So much has changed in the last two weeks! The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in China, which for us was just a news headline a couple weeks ago, is now a pandemic which is directly affecting our lives in a big way. Daily, it seems, the Governor and/ or the President has released revised and increasing travel restrictions, and “social distancing has become a buzz word.” Everything from professional sports to spaghetti dinners have been cancelled. Education has all become home schooling, be it kindergarten or college. Signs of panic are seen in empty grocery store shelves from people hoarding, of all things, toilet paper! And with each passing day comes new reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases that are closer and closer to home. There is so much we don’t know about our future as we watch this pandemic overtake our communities, but does this mean that we have to live in fear?
In the days when Judah was a nation, there was a king named Jehoshaphat. Out of the blue one day, he received a report that “a vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea.” (2 Chronicles 20:2). There was no way that the army of Judah could stand against this force. The nation of Judah was facing a much bigger threat than the corona virus. So what did king Jehoshaphat do? Did he panic? Note his response in 2 Chronicles 20:3- “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord…” The king and the people immediately went to God in prayer. They remembered who it is who is in control as they prayed “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you…” Jehoshaphat ended this prayer with the statement “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20:6-12)
As we face this unknown threat of COVID-19 and the social and economic consequences of this pandemic, I do not know what to do, but to keep our eyes and mind focused on the Lord.
We do not need to live in fear about Corona virus, because God is in control, and he loves us!
The Corona virus outbreak is not a surprise to God. It is not beyond his control. He has planned how it will end and is intervening in your life today. God, has the amazing power to take our pain and struggles, to take the evil in this world, and use it for our good (Romans 8:28).
Maybe God allowed this Corona virus pandemic to bring to light the great void of true hope that exists in our country and world today? Maybe he allowed the corona virus to bring turmoil to our world to motivate you to seek Christ so that you could truly come to know Him and experience His lasting peace, hope, and love now! If you do not personally know the Lord Jesus who died on the Cross to take the punishment for your sin and then rose to life from the grave to prepare a place for you in heaven where you can live with him forever, then please contact us at Grace Baptist Church. If you are scared, please call us and we can pray with you. If you need help to meet your physical needs or you just need encouragement, please call us at Grace Baptist Church.
If you are in need of reassurance and peace, turn your thoughts to God by opening up your Bible. Isaiah 26:3 says “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Below at the end of this blog post are some verses to meditate on.
It you have experienced the love of Christ and are one of God’s children, now is the time to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” (1 Peter 3:15) As a young pastor, Charles Spurgeon experienced the 1854 cholera outbreak in the city of London. He wrote about the experience:
“If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly. There was little scoffing then.”
Now is the time to encourage others, to share the gospel, and to find ways to tangibly show the love of Christ to your neighbors by helping them through this time of uncertainty. Now is the time to pray as king Jehoshaphat did.
Pray for all those infected with the virus, especially those in third world countries (see the blog post PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR). Pray for all the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who are carry for the sick. Pray for the researchers who are working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Pray for our leaders in government, for those working in the CDC, for our first responders, for those restocking our grocery store shelves, for our churches, and for our families. Pray for God to do a great work in our nation and our world! Now is a time for prayer!
Note in 2 Chronicles 20:14-29 the awesome answer to Jehoshaphat’s prayer as the Lord replies “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…”
Instead of worrying, reflect on God’s word:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
…who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?...
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Colossian 1:17- Christ is holding our world together
2 Timothy 1:7
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”
“The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mount, but you shall mediate on it day and night… For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world give do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“…I will never leave you nor forsake you.”