I suppose the first and foremost thing occupying our minds these days is still the corona-virus. We are moving back inside the building as of Sunday, September 6th. Will it be permanent? Will the bishop postpone in-building services again? Who knows? This Covid-19/Coronavirus has, if nothing else, shown us its resiliency.
I seem to recall back in March when the “experts” said it would be gone by summer because it could not live in the heat. Guess what? They missed on that assumption. Here we are in September, and there are more cases than ever. We can safely say our wonderful medical professionals have, in some ways, learned how to treat it. But, at the same time, the number of people testing positive has increased exponentially. And deaths continue to occur. Thus, I don’t think anyone, including the “experts,” can predict for sure what the future holds.
But as the old hymn goes, “I don’t worry o’er the future, For I know what Jesus said, And today I’ll walk beside Him, For He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, But I know who holds tomorrow, And I know who holds my hand.”
In reality, isn’t this true in all aspects of our lives? We really don’t know what the future holds. Covid-19 is scary, for sure. But we cannot let it paralyze us with so much fear that we stop living our lives and totally isolate ourselves from everyone we love. I have heard of so many elderly folks, confined to assistance facilities, unable to visit with their loved ones, who have simply given up on living. Many have gone on to be with Jesus. How sad that these precious people could not be with their loved ones during their final hours.
I am reminded of the words the Apostle Paul who wrote to his spiritual son Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
So let’s live our lives, do the best we can, follow John Wesley’s “do no harm” advice to the best of our ability, mask up, glove up, whatever is necessary. But through it all remember that we know who holds our hand!
Thus, what have we learned with Covid-19? Don’t you wish that this virus would have been a blizzard? Let’s pretend we had 24 inches of snow. We might be stranded in our homes. We might be stuck eating our own food. I don’t mind that at all, but some do. Our backs may be sore from shoveling all this snow. We might miss a few days of work. All our activities may be cancelled. In the end, we camp out inside for a few days (unless you’re a farmer). Then, it’s over.
Listen to what Elihu tells Job about snow, “He (God) says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ So that all men he has made may know his work, he stops every man from his labor’” (Job 37:6-7). Why does God send the snow? He desires for all people to know His work.
How can God get people to know his work? Sometimes He stops our labor. Now I realize the virus and snow are two different things.
But why does God allow the virus? Ultimately, you must say it is God’s sovereignty. Yes, our free will may have been part of its creation and may be part of its spread, but God has allowed it. And, yes, sickness and death entered the world with our sin. How can God get people to know his work? Again sometimes, He stops our labor. While we are stopped, what should we learn? Who is in charge? We humans are not in charge, but God is. We don’t know how the virus began or how it will end.
Quite frankly, it almost sounds like a plague from the Old Testament. God allows these events to occur to remind us of who we are not; we are not God. Dr. Os Guinness recently stated that “the loss of control is at the heart of the fear caused by the pandemic. We have no control, though Westerners are control freaks.”
What is our view of death? Do we recognize our own mortality? We will all die. Do we know what happens after death? Do we know the source of eternal life? What occupies our soul? It is when we have “free” time that we learn what we love. That is the focus of our soul. What we fill our time with shows what we value. Think about this: Who or what is on the throne of your heart?” Are we learning humility the hard way?
As I was exploring a quote from Pres. Bush during 9/11 last week, I found these words of his in the Guardian, “There is no textbook on how to steady a nation rattled by a faceless enemy.” Now we all know he is referring to the terrorist attack that just occurred and not the face-less enemy of a virus. Unfortunately, this virus has become so very politicized. Rather than joining a side, why don’t we pray for wisdom and guidance and humility before God for our leaders. What is the church? If you haven’t noticed, the church is not a building. We haven’t met inside the building since March and the church continues. We have met in the yard. We worshiped by Facebook Live. We have made and received calls, emails, and even cards or letters by snail mail. I’ve even got to see a few people, can you believe it, in person!
You see, the church is people united in Jesus Christ. Are our hearts hurting for the broken? People are grieving. People have lost loved ones. Some have lost their health. Some have lost jobs and incomes. Some have even lost businesses right here in Crossville.
Much loss leads to much grief. Today, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts and our eyes and our ears open to ways we can serve. This can be a great Spiritual Exercise. Dr. Os stated in a recent webinar that he prays these words almost daily, “Lord, teach us to count our days so we can make our days count.” And, so should we!