For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1Timothy 1:7 KJV
Well, here we are, in the mix of a distressing time. At the moment I am writing this, our nation is inching toward a complete shutdown. Where will this end and what will we look like when it is over? No one knows for sure, but this one thing we do know. We will be changed through the process. Whether for good or bad is yet to be determined. Unchartered waters tend to land us on shores unknown.
So, I come to you today with the encouragement I think is appropriate for the circumstances we face. First of all, let’s be careful what we call hardship. There are people around the world, and have been for countless years, that face a daily struggle for food and shelter. Shortages of a few items are not a cause for panic. Secondly, the world has encountered these events before. Granted, travel exasperates a pandemic, but we will peak at some point and recover as a world. Some of the most comforting words in all the bible are, “and it came to pass.” It a transitional phrase to denote that what has been the norm for some time has now became the past. This virus will come the pass.
Next, we do not know what will come next, but we know God is in control. Nothing catches him off guard. He is not in heaven ringing his hands with dismay for the future and neither should we down here on earth. He has not given us the spirit of fear as Paul told young Timothy.
But I have saved the most important encouragement for last because it is what I want you to remember. It is the big story behind the scenes of. God is at work in our world to bring about his kingdom. With that there can be no doubt. In any good novel, there are fascinating characters and an intriguing plot. The twists of a story are what keeps us engaged. When an event occurs in the narrative that we never saw coming we ask ourselves questions. Where is the author going with this story and why did this happen? The only way to find out is to turn the next page. The really big question to ask in our present national crisis is not how much toilet paper I have in the cabinet. It is, what is God doing in our world and culture. Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” I believe God is using our present distress to cause us to take our eyes off is this world and put them where they belong. How many people will get saved due the uncertainty that grips our world? No one knows, but that is what he is doing. “What profit is there,” asked Jesus, “to gain the whole world and lose your own soul.”