Dear Church Family,
What a blessing it is to see both the projected and actual numbers coming down. Undoubtedly, there will be a great deal of political debate over what has happened and why in the days ahead. Let us pray that some of it will be useful and profitable for the good of the nation.
Meanwhile, of course, people are still having to deal with complications created by the virus, and it continues to take lives. If it has not touched our families, we should keep in mind that this is not so for many others around the world. There is still much to pray about in this regard. Where the Gospel is known and believed, we can pray that it will be a comfort and encouragement to those who have lost loved ones, and in those homes where it is not known, we can pray that this encounter with death will be used by God to awaken a sincere interest in the souls of those who remain in this world.
While we don’t all have to deal with the virus itself, we all do have to deal with the problems it has created for us, and the limitations imposed on us, as officials have tried to deal with it. Surely, one of the discussions that will come in the future will have to do with the necessity and constitutionality of some of the actions taken. But no matter how that goes, the reality is that we have had to deal with these things, and deciding something was unnecessary a year from now doesn’t really help us today.
One of the things that separates a trial from an inconvenience is how long the trouble lasts. Usually, we are pretty good at adjusting and dealing with things in the short term, and it is even easier when we can find ways around the problem or see solutions developing and promising relief in the near future.
But it is a different story when there is no end in sight, no seeming hope of a solution, and every effort to relieve the pain or discomfort of the trial fails.
The inconvenience may force us to bend a little, but the real trial may be intended to break us, and that is much harder to deal with and to accept.
These serious, faith-building trials are of three general sorts: things, that with one blow interrupt the course of our lives in a dramatic way (think of Joseph sold off by his brothers); waves of troubles of various sorts that keep us unbalanced and uneasy (think of Job as his story opens); and the ones that come just as some other afflicting difficulty is relieved (just as you begin to breathe easy, another unexpected trouble descends).
But no matter what the exact nature of these trials, we rest in God’s promise that in Christ they will serve our good. Whether it is one hard blow or a series of strikes, we have this exhortation from the Word…
Hebrews 12:5b-7 …“MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM; FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
Which is beautifully married with this promise…
Psalms 103:13-18 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
This stay-at-home order, and the virus that caused it, are for most of us an inconvenience at present; but it is a good time to test our faith and trust in the Lord for some bigger trial that may be ahead. If we are chaffing too much under this light affliction, it might be a good time to increase our reliance on the grace of Christ and prayers for patience and contentment before the Lord.
May God bless us by continuing His promised work of sanctification in us, even during the Corona Virus era.
Father, you are the Maker of heaven and earth and all things in them serve Your holy will. May we, by grace, be found serving You with joy and contentment.
Our lives are in Your hands every day, and we know that because we are loved we will be chastened. How thankful we are that You remember that we are dust, that You chasten wisely and with good purpose, and that You use our trials to refine and not to utterly crush us, despite our sin. This grace is ours because we stand before You in Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
We are so weak, but You are so strong. Be our Stronghold, our Deliverer, our Hope and Joy in this and in all of life’s challenges, and may we look to You for our strength and help through Jesus our Savior, Amen.