COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. So much uncertainty, so much fear, so much anxiety. Indeed, it’s disappointing to be forced to cancel vacations, proms, weddings. It’s distressing when our employer shuts down and we end up in financial crisis. It’s disturbing to see shortages of necessities like water, toilet paper, masks, gloves, medications, ventilators. And it’s downright terrifying to see the number of COVID cases – and deaths – rise each day. This is not a post linking Coronavirus to apocalyptic events, nor will I bash how leaders and politicians are handling this healthcare emergency. I simply want to remind everyone of God’s sovereignty and our need to turn to Him.
Far be it from me to claim to know exactly what God is up to right now, but I think it’s safe to say that He’s trying to get our attention. For years I’ve been praying for a massive spiritual awakening in this country… and I know many of my Christian brothers and sisters have been doing the same. I’ve been praying for a Christian revival unlike anything we’ve ever seen before: Bigger than the Great Awakening of the 1700s. Bigger than the Welsh Revival in 1905. Bigger than the Jesus Movement of the 1970s.
Perhaps God will use this COVID pandemic to answer my (our) prayers. If so, I believe that He wants us to be involved in bringing forth His answer. The Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18 is not a suggestion — it’s a command.
A dear friend of mine – a precious sister in Christ – made 8 little “care bags” for her neighbors. Inside each bag was 1 individually-wrapped roll of Scott toilet paper and a typed note: “Hello Neighbor! I just want to share 2 things that we all really need: toilet paper and Jesus!” ? She included a simple Gospel message, the website link to her church, and she invited her neighbors to watch the live-streamed Sunday morning services. Since she’s a pharmacist who works in a grocery store, she also offered to deliver their medications and shop for those who cannot or should not be in public places. She went out of her way to try and meet the needs of her neighbors… most of whom she does not know very well, if at all.
THAT’S what it means to “be Jesus” to others. Jesus made it His mission to MEET NEEDS – physical, emotional, spiritual. By sacrificing His innocent life on a Cross, Jesus met our greatest and most desperate need: the forgiveness of our sins. When we give our lives and our sins to Jesus, He gives us His forgiveness in exchange… which includes His promise of spending eternity in heaven. (As believers, we really NEED to share that with people who really NEED to hear it… and we really NEED to do it now.) And when we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:31-33), Jesus also promises to meet our basic physical needs of food, clothing, and shelter… things that we currently fret about whether we’ll have enough. By trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation, He even meets our greatest emotional need, which is peace. With the rampant COVID anxiety, peace is something everyone desperately longs for, right? Well, if we really trust that God is in control, and if we fervently seek Him in prayer, then He will give us “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I have peace right now, in the midst of a global pandemic, because I can look back on the turmoil of my past and I can see how faithful God was back then. Circumstances change. God does not.
So I just want to encourage you to find ways to “be Jesus” to others. In these UNCERTAIN times, point them to the One whose promises in the bible ARE CERTAIN. With social distancing it might take a little creativity and a lot of sacrifice, but now is the time for us to step up to the plate. Let’s be part of God’s answer to our prayers for a massive Christian revival.
May we focus on our Savior, not our Situation. May we focus on Christ, not the Crisis. May we seek God’s wisdom and direction as we navigate through this dark and uncharted territory. May we respond to this pandemic with love, care, and compassion for others as we ponder the brevity of life. May we follow the instructions of the authorities, no matter how inconvenient they may be, in order to minimize the spread of infection. May we make the most of every opportunity to share our faith in Jesus… and may the Gospel of Christ spread as quickly as Coronavirus!