We have before us, depending upon our way of looking at things, a great opportunity or a horrible crisis. While the virus spreading across the globe demands to be recognized as a threat to life as we know it, this may not be – and doesn’t have to be – entirely as bad as it feels right now.
I am aware of the multitude of voices speaking to the current issue affecting us all, and I am also aware that many of these voices are competing for our attention with varying viewpoints about it. I don’t intend to add to that mix. I do, however, hope to lend a little bit of perspective on what we can do with the time we have in front of us. As I have prayed – and continue to pray – about what we’re facing, I have become more and more convinced that we should not waste the days we have ahead.
WE ARE NOT HELPLESS VICTIMS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE ARE ENCOUNTERING. WE ARE MORE THAN OVERCOMERS, ARMED WITH WEAPONS WHICH ARE WELL ABLE TO BRING EFFECTIVE CHANGE AND OVERTURN THE DARKNESS OF FEAR INTO A WINDOW OF HOPE!
Despite the many decisions that must be made, both individually and corporately within our families and communities, it is imperative that we pause and pray. We must remember that our trust is not in the systems which seem to be failing – or at least they shouldn’t be. I believe this is a great place to start redeeming the time we have been granted (I say granted because, while everything is shifting and governmental orders are being issued for people to stay home and avoid their usual routes, we must remember that our times are in God’s hands. [Psalm 31:15]). If there is fear in your heart over any lack of supply, now is a great time to repent and re-place your trust in Your Creator and Sustainer. And if you have not come to know God as more than your Creator, this is a wonderful opportunity to encounter Him as your Sustainer.
That being said, the current circumstances we are facing not only demand a temporary reconsideration of our priorities, but invite a deeper look at the things we are sowing our time and energy into. Instead of just surrendering to survival mode, and using this time to recuperate from a life that often feels like it has gone off the tracks with commitments and demands we can’t always manage well, this could truly be a time of renewing our focus and resetting our agendas.
We experienced a historical event on Sunday – gathering for worship – because of a governmental order – through an online modality. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as we have always thought this to be an as-needed-only method of connection and believed that gathering in person is always the best and most authentic option. I still believe this is true, but since we are commanded in Scripture to obey our governing authorities (where they do not instruct us to disobey God), we yielded to the directions given and moved to a virtual mode of worship.
As my family and I worshipped, prayed, and listened in together from home, I was flooded with great faith, and a few things became very clear to me. Among them was the realization that this time is one in which we will either grow and mature, or disengage and deconstruct. We have a choice, and God’s designs are always toward our maturity, which means there is grace for the growth we have the option to move toward.
This could be a time where people who are only superficially connected will find themselves lacking the outward “push” of the systems that have kept them going. But this could also be a time – and I believe it is – when the systems (including the religious ones) that we have relied on will move to second place – where they belong – and God will become the source of our security and motivation to grow.
We who bear the name of Jesus, Who are the children of God, are more than just children. We are heirs. We possess an inheritance in Christ that is rich and abundant, and effective especially in times like these. If we do not know this (not only theoretically but experientially), this is an awesome time to discover it!
We are not and were never meant to be mere spectators of the changing times. We are change agents in the world. What we carry has an impact that is not bound by time or space, or even quarantined confinements. Such regulations can actually work for, and not against us. Thank God for the progress which has been made in the technology industry, and for the options we have in communication today. If we do not lose heart, and open ourselves up to God’s goodness in the midst of tragic circumstances, we will break through and into new levels of faith and fruit. This is a time we should rejoice in, and take advantage of, in order to equip ourselves with Godly and informed wisdom, and to share the same.
What this means is that now is no time to sit on the couch and veg out, although such rest is appropriate in measure. For the church, for believers in Jesus, now is the time to take personal initiative in responding in agreement with God’s agenda in the earth. Now is the time to take our assigned positions and do what we have been called and created to do in this moment. Worshippers should be worshipping with greater passion and fervency. Intercessors/prayer warriors should be praying intensely. Teachers should be studying and preparing and praying for ways to instruct and teach the truth to those who are hungry to learn. Whatever your gift and calling, this is a time for greater employment, not vacation!
