Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Working all things for good

While I would love to write an article explaining in detail how all of this chaos is going to work out, let me instead share an anchor of hope from Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It does not say that God “might” work things out for good, or that we “hope” things turn out okay. It says we “know” this to be true! There is no shadow of doubt about it. Just as surely as I know that 100 follows 99 and spring follows winter, I know that God will work good out of this pandemic.

Now, let me clarify that this promise pertains to those who love God and are called according to His purpose, because it’s not given to those who reject Him.

Do you love God? Now would be a pretty good time to get on board, I would say! With tomorrow so uncertain, don’t you think now would be the right time to take spiritual inventory? Perhaps this mess serves as your spiritual wake-up call. Let me urge you to answer!

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

In other words, God took the initiative to send Jesus on a rescue mission to save us from our sins. He did it because He loves each and every single person on the face of this planet with such a deep love that He does not want us to perish, but to repent and believe the good news of Christ. Jesus died in our place on the cross to take away our sins, that we might be forgiven and made right with God and have the promise of eternal life.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

So maybe part of the good that God’s working out means your salvation!

And maybe part of the good also means the sanctification of God’s people. If this virus leads us to abandon foolish ways and lean upon the Lord more in faith, if it causes us to renounce ungodliness and embrace holiness, if it means that we indulge selfish appetites less and love our neighbor more, then God’s working out a good purpose through it all.

Ultimately God not only wants us to come to Him through Jesus for salvation, but to conform us to the very image of Jesus, that we might reflect the light of Jesus into the world for the glory of God.

So if we know this whole thing works out for our good and for God’s glory, then let’s anchor our hope to this truth and walk in faith, loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Biblical perspective in the midst of the turbulence

Some biblical perspective while riding on the crazy train called the COVID-19 panic/pandemic.

1. Move forward in faith, not fear. God is still in control. He’s still sovereign. He’s still omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He’s still our Refuge and Strength. He’s still our Shelter in the time of storm. He’s still our Rock, our Fortress, our Dwelling Place, and our Shield. We can trust Him now just as always. Let’s move forward in faith, not fear. I don’t know much about tomorrow, but I know who holds tomorrow. So let’s keep trusting in the provision of our heavenly Father to meet our needs one day at a time.

2. Walk in wisdom. If we’ll listen to the Lord, leaning not on our own understanding but following His ways, then He’ll guide us in the practical wisdom we need. Of course that means being sensible about such things as washing your hands, not coughing on people, staying home if you’re sick – things we ought to be doing already. But it also means we’ll be self-controlled, discerning, humble, compassionate, willing to listen to good counsel, diligent, and always seeking to do the righteous thing as we reverently fear the Lord.

3. Pray, pray, pray. Let’s ask God to end this virus and bring healing. Let’s ask Him to grant wisdom to all those who are making decisions – from the President and world leaders to state governors and local school superintendents to medical professionals to business owners, and everyone in between. Let’s pray not only for the health of those impacted by this virus, but for the relational and financial provisions of everyone who is impacted by this crisis.

4. Seek to serve those in need. As surely as we must pray, we must be willing to serve. The needs are many. Let’s look for ways to help our neighbors. Can you go pick up some groceries for an elderly neighbor? Can you offer some childcare for a single mom who can’t afford to miss work? Can you help a spare a roll of toilet paper for a friend in need? Sorry, couldn’t resist. If we’re willing to look with love, we’ll find plenty of ways to help others.

5. Point people to the hope we have in Jesus. Now is the time to turn in repentance and faith in Christ. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Now is the day of salvation. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). But God put His love for us on display when He sent His Son to die in our place on the cross, so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be made right with God. There’s no better time than right now to receive this gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord, and with it find a hope unshakeable, peace unexplainable, and love undeniable even in the midst of the turbulent ride.