From Pastor’s Desk

OUT OF CONTROL

Overheard in a restaurant last week: “The whole world is out of control!” These folks were speaking of the mass hysteria over the COVID-19 virus, and how ‘everyone is in a panic’ over its spread. Very few areas of our mobile society are immune from the effects of our attempt to contain the virus – to halt its movement from country to country.  As entire states shut down with instructions to ‘shelter in place’ the worries mount:

•        Will I get the virus and become a statistic?

•        Am I a carrier who will spread the virus to my loved ones?

•        How will I maintain my budget – or even pay my bills – if my office is ordered closed?

•        How will the economy recover from this shut-down?

•        What if my 401K and stock holdings are suddenly worth nothing?  How will we afford to live?

My friend, Jesus knew we would face dark, even terrifying days. He promised us that “in the world [we] will have tribulation. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The storms are predicted, but God says, I‘ll be with you throughout the tempest! The Psalms are full of David’s pleading for God to rescue and avenge the wrongs he is suffering. Check out these verses:

Psalm 18:

30 As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?

32 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.

Or how about the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Friend, the fact of the matter is: There is very little in this life we actually DO control. So let this be a time of renewed devotion to our Father God and spend this time with Him, asking Him to take complete control so that we can be a comfort and help to others.

•        Ask Him for an increased sensitivity to those who hurt or are afraid.  

•        Ask Him to help you stay silent long enough to really listen to what someone is saying – not their words, necessarily – but their heart-cry.

•        Ask Him for a spirit of compassion to replace any judgmental attitudes you might have. To you, the virus is simply a blip in the road, but to others, it’s a terrifying experience.  Be patient and understanding.

•        And finally, ask God which Scriptures you can give this person to challenge and encourage them to begin to make the apprehension disappear.

•        Finally, let’s remind folks of this verse fromII Timothy, chapter 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Be encouraged, dear one – nothing happening today, or any time in the future, has taken our God by surprise. He has called us to boldly face each day and be a testament to His eternal love and faithfulness. He will never give up his love and faithfulness to you! Never – ever!