As I waded across the creek in chest-deep muddy water, I thought to myself, “This is not smart! You are all alone and it is questionable if you will make it to the other side.”
When I was in high school, I was a long-distance runner. Four days each week during spring training, I would run home from school to my parents’ home, 5.2 miles away.
On this particular warm spring day, I thought I would take a short cut through a pasture, through the woods, and over the creek. I could save a quarter mile, but I discovered the creek was up from the rains the night before. Could I make it? I did make it across, but looking back, I could have exercised better judgment. But at 16, I was not the brightest bulb in the box.
Experience has taught me a few things, and I want to learn more about doing what is right – now and in the future. Consequently, let me unpack a few things that have the potential to help us cross the flood of change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic hardship, and new cries for justice:
Be attentive to the hand of God. It’s possible that this current state of affairs is but the “finger of God” that appears from time to time in the Scriptures and history. I define the “finger of God” ultimately as His method for moving His people from the context of where they are to where He wants them to be. After all, how many believers born into our modern culture of activity and performance are prepared spiritually to spend hours alone with Him? Are we acting like foolish prodigals who do not see the Father’s eyes staring at our iniquitous behavioral choices and pointing His finger at the broken lives we leave in the wake of our lusts, pride, prejudices and bitterness?
While scientists diligently search for a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 and jurisdictional leaders are struggling to manage the social unrest, God already has a remedy for broken people. We should humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, acknowledge our personal sin, and acknowledge how our personal selfishness contributes to the growing list of our national sins.
We do not have the luxury of nursing our pet sins. Confess them. Repent of them and leave them at the foot of the cross. We are foolish to think our God is not working in the midst of our nation in crisis.
Let’s watch Him and join Him in what He is doing.
As the state opens up, let’s not mess up. All the conveniences of remote digital worship can be a snare to followers of Christ. We think we can catch a sermon online and have done our duty. The Lord is not interested in our “duty” to meet some kind of cultural performance norm that no longer exists.
However, He is very attentive to our consistent worship. Biblical worship is not about us and our preferences. Our worship is to be about Him. His word calls the children of God, the community of God, together to worship the One who is and to corporately express His worth as our redeemer and our Lord. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Let’s not mess up by acting like we can solo our faith walk. We need time with the Lord every week. We need each other. He hard wired us that way. Come, now is the time to worship!
Trust the Lord with hilarious generosity. While some people have experienced economic hardship the last 100 days or so, others have not. Some, especially those who work by the hour or live on tips or commissions, may be experiencing an excessive amount of out-go that exceeds their income. Others have experienced steady income.
No matter how much or how little we earn, we must remember there are some biblical principles involved with our personal finances. If your finances are tight, focus your generosity through your local church.
Experience has taught me that making it through a financial crisis hinges on the faithfulness of my generosity. Somehow, after my tithe to my local church, the Lord takes the remainder and blesses it in indescribable ways. Such thinking seems so contrary to the world’s thinking. But faith practices usually work that way. Doing what the word teaches releases the power of God in the midst of circumstances.
Continue to fortify relationships. COVID-19 has taught us that family relationships, relationships that require a feeling of trust, are of great value. We need one another. But we don’t need to become comfortable just to huddle up with “us four and no more.”
Part of belonging to the Lord is seeing people like He sees people. Humanity is a mosaic of all kinds of people. God loves each and every one so much He sent His Son to die on the cross for them. He was motivated by love. We too are to love as He loves. We need to also look around us at the people God has placed in our lives. Love them enough to show them the love of Lord Jesus.
We will make it to the other side. It’s a guarantee for those who trust the One who first loved us.