God is in Control. On His Throne. Sovereign. While diseases are a natural result of our fallen, broken, world, God still uses distressing circumstances to remind us of a bigger, better, more important reality. He uses circumstances to kick props out from under our self-sufficiency. To see what we are at our deepest core. Scared, selfish, and self-absorbed people who desperately need Him.
So maybe there’s a greater purpose to this outbreak than just seeing how our medical and healthcare community stands up under distress. Or how our government can help rescue us from further spread or more outbreaks.
Paul, Peter, Timothy, Silas, and Luke dealt with this in the book of Acts. Everywhere they went they dealt with pain, suffering, difficulty, opposition, obstacles, and heard providences. But not only was God in control, He used circumstances to advance the Kingdom. Paul, in particular, suffered more than most. Because of his trials he was link a ping pong around the Middle East. But each new place he was pushed to benefitted by his presence. The Gospel and encouragement was brought to each major city. The Gospel found new crevices by each new “Providential earthquake”. But God has a distinct purpose for each new direction: Sometimes grace, sometimes judgement. There was a time that “the Holy Spirit prevented him from going to a place” (judgement) and others where he was “called” to go (grace). But each time Paul was listening. Keenly listening to God’s voice and direction.
So where is God calling you to be? In this outbreak, this new “social earthquake”—is He calling you to leave Jerusalem and go to Rome, so that people who would have never heard of the Good News would hear it and have their lives changed by it?
The fact is that the entire Roman Guard and upper government (even scores of little islands) would never have heard the Gospel had it not been for Paul’s listening. And yet he had to go through shipwrecks, beatings, stonings, in order to make that happen. So while it is okay and understandable and maybe even wise to look at our families’ protection and provision during this time of social upheaval, let’s not make that our primary preoccupation. While its important to take prudent precautions and make contingency plans for our businesses; let’s not let loss of money be our biggest worry. God is sovereign over every little detail in life. And He cares for us. Let’s not let inconvenience and money concerns cloud our vision of what is really important.
Let’s really listen. Have our spiritual antennae out…look for the new “crevices created by the earthquake” because people are more in need now than even last month. They’re looking for answers. They’re scared, worried and insecure – and no amount of money, water, or toilet paper will give them true security, or ultimate peace.
There’ll be a lot less large gatherings in the next few months, and a lot more One on One meetings. Ask questions, find out what makes people tick. Listen to their worries and concerns, their story.
Then as God leads, and you listen, give them the only true answer to their needs: Jesus. We all know only He can fill that void. His presence will not only get us through in this scary time, but we’ll be a part of a much larger plan where God is strategically getting His message out to a whole new group of people. That’s Grace. Let us be a part of that.