not so for the Christian. While we can and should be prudent in our actions, we rest in the promise of God that he can either keep us safe from the pandemic, or heal us:
Psalm 91:1, 5-6 – He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty… You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday.
Exodus 15:26 – …for I am the Lord your healer.
The world says there will not be enough supplies for a quarantine period, so you should rush out to the grocery store to get food and toilet paper. Have you been to the grocery store recently? The shelves are quite bare! Again, while the Christian should be prudent in what they do, they should not worry, for God provides what we cannot provide for ourselves:
Matthew 6:31-32 – Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, How shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
The world fears what will happen in the unknown future. They worry about the economy crashing and the loss of jobs and how they are going to make ends meet. But as Christians, we have the assurance that God has a plan for us:
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
What does all this mean? Does it imply that you will not get sick or not run out of bread and toilet paper or that you will not suffer any financial loss?
It means that whatever happens to you, God will walk through it with you. It means that your circumstances were approved and allowed by your heavenly Father!
Isaiah 41:13 – For I the LORD your God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, Fear not; I will help you.
God’s number one priority is not for you to be comfortable during your temporary stay here on planet earth. His priority is to ensure your eternal good; to make you into his image and likeness; to prepare you to rule and reign with Him for eternity!
Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Here is a truth you need to understand:
God may completely protect you from anything associated with this virus, or He may allow it to touch you in some way.
- He may use this virus to create circumstances that will mold you into his image, or draw you closer to him.
- He may use this virus to create opportunities for you to minister his love to others (the bible says that the world will know us by our love for one another).
- Perhaps God will use the circumstances of this pandemic to grant you a chance to lift up his name, so that others will come to salvation in Jesus Christ.
- It is even possible that God will use this illness as the vehicle that transfers you from earth to your heavenly reward.
No matter what happens, you should take comfort in knowing that God is in control of all your circumstances. Consider the words of King David:
Psalms 139:16 – Your [God’s] eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
In other words, God knew the exact number of your days on earth, before you even existed in your mother’s womb. Therefore, He knew you would be alive during the Covid 19 pandemic. Clearly, he has had lots of time to prepare! So know this: whatever you experience during this pandemic, God is going to use it for your eternal good!
At this point, I hope we have established that we do not need to be afraid, because God is in control. We can control fear and operate in faith by focusing our minds on God.
Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
As you well know, you can focus your mind on God by praise, worship, reading the word, prayer and the encouragement of others. You know what to do – so just do it!
Now… let’s get to the part I want us to consider. Jesus says that we, the church, are the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14 – You are the light of the world.
We are priests of the Most High God, called to display the love of God to a lost world. Therefore, it is time for us to change our perspective. It’s time for us to move from a place of fear to a place of faith. It is time for us to take our focus off of ourselves, and place it on kingdom business. Instead of reacting to what we see and hear through the media, it’s time to become proactive in searching for ways to display the light of Christ to the world around us.
So, here is the real question facing the church:
How can we use the current situation to be a light for Christ?
I will share a few ideas with you, but obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. God may whisper new ideas into your ear. If so, please share them with the rest of us!
One: Share your supplies. The world is hoarding certain commodities. Let’s be different. Is there someone on your street or in your family that needs a loaf of bread? Share the bread and gain an opportunity to witness for Christ. Remember, Jesus not only preached the gospel, he fed and healed people.
Two: Offer a service. Can you cut hair? All the salons have been closed; if you can give a haircut to someone, you can gain an opportunity to share the gospel. What service can you offer?
Three: Be positive. When those around you are speaking in fear, speak of the peace you have in Jesus. No amount of money can buy peace. You can introduce people to Jesus who will give it to them for free!
Four: Exhibit grace in the midst of adversity. As we already pointed out, God may allow this pandemic to touch our lives, but we can meet that challenge in a way that lifts Jesus up and honors his name. When we do so, it draws people to him.
Five: Stop the griping and complaining. Rejoice in the Lord always! Real joy does not come from circumstances but from Christ living in you. Start acting like it!
So let me give you some encouragement: Regardless of what happens to you during this pandemic, you are firmly in the hand of God. Instead of trying to avoid adversity, turn to the word and prayer to find out what God may be accomplishing in your spiritual life. Let him show you how to react in a way that will bring him glory.
Let me give you some relief: How often have we wished for a chance to get out of the ‘rat race’ so we could slow our lives down? How often have we lamented that we don’t have more time to become closer to the Lord? Well, here is your chance! Right now, normal activities are temporarily suspended. Why not use that time to get closer to the Lord?
Let me give you some strength: This pandemic did not catch God off guard. He not only knew it would happen, he knew you would be involved in it. Let’s use it for good! Let’s use it to strengthen our relationship with Him. Let’s use it to reach others for the gospel!
If this post has been a strength to you, please share it with someone else! Post it to your Facebook page for others to see and be encouraged. Write in and share your experiences with us as we navigate this crisis for Christ!