We are truly living very special times. In a minute and without announcement, our sovereign God has stopped our lives and our routines have been shaken. Suddenly and before our eyes, our idols have been revealed, our comfortable lives, control over our schedules, kids’ activities, performance, our jobs, our economy, and even our beloved church. Those activities that we love, serving and worshipping physically together have been 'suspended' for a season of time. This is clearly a time to stop. We may not want to, but God is definitely calling us to slow down and take time to connect with Him (Psalm 46:10). This is really a special time.
I am tempted to ask the question, so what is God doing? What is His message? But I am not God, so I won't try to answer those questions. Instead I want to encourage us to get our hearts and minds set on the things above, set our eyes in Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith (….let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1b-2)
Here are a few things that can help us fix our minds in Christ:
1. The Word of God and the Kingdom of God are not changing. The whole world is in chaos and panic, but our God is still sovereign. His plans of furtherance of the gospel have not changed. His Word is true and unchangeable. We can rely on His promises and stand firm on His truths. Let's make an effort to look for the character of God during this time. Spend more time than usual praying and studying His word. We may not have another opportunity like this one.
2. Time of preparation. When we are facing trials like this, it is often a time to grow and mature. This is a time where we are being equipped. We need to remember that right now many people don't know Christ and they are desperate. Once this time is over, their hearts may be ready to listen to the gospel. Let's make this time of preparation, start praying diligently for those whose hearts are being prepared to receive Christ. Start preparing ourselves to share the peace that surpasses all understanding to others. Let's make a decision today that we are going to live like mature believers, let's press on toward the goal of the heavenly calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). Prepare my brothers and sisters, because many are being open to receive Jesus and we need to be ready to speak out our Faith!!!
3. Have an eternal perspective. Remembering that our Savior is near and that He is coming back is a purifying hope that helps us to keep our eyes away from the circumstances and fixed on the eternal, on the day of the Lord, when our bodies will be glorified and we will see Him as He is, and we will be like Him (1 John 3:1-3). What a comforting reminder! I know that when that day comes, we will all say, “It was all worth it!” Read 1 Peter 1:3-7.
4. Prayer, Prayer, Prayer: Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us that we should be anxious about nothing, but in everything in prayer (a general prayer, worshiping God, His character, His covenant, His promises) and supplication (specific prayer, our hospitals, our doctors, our nurses, our leaders, our community, our families, etc) and thanksgiving (we are blessed with all spiritual blessings, our salvation, the forgiveness of our sins, our families, our church, etc) bring your request to God and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds. Oh how much we need to experience the peace of God! I encourage you to pray without ceasing during this time.
5. Rejoice because Christ is being proclaimed. Who would have ever thought that one day, thousands of churches will be streaming their services online, that devotionals will overflow our Facebook pages, that nation leaders will ask for prayers and that many will consider God as the sovereign God that He is. These are special times; the gospel is being preached to the four corners of the earth, and Christ is being proclaimed. Like Paul, in Phil 1:18, I rejoice in the fact that due to this unprecedented situation, the name of Jesus is being known.
These are only a few things to focus on. Replace fear and anxiety with peace and compassion for others. Let's remember why He has called us, predestined us, blessed us, redeemed us, forgiven us, so we can be His hands and feet, and bring the good news to others that are dead in their trespasses. Let's make this time an opportunity, to walk worthy of our calling, and be partners in the furtherance of the gospel. At the end of the day, our goal shouldn’t be to win over COVID19, but “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Phil 3:10-11
Stand firm, pray and pray, love others, and be ready, because the time is coming when many will bow their heads and confess that Christ is Lord.