Hi VKMI eFam, I am so excited about this post that I am about to POP!
Over the past several weeks our country–our world–has been dealing with the Coronavirus global pandemic, aka Novel Coronavirus; aka 2019-nCoV; aka COVID-19. (It’s just like the enemy to keep changing his name!) And, like a mighty rushing wind, COVID-19 has shut the world down! No school. No sporting events. No restaurants. No date night. No work. No church-NOTHING! The stock market is failing. People can’t go to work. Hospitals and 1st responders are running out of protective gear. People are hoarding toilet paper and water. Countries all over the world have closed their boarders. Air travel across the globe is limited to non-existent. And, as I am writing this blog post, there has been a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Salt Lake City (SLC) Utah, where extensive damage has been reported in the SLC Airport and to several downtown buildings, and over 55K have lost power. This is particularly significant for me because I was supposed to be in SLC this week attending a week-long conference with over 1500 of my fellow co-workers gathered from all across the country.
That’s the BAD news; Here is the GOOD NEWS:
GOD is still GOD!
The WORD is still the WORD!
GOD is still in CONTROL!
There is no doubt that there are some very strange things of biblical proportions happening these days. From water taps in Italy running red, to unforeseen pandemics, to earthquakes. But rest assured, God is in control! Isaiah 33:6 says, “He [God]will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure,” (NIV). In other words, now is NOT the time to waiver in faith! God is showing His family (and the entire world) that Jesus is the solid rock upon which we need to stand; and, now is the time to have faith and shelter-in-place.
In scripture, there are three times that come to mind when God instructed His family to shelter-in-place. Each occurrence resulted in a paradigm shift of the culture: Noah and the Flood, the Passover, and the Day of Pentecost as described in the Book of Acts.
Noah and the Flood (Genesis 6-9)
We’ve all read the story of Noah and the flood. The earth was full of wickedness and God instructed Noah to build and ark and shelter-in-place with his family and the animals. Like people today, the people of Noah’s day were probably unaware of what was about to happen. They all went about their daily lives conducting business as usual until one day it started to rain, and rain, and rain, and rain…and then God called Noah to enter the ark (Gen. 7).
Christ: The Ark of Safety
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we Christians would be wise to remember that Jesus is our Ark of Safety. Just as the Ark was a means of protection and safety to Noah and his family, so too is Christ to all believers. The call to shelter-in-place with our family is nothing short of God reminding us that no matter what flood the enemy is sending, God can protect us. Now is not the time to waiver in our faith; now is the time to be obedient to God’s command, take our family and enter into Christ ark of safety.
The Passover (Exodus 12)
The Passover commemorates the biblical story in the Book of Exodus when God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is the night when the Lord instructed the Israelites to place blood on their doorposts and shelter-in-place to avoid the wrath of death angel. To protect His people, God made sure they were covered by the blood of the lamb. This year, Passover begins at nightfall April 8th and ends on April 16th. As you shelter-in-place, take a moment to remember that Jesus our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed in atonement for our sins (1 Cor. 5:7).
Christ: The Passover Lamb
Jesus is called the Lamb of God because he became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. One cannot help but see the similarity of our current shut-in to that of the Children of Israel in Egypt. In no other time in our country’s history (or in the history of the world) has anything like this ever happened. Just like the Israelites in Egypt, people all over the world are being asked to shelter-in-place with their families until the danger has passed. Who else but GOD could orchestrate such a feat or command such attention? By Jesus’ blood we are saved from death. I encourage you to read Psalm 46, “…Be still and know that He is God.”
The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)
Bar none, the Day of Pentecost described in Acts 2 is heralded as the day the Holy Spirit invaded the Church. To this day it is still celebrated 50 days after Resurrection Sunday. During Pentecost, the family of God was sheltered-in-place and the Holy Spirit came and filled those in the room! Jesus’ promise to send a comforter still holds true today, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26, KJV). I can’t help but believe that the same thing can happen now as we shelter-in-place during to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holy Spirit: The Comforter is Here!
Whenever our pastor wants to drive home a point about the relevance of God’s Word today, he quotes 1 Corinthians 15:46 which reads, “However that which is spiritual was NOT first, but that which is natural…”. In other words, first natural, then spiritual. Nothing seems more natural than the striking resemblance between the spread Gospel at Pentecost and the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the World. Alright, don’t cringe, I’m not saying that God or Holy Spirit caused COVID-19. I am saying, however, that He can use it for His glory.
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, for the 1st time in US history, the government (and governments around the world) has stepped in and shut everything down. I mean everything, no work, school, entertainment or church! As a country we have been instructed to shelter-in-place and stay home–stay home with our families! And, due to the restrictions placed on large gatherings, for the past several weeks churches around the country (and the world) were forced to suspend their in-person services and move to live streaming via the internet directly into people’s homes! Now this is GOD, people!
Make no mistake, God is a master planner. During Pentecost, the family of God was sheltered-in-place and the Holy Spirit filled those in the room. The technology that brought the Word of God into your home via your Smart TV, cell phone or laptop would have been impossible ten years ago. Yet as a direct result of live streaming technology, the Gospel was preached EXACTLY where GOD and Holy Spirit wanted it to be preached–in YOUR HOME! Think about it, how many more of our families members heard or were exposed to the Word of God as a result of you live streaming service in your HOME that may never attend church service in person?
One of the primary tenets of Christian faith is the belief that we are saved by grace through faith. If we believe in God as we say we do, we have got to have faith that no matter what the outcome, we will be okay. There has always been chaos in the Earth; it has just never hit the U.S. like this before. COVID-19 is a virus that we can’t see, touch or smell. While we have to be prudent and shelter-in-place and do what the authorities are telling us to do, we also have to be wise enough to have faith in God to see us through this trying time. Is this a time of uncertainty? Yes! Is it a scary time? Absolutely? But, as Apostle has said, “Be careful, be prayerful, but let us not be fearful,” (2 Tim. 1:7).
God is trying to tell us something; Are you listening?
Be Prayerful, Be Careful, But Never Be Fearful