Updated: Apr 4, 2020
I have been thinking over the last several days about this current crisis that we find ourselves in and Christians. There's a song that country artist, Kenny Chesney sings called, "Everybody wants to go to heaven".
Everybody wants to go to heaven
Have a mansion high above the clouds
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now
© Spirit Music Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Ole Media Management LP
I am amazed at how often Christian's will talk about the love of Christ and their hope in eternal life through Him yet become paranoid and panic with fear when it comes to the flu, coronavirus, or even the big "C", cancer. We will talk, sing, and even share how all of our hope is in Jesus but when the crisis starts, fear abounds. It is as if everything is up to us and Jesus is just our backup plan. When our own preventive measures fail, we go to plan B. We'll go to the Bible and finally lay down before the cross and surrender.
After being saved by the grace of God and being brought out of 14 years of homelessness, it causes me to examine myself when I succumb to fear. Do I really know the perfect love of God?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 ESV
I don’t want anyone to think that I’m attacking them or being legalistic, but I am concerned that if we approach this or any other crisis the same way that the regular community does, those who are not followers of Jesus Christ, why would they want our Jesus? What is the benefit of having our God? Because they can panic and be anxious during the crisis too, and they still have their Sunday’s off. We panic and become just as anxious and yet we'll go to church every Sunday. "In God we trust" is printed on our money but is our trust completely in God, no matter what?
So I have been looking at my life and I have been looking at scripture as well. In Habakkuk 3:4-6, it says,
His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels. He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways. Habakkuk 3:4-6 ESV
I am really drawn to verse 5 because it says that the pestilence went before Him and the plague followed behind Him. Now, if I have God in my life and I am facing a crisis bigger then I have ever encountered, where is the safest place for me to be? I have asked this question to a lot of Christians recently and usually their reply is that they are walking next to God or holding tightly to his hand.
That sounds like the right thing to say. In fact, that has been my position pretty much most of my walk with Christ. However, today I disagree with that because, based on Scripture, I must be IN God. I must be IN Christ because I am still going to get distracted by everything that is going on around me. If others are in a panic then I will usually join them in their panic without really knowing what exactly the panic is about.
I want us to become completely surrounded and absorbed in Him. When we do this, people will see a Jesus that is worth following. I still believe that we need to use common sense like basic hygiene and limiting physical contact when dealing with something contagious. Yet, if following Christ means denying myself and picking up my cross, maybe this is a cross for you and I to bear. If our neighbor is sick, let's bring food to them. Isn’t that what Jesus did?
He came down into this sick and wretched world, that we screwed up, and poured himself out for us for the glory of his Father. And if we as Christians say that we are followers of Jesus, we need to follow that example and be ready to get messy for the glory of God as well, even at the cost our lives if necessary.
While we focus on getting prepared and stocking up on canned foods and other essentials, we can easily forget how much God blesses us with daily. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus tells us to pray for our daily bread. In other words, I am to ask God today to provide me what I need for today. We can easily miss how God has blessed each of us beyond that, every time we open up our cupboard. In Ephesians 6, we are instructed to take up our shield of faith and forget that in Psalm 91, David writes that God's faithfulness is our shield and buckler.
Psalm 91 is an awesome Psalm and I want to encourage everyone to memorize all 16 verses. Because, when I memorized it, it really became personal to me. It opened up and Gods word came alive. This is what it says in the first 6 verses.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord , "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalms 91:1-6 ESV
Friends, if I continually dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty, in other words, if I am abiding in Christ, scripture says that I shouldn’t and wouldn’t fear terror, or attacks, or diseases, or calamities that are all around me.
Let us use this time to examine ourselves because we all can grow closer to God and bolder in our walk and witness for him. Ask God to do the change in your life so that you are overflowing with his grace so that those that come in contact with you are affected by the love that flows from him through you.
I love and pray for the church daily and I am asking you to please pray for the church and for me because we are family and the body of Christ and we need each other.
The Apostle Paul builds on that very concept in his letter to the Philippians. They had given to Paul's ministry with such generosity that he calls them his partners in the Gospel at beginning of the letter. And as Paul closes that letter, he encourages them of his confidence that God would supply every need of theirs (Phil 4:19). This often quoted verse seems to be quickly forgotten when each of us find ourselves in "need". So, do you really believe what the Bible says? Are you confident in the faithfulness of God to give you what He knows you need for the day? Do your unsaved, unchurched friends and neighbors see that you have a peace that passes ALL understanding and that your joy has nothing to do with your situation and circumstances? Or do they see you panicking just like them? Again, if you are reacting like they are reacting, why should they want your Jesus? Why would they trust in a God that you don't even have faith in during a moment of crisis. As I am writing this, the company that I work for is shutting down and I was let go. I'm scared yet excited to see God at work.
Let this song by David Crowder be our anthem in this and every crisis or challenge. Let us declare to the world with not just our lips, but also with our lives that all of our hope is indeed in Jesus.
All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God that yesterday's gone
All my sins are forgiven
And I've been washed by the blood
© Capitol Christian Music Group, Music Services, Inc