A few weeks ago I was reading in psalms one afternoon The psalmist was saying sing unto the Lord a new song. Interesting to note that whenever the Psalmist won another battle or when he remembered a past victory, he might commemorate with a new song. The Bible says to sing hymns and make melody unto the Lord from your heart.
I begin to write words to the Lord from my heart based on the battle we all face today. We are faced with fear of a pandemic that has gripped everyone of us.
The waves of fear are crashing all around me
My fathers arms they lovingly Surround me
I’ll make it though because I I know you are beside me
You are my shelter in you I am free
All I really need I find in thee
Cover me with your arms so I know I’m safe from harm
Till I make it home cover me
Cover me with your blood when I face the raging flood
Oh thou great and mighty God
The wind and rains of change they beat against my face
I never been through this one
Lord I need your grace
I hold your hand you lead me
Through the raging storm
I come with gladness over to the other shore
Cover me with your arms so I know I’m safe from harm
Till I make it home cover me
Cover me with your blood
When I face the ragging flood
Oh thou great and mighty God cover me
The psalmist boldly proclaims-in psalm 118, "I shall not die but live and proclaim the mighty works of God."
Today, claim those words, shake those fears, and live in peace. This storm too shall pass and we will have victory in Jesus Name.
During my years as an emergency manager, I would travel to places where large areas of the country were ravaged by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. People who lived in these places were truly devastated. With their homes, cars, and other possessions destroyed; they may no longer even have a job to go to. Even worse, this could all be combined with the loss of friends and loved ones. I could certainly never even begin to comprehend the fear and anxiety that these people were experiencing during such a time of uncertainty in which they have no idea how, when, or IF they will ever recover.
For a single individual, the situation is certainly immediately overwhelming. Yet, some of those same individuals being bolstered by their faith and a genuine biblical love for others would rise above the situation. They did this in a way that was seemingly engrained instinctively. If they had food or anything a neighbor needed, they shared it without hesitation. If they could help others, they pitched in and worked tirelessly as an inspirational rally to others that reminds us that we are all in this together and we are going to get through it. Others without such faith and love for others often exhibited great anger at the situation and even at those like me who had come voluntarily to help while being separated from our own families and friends for extended periods of time.
For Christians, it seems to me that times of uncertainty are our chance to put everything into practice that we have learned from the Bible. There is simply no better way to strengthen our faith than by actually exercising it. When tested, we are certainly reminded and comforted by scriptures that apply to the situation. However, when it is time for action like during an emergency, we don’t always have time to go research the Bible and analyze what Jesus would do. The commandment to love one another must be engrained in us through practice and acted upon instinctively:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Yet, all the other things we have learned from the Bible must all work together at the same time when we are experiencing the uncertainties of an emergency or even a crisis such as a pandemic. We cannot show love and do for others if we are consumed with our own worry an anxiety:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
We must not be full of worry, but actually see opportunity; which is certainly hard in such a situation. The old saying “No pain, no gain” is certainly a good reminder that we are actually made better when tested. A number of Bible verses teach us this, including:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” Romans 5:3-4
The Bible is full of stories where people experienced hardships and uncertainty, even for many years. We learn from these stories that it is all for a purpose, it is all just temporary, that God is in control, and that the end result is an eternity spent with him. My prayer is that we will all be comforted by our faith and will see our uncertain time as the opportunity that it is, and that we will truly love one another as we join together in doing His work.
I remember when I was saved well. I know for certain I didn’t know a lot of things during that time of my life. I couldn’t even have told you who Chris Rice was let alone think I would end up at a concert in Mississippi listening to his music live. As a matter of fact, a year or so after the concert I was telling a friend the story of going down to the stage and praying in front of a bazillion people… at a Chris Rock concert. This was not even close to the correct Chris and not sure why Chris Rock’s name popped into my head. We both had a good laugh.
I think about that time in my life a lot. Mostly because being a better disciple of Jesus is important to me. I remember one reason it took me so long to come to Christ. I wanted proof. I won’t go into all the things that were holding me up, but I will start at the beginning. I couldn’t get past Genesis at all in my readings. I skipped around a bit and read what I could, but I always went back to the front. Here’s why: I couldn’t get past that God knows everything and yet the Tree of Life is there in the garden. And God tells Adam and Eve do not eat from the tree for you will surely die.
[Gen: 3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The first hang up is that if God is all knowing, he knew Adam and Eve were going to eat from the tree! We can address that in a bit. The second hang up was that Adam and Eve didn’t die. Well at least not the way I was expecting them to. And, as I mentioned above, I had no faith…yet, I wanted proof. No one I talked to could sufficiently answer my questions. I was too stubborn to move forward; I wanted an answer. It never occurred to me until AFTER I was saved that I was letting Satan manipulate me the same way and with the same tactic he manipulated Adam and Eve within the garden.
Adam and Even did cease to be the same people they were before. They changed so significantly some may say that the beings they were had deceased. Perhaps, but my answer came from the fact that they had sinned against the God.
[Romans 6:3] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The death that took Adam and Eve on that day was a death by God’s definition, not mine. A definition I was not even aware of until I started spending more time in the Word. I thought I knew more than I actually did.
Back to my first hang up regarding why put the tree in the Garden of Eden if God knew that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree. This took me longer to answer for myself than the second hang up, probably because I am slow and stubborn… no comment Penny! I finally came to the realization that maybe God did create man in his image, but that was just the beginning. The molding and shaping of man were yet to come. Not for God’s benefit but for the benefit of man. God knew the trial at the tree was a lesson that man must learn.
I do think that being in the Word regularly can help everyone become a better disciple but there are some questions that may stump us. We need to be able to say, “I don’t know!” but not leave it at that, invite someone to explore the Word together to find the answers.
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." Hebrews 1:1-3