We are living in the midst of amazing times. I opened my phone this morning and read these headlines:
- “Virus infections top 600,000 worldwide, long fight ahead”
- “DON’T COME HERE: FL Governor authorizes checkpoints at state lines to keep travelers from COVID-19 epicenters out”
- “NYC Mayor de Blasio: Religious services will be shut down; fines, closures possible”
- “Map shows how a third of world’s population are under coronavirus lockdown”
- “The US now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases”
You have seen the headlines, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. It feels like we are living in an apocalyptic themed movie. You don’t have to read or watch the news for long without being scared out of your mind! I naturally struggle with fear and anxiety on a daily basis, so this for sure has sent my fear into overdrive, especially when my young adult kids are far from home. Whenever life throws me a curveball, I am often reminded of things my precious dad used to say. His statements have lovingly been called “Wayne-isms” over the years, and what nuggets of truth they hold! Many times he would look at me with a smile and twinkle in his eye and say things like,
- “What’s over our heads is under HIS feet.”
- “Whatever you’re going through, it did not take God by surprise!”
- “You can’t, God never said you could. He can and He always said He would.” (quoting Ian Thomas)
- “Spiritual faith begins where human ability ends.”
- “God hasn’t fallen off His throne!”
- “God’s not wringing His hands over this situation.”
- “When everything seems to be falling apart, God is pulling it all together.”
- “God’s gone before You, and He will meet you there!”
In these troubled times, how much more should we remember what our Heavenly Father has said? I love the Amplified version of what Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous (be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy); I have overcome the world (My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding).”
Our world is definitely filled with tribulation, distress and suffering. It might seem impossible to be courageous, undaunted and confidently filled with joy in the middle of the Coronavirus and any other trials we are currently facing. The truth is, it is impossible in our flesh. BUT Christ has overcome the world. He already IS courageous, undaunted and confidently filled with joy, and He wants to be that in and through us. We have such an amazing opportunity in these days to experience HIS grace and glory in and through our lives. This happens only as we yield to Him, laying our fear in His capable hands.
Think of the saints in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith,” and all that they went through for the sake of Christ. “And all of these, though they gained divine approval through their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, because God had us in mind and had something better for us, so that they (these men and women of authentic faith) would not be made perfect (that is, completed in Him) apart from us” (Hebrews 11:29-40 AMP). The saints of old were looking towards a new and better covenant. They were looking for God to fulfill His promises and prophecies concerning His Son. If they believed in a Savior that had not yet come, how much more should we by God’s grace believe in Him who has come?
Fast forward to today, 2020. “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With His own blood- not the blood of goats and calves – He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Hebrews 9:11-12 NLT). The probability that every prophecy (over 300) of Jesus’ first coming would all be fulfilled in exactly the way they were prophesied is astronomical, yet every prophecy has been fulfilled completely because we have a faithful God who keeps His promises! (Hebrews 10:23).
As the saints of old looked toward His first coming, we now look toward His second coming. Just as every prophecy about His first coming was fulfilled, so will His promise to come again. We must encourage one another as we see the day drawing near! We need to consider Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith! As I was writing this, I got a phone call from a dear lady in our church. She said since we can’t really get out there and see people right now (social distancing and all), God had put it on her heart to call people and give them Scripture and pray over them, which she proceeded to do for me. I absolutely LOVE this! Hebrews 10:25 calls on us to encourage one another all the more as we see the day approaching. The word for encourage means to come alongside of, to exhort, to aid, help and comfort with God’s Word. Here is the scripture she prayed over me:
“Casting all your cares (all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares about you (with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully)” – 1 Peter 5:7 AMP.
There are so many encouraging verses I could mention here. I want to encourage you to get your eyes off of this world and fix your eyes on HIM. Whenever fear, anxiety and that general feeling of unsettledness (that we are all experiencing in this time) begins to overtake you, run to Jesus. Run to HIS WORD! Psalm 94:19 says, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (NASB). Confess to Him your feelings of fear and lack of trust. As you yield your heart to Him afresh, He will fill you with the courage from His Word to face the day.
“Until I learned to trust, I never learned to pray; I never learned to fully trust till sorrow came my way. Until I felt my weakness, His strength I never knew- nor dreamed till I was stricken that He would see me through. Who deepest drinks of sorrow, drinks deepest, too, of grace; He sends the storm, so He Himself can be our hiding place. His heart that seeks our highest good, knows well when things annoy; we would not long for heaven if earth held only joy” (a friend shared this with me, Author Unknown).