Personal Thoughts and Encouragement as We Face Uncertain Times
Beloved High Pointe Family,
We have entered a season of uncertainty that, while previously unknown to us, is not unknown to our Lord and his church. In 1918-1919, the world faced a similar situation when the Spanish flu spread throughout the world and killed over 50 million people. As we must do today, the church was forced to respond to a global pandemic during the Spanish flu. There is nothing new under the sun. I am sure that some of you are concerned, some are worried, and some are afraid. How will we face this new pandemic as a church? Over the next days and weeks, the elders will continue to develop a pastoral care plan, but for now, I simply want to encourage you with a number of Scriptures that have encouraged me during these last few days.
- The Book of Ruth – How timely was our study of the book of Ruth?! In God’s kind providence, he allowed us to prepare spiritually and mentally for whatever could happen. Well, now it has. And now we remember how to respond. First, we remind ourselves that the Lord is sovereign, and he is sustaining all things, operating through all human actions, and governing EVERYTHING to his appointed ends for his glory, the good of his people, and our own joy. If we believed that to be true during our study, we must believe it to be true during this present global pandemic.
God is sovereign. He is not surprised by this virus. He will sustain us and hold us fast. That doesn’t mean we won’t get sick or even die. Still, he will give us all we need to endure faithfully until this is over or until we breathe no more or until Jesus returns. Re-read the book of Ruth. Re-listen to those four sermons (here). And stand fast in the Lord!
- Joshua 23:14 – As I finished reading the book of Joshua this morning, Joshua 23:14 stood out. At the end of his life, Joshua reminded Israel: “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” That is a glorious promise! Just as God had declared to Moses, so God fulfilled every promise to his people. Though we are not under the Mosaic covenant, we still worship the same God! “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ Jesus]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is this God who established us with you in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 1:20-21).
All the promises yet to be fulfilled are already YES! in Jesus. I know there is a lot of uncertainty right now. And I know some of you are afraid, but the God who has promised to be with us, is the God who is with us and for us in Jesus Christ. Cling to the hope we have in Christ and don't be afraid. All the hardships, sufferings, and uncertainties we face now are preparing us for heaven (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
- Luke 13:1-9 – One of my teenage daughters asked me this week, “Dad, is Jesus coming back?” I said, “Yes!” Of course, I know what she meant. Is this a sign of the end? The Bible reminds us that we have been in the last days since Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father. I couldn’t tell you if these are signs of the Last Day. I don’t know if Jesus is about to return. What I do know is that wars, disease (pestilence), famine are all signs of the Last Day, but these evils have been with us since Adam’s sin.
Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was asked if certain tragic events were God’s judgments – one, a human evil (Pilate mingling the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices) and the other a natural evil (a tower in Siloam falling on eighteen people). Jesus’ response was that those who suffered these tragedies were no worse sinners than anyone else. All have sinned and deserve God’s judgment. Therefore, Jesus said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). You see, wars, pestilence, famine – all evil – is meant to remind us of God’s righteous judgment and lead us to repentance.
What if the Coronavirus and the spread of Covid-19 (the disease from it) are God’s answer to our prayers for national, even global, revival? What if this will be a means by which God brings about repentance throughout the world? We don't know. What we do know is that God is in control and that this disease is a result of Adam’s sin which we have all inherited. Therefore, let us all live lives in keeping with repentance (Luke 13:6-9).
- Philippians 4:6-7 – Once again, I remind us that the Lord has prepared us for this pandemic. As we finished our study of Philippians we were charged to rejoice in all things and not be anxious about anything. I know it’s hard not to be anxious when there are so many unknowns, but if God is both sovereign and good, he will be faithful. So, rather than worry, or even panic, we are invited to make our requests known to him in prayer. When we do that, the result is peace – the peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace will guard our hearts and our thoughts.
As I read over these Scriptures and continue in my daily Bible reading, the Lord continually points me to his goodness and grace. He will hold us fast! He’s already prepared us for what we are about to face. Now, we must believe. We must believe him. We must believe his word. And we must also wait. We must wait on the Lord. And remember what we learned in our study of Ruth – waiting on the Lord is not inactivity. As we wait, we will pray. And as we wait, we will plan – strategically and wisely in faith – not presuming on the Lord’s grace, but seeking his will for his glory, the good of our brothers and sisters, the witness to our neighbors, and for our joy.
This pandemic will pass. The Lord has already prepared us for it through what we have been learning together. Now, let’s act in faith and love and be the church.
More in Straight to the Heart
March 31, 2020Beginning Family Worship
March 25, 2020Update on High Pointe’s Financial Status and A Few Questions from Your Elders
March 18, 2020Personal Thoughts and Encouragement as We Face Uncertain Times