As I write this morning, I am thankful that the Lord put it on my heart pretty early to respond to the Covid-19 situation, and for a team of deacons who likewise came on board to treat this situation with prudent caution.
As a pastor and leader, I can appreciate all the more the position of the president, governors, etc. who try to keep people calm and positive while at the same time attempting to motivate them to take things seriously and act responsibly. Of course, as a Christian leader and follower of Jesus Christ, I have the awesome privilege to encourage my fellow Christians toward faith – to rely on the unfailing love of the Lord and be at rest. Our God is surely on the throne. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. In the midst of the storm, the sovereign God Himself is our peace. (Judges 6:24).
You also know how, from the start, I have talked about the unity of faith and wisdom. Yes, we should be at peace, resting in the Lord, but that should not cause us to be flippant or take unnecessary risks. The Scripture says God is our faithful provider (Matthew 6:25-34), but it also tells us to consider how the ant stores food for the winter (Proverbs 6:6-8). One way that God cares for us is to give us wisdom. We therefore should be model citizens, taking this seriously and observing the precautions that the medical community is now pleading with Americans to follow.
Filtering through the news reports to get a true picture of where we’re at can be tricky. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who I am trusting to guide me so that I can guide you to the best of my ability. When I survey the situation, what I’m hearing is that it’s really time to double down. That this next couple of weeks will be a critical period in this pandemic, with the potential for sharp rises in cases and deaths. Much of the reason for this they say, is that people are still not taking this thing seriously. So, with two feet firmly on the Rock who is our Savior, let me urge you to do so. It’s time to double down.
Double means two. First, let’s double down in faith. Dig deep into the word of God so that your faith rests securely on truth, not feelings. In times of trouble, I recommend the Psalms such as 1, 27, 37, 46, 51, 91, 119, 121, 139, 145. Be serious about prayer, spend time with the Lord to hear His voice. Daniel 11:32 says, “. . . those who know their God will be strong and take action.” And as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s prayer, end those prayers with praise, lifting your heart with thanksgiving to Him who is over all. This is how we go from a “hope so” faith to a “know so” faith that truly allows us to rest and also shine that light out to others.
Second – double down in wisdom. As you rest in the Lord, please also be diligent with the physical distancing, the hand washing, the avoidance of touching your face, etc. If you are higher risk and need something, please let the church (me or Sue) or your family know, so that others can go out in public for you – or utilize a grocery delivery service such as offered by Wegmans: https://www.wegmans.com/groceries-online. Or Walmart: https://grocery.walmart.com.
If you must go out for yourself or someone else (a sacrificial act of ministry with an expectation of God’s protection), wear a mask, touch little, hand sanitize often, shower and change clothes when you get home. Again, not in fear, but in wisdom. Here are some more helpful tips from Consumer reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/food-shopping/how-to-protect-yourself-from-coronavirus-when-grocery-shopping.
Many times in my life, I will ask those in authority like a doctor “What would YOU do in this situation?” So as a pastor/leader, let me say that I will be following the advice I have just given you. I will do my best and rely on the Lord to do His. As an old Keith Green song says, “Just keep doing your best, pray that it’s blessed, and Jesus takes care of the rest!”
My catch phrase in all of this has been “Our God is with us!” He has shown His faithfulness in our lives, and no doubt will continue to do so. I cannot wait to gather once again in our sanctuary and gratefully praise God for how He sustained and protected us in this storm.
For His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever…AMEN!!
Love you all,