It is difficult to put into words what everyone is probably feeling right now. Our way of life has been turned upside down by this pandemic. No one is exempt. While disorder is becoming the norm, I have been so inspired by the actions of so many to offer encouragement. Leaders in the Christian community have been quick to respond with uplifting messages and free resources. Churches and schools are scrambling to provide groceries and meals to those in need. And educators—WOW! So many are working overtime to provide on-going learning support for their students and families.
What is God up to?
The answer to that question depends on who you ask, listen to, or follow on social media.
· Tony Evans stresses that God is talking. One way God speaks to us is by allowing circumstances in our lives that are unpleasant. These times are a wake-up call and an opportunity for us to heed His voice.
· Max Lucado reminds us God is still in control. God has walked his people through many storms, and this chaos is another opportunity for God to show up. God is calling us to turn to Him.
· Christine Caine calls to mind Scripture. Remember, the world will always be changing—but God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
· Anne Graham challenges us to look up from our knees, repent, and pray for God’s spirit of peace.
I am so grateful to God for all of these faith leaders (and many more). I find their insights and messages to be a strong source of encouragement during such a time of uncertainty.
For me, uncertainty is a bit unnerving. People all around us (including me) are uncertain about their jobs, their finances, and even their health. We all want to be in control. Times like these make it quite evident that we are not in control. As I was talking to God this week, I felt he was saying, “This is personal. I have something to teach you through this crisis.” I wonder if this might be true for you as well.
While we can (and should) pray for this pandemic and all of the fallout surrounding it, I believe it would be wise to consider what it means for us personally. Our God is personal. He cares about each of us individually. He wants to meet us right where we are. He always has. This is why he sent Jesus. God desires that we be in relationship with Him (Romans 5:8).
There is always a purpose and a plan for our lives, and we can rest assured His plan is always best. How do I know? God’s Word tells us so!
· For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
· The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
· Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
· For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
· Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13
Instead of only looking at this current situation as a global issue, let’s get personal. I don’t know what God wants to teach you through this season, but He has something for each of us to learn. Spend time in prayer and meditate on God’s Word. Through this time discernment will come. God’s lessons for our lives will be different for each of us. This is personal.
My lessons are still coming into focus, but here are a few things I am learning right now.
· TRUST. I am learning to take one day at a time, trusting God to provide what I need each day. I’m trying not to obsess about the long term.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
· FOCUS. I am learning to shift my mindset when I start to worry.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
· PRAYER. I am learning to be more specific when I pray. I can be honest with my Heavenly Father. He loves me, and He is answering my prayers!
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
· THANKFULNESS. I am learning to focus on what I DO have, not what has been lost. Since my traveling has stopped, I have been spending a lot more time with my husband. God has reminded me how blessed I am. I have much to be thankful for.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:18
I am finding that many of God’s lessons require acts of obedience. Many of us during this pandemic have more free time on our hands than ever before. Instead of being busy, we have time to respond to what God is calling us to do. As you discern your own lessons, consider how you can faithfully serve Him. Maybe some of the actions listed below will surface in your heart and mind.
Does God want you to…
· Reconcile with a family member?
· Reach out to your neighbor and offer a helping hand?
· Take care of yourself physically by exercising and eating healthier?
· Play more with your family?
· Start a personal journal as a way to talk to God?
· Practice gratitude for what you have?
· Call an old friend?
· Read books written by Godly faith leaders?
· Follow through with a task God has called you to?
· Spend time in personal worship with the Lord?
· Share your faith with someone else?
God has given us this time for a purpose. Let’s not waste it. This outbreak is an opportunity to draw near to Him, to learn from Him, and to serve Him. This is personal!