Tag Archives: Peace

Where is God During a Pandemic?

As the Covid-19 virus continues to destroy lives, fuel fear, and dismantle the global economy, it is reasonable to ask where God is and why He hasn’t intervened to stop this plague. Doesn’t He care about our pain and suffering? What reason could He possibly have for allowing this pandemic to spread and upend our way of life?

These are good questions that God is not afraid to answer. In fact, He welcomes them. The prophet Habakkuk asked similar questions thousands of years ago when he observed the demise of his people on the horizon. He asked God, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help but you do not listen! Violence is everywhere, I cry, but you do not come to save” (Habakkuk 1:2, NLT). Many of us are probably asking God similar questions today.

In response, God informed Habakkuk that He was very much at work, influencing global events in a way that would bring salvation to His people and preserve them from destruction. He outlined His plan of salvation, recognizing that in doing so Habakkuk would raise more questions and express concern that God’s plan made no sense.

Similarly, God has a plan in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic. And like Habakkuk, we probably wouldn’t understand (or agree with) that plan if God were to reveal it to us. Why? Because He tells us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8, NKJV).

We are almost exclusively focused on the temporal – the here and now. We live our lives largely fixated on this world and our physical role in it. God, on the other hand, is as concerned about our eternal future as He is our present, and with our spiritual condition as He is our physical. Against that backdrop, it appears God is using the coronavirus pandemic to accomplish several things.

First, He is drawing a hurting world to Him. Often we have little interest in God until we reach a point of desperation in our lives. Despair, anxiety, and severe trials have a way of sending us in search of God – which a life of comfort, prosperity, and leisure rarely do. He is using the pandemic, then, to remind us of the importance of our spiritual lives. Encouraging us to explore a relationship with Him; and to place our faith in Him and not the world.

Second, He is removing many of the activities that separate us from Him. The lure of worldly distractions – such as entertainment, shopping, travel, sports, and hobbies – consumes our lives. Our lives, it seems, are oriented toward enjoying life and the pleasures of this world. For Christians, these diversions significantly diminish our time with the Lord and weaken our faith. Our focus on these pursuits has infected our hearts and damaged our relationship with God. As our love for worldly interests grows, our love for the Lord wanes. But in His mercy God is calling us back to Him. To kindle revival in our hearts and pursue Him with the same passion we have pursued the things of this world for so long.

Third, God is exposing the fraudulent worldview that man is the master of his fate and this world. Government leaders, the exceptionally wealthy, and the extraordinarily powerful all believe they alone control their destinies, as do many ordinary men and women. The Covid-19 virus lays bare the inaccuracy of this belief, and should produce in us a spirit of humility, recognizing that we are not in control of our lives. It should lead us to humbly seek God’s protection, guidance, and healing, and fully yield our lives to Him.

Fourth, God is revealing His peace, hope, and comfort in this turbulent time. The pandemic has produced alarming amounts of anxiety, fear, and despair. Many feel despondent over the risk of infection. Others watch in horror as their economic livelihoods collapse. Some are so scared they irrationally hoard toilet tissue and sanitary wipes. A degree of hopelessness hangs in the air.

If you are experiencing these emotions, consider the following verses: a) “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7); b) “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him” (Psalm 42:11); c) “The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God(2 Corinthians 3b-4).

Fifth, God is reminding us that life and faith are best expressed by acts of sacrifice. Thousands of medical personnel and first responders are sacrificing their safety (and in many cases their lives) to treat and care for those on the cusp of death. These selfless acts are an excellent reminder of how Christ calls His followers to live: to daily commit ourselves to serving others, caring for the downtrodden and marginalized, and loving others sacrificially, putting their well-being ahead of our own. And not just in times of a global pandemic or natural disaster, but every day.

Let me close by saying God created this world free of pain, suffering, and disease. But sin – man’s disobedience and rebellion against God – introduced those horrific conditions into this planetary paradise. However, the time is coming when God will create a new earth and establish His kingdom in it for all eternity. And those who place their faith in Jesus and surrender their lives to Him will live with God there.

The Bible describes eternity like this: “[God] will dwell with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4, NKJV).

With that perfect world waiting for those who call on the name of Christ, I encourage you to turn to Him in this difficult time. Surrender your life to God and begin to build a foundation of faith during this chaotic global event.

Gratitude for God’s Gifts.

Many of us will express gratefulness to God this Thanksgiving holiday for family, health, employment, and life. Others will make mention of God’s provision in providing a home, healing a sickness, or resolving a difficulty. Of course, some blessings are universal to all who place their trust in Jesus. Regardless of circumstances, those who surrender their lives to Christ are the recipients of many promises from God. Here are seven of those remarkable gifts.