As we speak of and consider God’s agenda during this time, I realize there may be many arguments, even within religious circles, about what God’s role in all of this is. I will not take sides nor perpetuate any such arguments, because I believe that now is a time for us to be united, not divided in our faith and in our messages. But I will quote Scripture as our bottom line:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17
What God sends is for life, not death. His agenda, because of the cross, is always to save, heal and deliver anyone who calls upon Him. That being said, we can pray and speak to everyone we have access to, encouraging them to put their trust in God and pray for one another to stand firm and grow in maturity and full assurance of His love and faithfulness. Death and disease are not confirmations of God’s activity, but of the enemy’s. We should not settle with standing by and watching this happen. We should, instead, link our shields of faith together and appeal to Heaven and do whatever our part is in praying it down and seeking the release of Heaven’s resources to fight through it.
I don’t believe we should come out of this unchanged. But how we change is optional. We can be traumatized by losses and sudden curtailments of privileges and freedoms we are used to, or we can rejoice in and make the most of the liberty we have in Christ and the opportunity we have to really consider how we might use this time – and the time that follows – to walk purposefully and live in such a way that is worthy of the grace we have been given.
I urge you, Dear Woman of Breakthrough, to be still and get grounded deeply in the Word and presence of our great God. This is a great time to grow in our study of God’s Word, and in our virtual connection with each other – being purposeful in our communications to encourage and strengthen one another. It is a perfect opportunity to put down distractions, not pick up more, and make the most of the time we have been given, to not only see but be a part of God’s plans coming to pass.
Consider with God and your community of faith what your role might be during this amazing time, and how to make sure that your “time off” from business-as-usual can be filled with purpose and praise, instead of worry and waste.
Remember that God has promised to cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called by His name (Romans 8:28). During these uncertain times, our God is not uncertain, and so neither should we be. We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know the One Who holds all our tomorrows. And this is a perfect time to grow to know Him even more.
Don’t speculate about His nature or His actions. Open your Bibles and read about what God has done for us all by sending Jesus. Take time to sit with God and pray, and listen for Him to share His heart. Shut down the media outlets which are circulating fearful and dreadful messages, and choose to let your mind and heart be influenced by what is rooted only in truth. There is fear in the atmosphere, but you don’t have to agree with it. You can agree with God’s Word, and broadcast truth that will fill the atmosphere with faith that overcomes. Whatever facts are published, make sure they are considered and weighed through the lens of faith, dear one, and not fear.
May we live like we have an urgent mission, because we do. But may we move with wisdom that is rooted in our connection to Jesus, Who is wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24), and to those He has called us to be in connection and community with. May we remain accountable in what we speak and read and publish, so as to take in and put out only the truth, rooted and grounded in the love of God. May our goal be unity with the heart of God and one another, and submission to the leading of His Spirit in all things. And may we see come out of this a great and unexpected move of God in the nations! After all, God is longing for all of His children to come home to His heart.
If you’re feeling far from God and His goodness today, spend some time shutting down the news and leaning into His presence. If you’re feeling uncertain about the future, spend some time positioning your heart to live today in full and assured trust that if there is a tomorrow, God will grant the mercies and grace we will need for that when it comes. He is here with us and among us now, and wants to do amazing things in and through us in this hour of our lives.
May your homes and families be blessed with the rest that can only come from trusting Jesus. And may all you need be abundantly supplied through His grace and His people. Consider how you might be generous in these times. It will take all of us, considering one another, to see good things birthed from this.
Our God is faithful, and His plans will be established.
“Confidence and strength flood the hearts of the lovers of God who live in awe of Him.” Proverbs 14:26
Keep your eyes on Him Who has promised to never fail or forsake us.