Until it happened, few of us could imagine the vast machinery of civilization being shut down. With streets and airports mostly empty and the future uncertain, we locked our doors and limited our exposure to others as an invisible foe caused us to face our own mortality. In the decades to come the question frequently asked will be, “Where were you when the pandemic hit?” and, “What did God teach you?“
I had just completed a series of spinal injections and physical therapy to relieve debilitating pain in my lower back and left leg. Our oldest grandson was home visiting, so we were vacationing for a week at a place rented months before as a family get-away. Three days into our seven day vacation we were told not to drive across the causeway to the mainland because we would not be allowed to return, When we returned home, all my medical appointments had been canceled we were told to stay home due to COVID-19 . . . the shutdown had begun.
- Every day is a gift from God-not a right.
- Humanly speaking, it is easy to give way to fear. But God is faithful to help us switch spiritual gears when we confess our fears in faith.
- The best way to replace fear with faith is to give thanks to God for His Sovereign Goodness.*
- While looking for wisdom in Scripture I found hope in the sufferings of Job:
“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
He does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
So that everyone He has made may know His work,
He stops all people from their labor.”
Quite frankly, I almost choked as the last seventeen words reminded me that God does what He will to draw us closer to Himself and is still in control!
The person who spoke those words was a young man named Elihu– the only one of Job’s friends to urge him to trust God in his suffering.
While reflecting on God’s possible purposes in the “storm” we find ourselves in today, I found the insight of commentator Mike Mason helpful:
“Is not the whole book of Job about men who have been stopped from their work? It is about an enormous work stoppage, an enormous inconvenience that has fallen out of the sky and forced five busy people to drop everything they were doing and to turn for a while to a more important task.” *
And that more important task?
To look at whatever we face with eyes of faith,
as we embrace each day as a gift from God.
The following passages provide further food for thought as we make our way through the pandemic::
“Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for He will freely pardon.
‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,’
declares the Lord.
‘As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.'”
As with the whole of Scripture, the Apostle Paul spoke truth in love in his opening remarks to the church in Rome:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven
against all the godlessness and wickedness of men
who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what may be known about God is plain to them,
because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities,
His eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship,
so that men are without excuse.”
Paul offered those living in uncertain times in his day these words of encouragement in Christ:
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom
through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit,
singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
God continues to encourage those who are in Christ through His Spirit and His Word. Know and trust that as you continue to give thanks for each new day, He will continue to carry you through any storm you face.
All to His Glory!
*Thanking Him for His love and mercy . . . that we are never alone . . . that His ultimate goal is blessing.
**Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt from the Life of One Who Lost Everything, January, 1994, p. 379.