1] Love: God loves you unconditionally. Nothing you do will ever increase or decrease that love. Irrespective of your failures, shortcomings, or mistakes, He loves you. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how despicable, He loves you. In fact, the Bible tells us, “God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NKJV). His love is substantive, not theoretical. He offers us reconciliation with Himself through the death and resurrection of His sinless Son, Jesus. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT).

At the moment you may face circumstances filled with pain, confusion, rejection, or suffering, and may wonder whether God loves you. The apostle Paul addresses that question in his epistle to the church in Rome. “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” (Romans 8:35, NLT). He answers with an emphatic, “No!” and explains “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, NLT).

Know that God loves you and nothing can separate you from that love. Nothing!!

2] Peace: Many people experience stress and anxiety when current circumstances create difficulty. Often, they fear the future. But believers need not undergo such angst no matter the situation. Jesus tells us: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, NKJV). What a powerful promise. Jesus offers His people peace in their hearts and minds, such peace the world cannot offer. His peace calms us as we surrender our problems to Him, so that we are no longer troubled by the present or fearful of the future.

Those without Christ often fear death and what the future holds after they die. It is a mystery, an unknown, that frightens them. They realize they have not made their peace with God and it troubles them. But we have confidence in our future after we pass from this world. Jesus gives us assurance that all those who place their faith in Him will spend eternity with God; we have been reconciled to Him. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1, NKJV).

The world will scoff at the suggestion that God brings peace to those who follow Him, especially in our world of chaos, violence, and uncertainty. It makes no sense to them that peace can exist in such an environment. His peace is beyond our comprehension as well, even though we experience it. The apostle Paul explains: “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NKJV). God’s peace protects us from the disquiet that plagues the world as the global landscape becomes increasingly frightful. We may not understand how that happens but we have proof in our hearts and minds.

3] Hope: Because our purpose in this world is clear (to love God with all our hearts and share His love with others) and our future is certain, we have hope. We need not suffer through the despair that afflicts many of those around us. Unable to control the events that spiral their lives out of control, the depressed and despondent often turn to artificial sources for meaning (e.g. success, riches, prestige) or to drown their pain (e.g. drugs, alcohol, hedonism). But not so for those who place their hope in Christ. He frees us from such acts of desperation. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13, NKJV). We don’t just possess a measure of hope, we abound in it. What an encouraging truth!

4] Joy: On the night of His betrayal, Jesus encouraged His disciples to abide in Him and keep His commands. After which, He said: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11, NKJV). One of the many benefits of following Christ is partaking of the joy He imparts. Unlike the fleeting and momentary happiness the world experiences, which ebbs and flows depending on circumstances and results, our joy is present in all situations. And it is overflowing.

Even in the midst of difficulty, trials, and tribulation we retain the unshakeable joy God has given us through His Son, because our joy is predicated on our relationship with Jesus, not our present circumstances. In fact, the apostle Peter encourages us to “rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13, NKJV).

5] Power/Strength/Courage: God has equipped us with boldness to do the right thing in a world that increasingly rewards and praises those who do the wrong thing. He calls us, and expects us, to leverage the power of the Holy Spirit to act courageously and remain faithful to Him and His standards, to protect the weak, intervene for the oppressed, and speak on behalf of the exploited. As we do He will strengthen us. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NKJV). God’s presence is with us when we act on His behalf to confront evil, speak truth, and show mercy to the downtrodden. Never forget that.

6] Good triumphs over evil: In this present age that seems unlikely. Evil flourishes across the globe, not only in grotesque forms like terrorism and human trafficking but also in more benign forms like greed, arrogance, and selfishness. Many of the skirmishes between good and evil appear to result in victory for the wicked. It can seem overwhelming at times, and discouraging if you don’t remember the big picture: in the end, God wins! That is a key message of Revelation. God defeats Satan and his army of evil, and establishes His kingdom in the New Jerusalem. What an encouragement to know that despite appearances to the contrary at the moment, God eventually dispatches all vestiges of evil.

7] God never changes. In a world of chaos where change happens at supersonic speed, it is comforting to know God never changes. As the world’s standards evolve (or devolve), society redefines truth, and God is disparaged as a relic from an era of ignorance, we need a foundation that can withstand these seismic shifts. We need an anchor that keeps us from tossing to and fro in the ocean of moral relevance, where good is demonized and evil is glorified. That anchor, that foundation, is God’s immutable permanence. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV).

Happy Thanksgiving!