If someone had told me two months ago that I would be shut in my house, with my husband working from home, because the country is being hit by a virus that has many running scared I probably would have rolled my eyes. Even though I saw it happening in China from videos that were shared on social media, I didn’t think our country would go that far.
Yet, here I am, writing on my laptop from the living room because my husband has taken over our office. His company went remote a few days before it became “mandatory” by state government order. We are on week seven now.
I am saddened that our country is shut down. I am angry that evil has made pawns of so many in leadership. Emotions are running wild right now for many. It is frustrating to see all this play out, but as a believer I should not be surprised. God forewarned us in the Bible that we would see events like this take place. He also told us to look up when we see them begin to happen.
So, how am I dealing with this situation? What am I feeling? How do I remain strong when I feel weak and helpless? What do I say to my friends, some of whom I haven’t heard from in a long time, when they sound at their wits end?
God is in Control
First and foremost, God is in control! Nothing on this earth, or in the universe, comes as a surprise to God. He was there in the beginning, He is here now, and He will be there in the end when heaven and earth pass away. He has been, is, and always will be!
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 (NKJV)
No being is greater than God who created the heavens and the earth. He knows everything that is going to happen and what the outcome will be for us. He allows us to go through trials because it strengthens us. Think of when he told Peter that Satan had asked permission to torment him. Jesus let him know that God gave permission, but God put limitations on it. The trial was to make Peter stronger.
‘And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”’ Luke 22:31-32
Every trial we go through is meant to make us lean on Christ and become stronger in the Lord. With that strength we can then be strong for those around us who may be weak in faith or non-believers.
God knows exactly how much we can endure with Him. He knows exactly how long this crisis must last and He won’t let it go one second longer than that!
As broken, fallen humans we can endure through Christ but that doesn’t mean we won’t feel emotional through this crisis. I’m the first to admit I have felt an assortment of emotions, anger; sadness; frustration; anxiety. I have been asked what I am feeling and if I am anxious. It would be a lie to say I am perfectly fine just because I am leaning into Christ. I have my strong days and my weaker days. Some of us are stronger than others, and God knows that. The Bible addresses emotions and the key here is to know what it says so when the emotions come on strong we can repeat these words by heart. Use God’s word as our strength and guide!
Anger is a big emotion for me right now, and maybe it is for others as well. We see our constitutional freedoms as being under attack, we see political parties fighting when they should be coming together and working towards the same goals, getting treatment for the virus and businesses reopened. The devil is good at dividing. He divides people at all levels of life and he especially likes to divide the church. Even denominations can’t agree these days. God says we can be angry. He gives us guidance, though, and warns us that anger can lead to sin. Sin being actions we take when we get angry.
‘“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, ‘ Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV)
It is so easy to say and do things that are sinful when we are angry. Diving into God’s word, and being robed in God’s armor is the best defense we have when we feel ourselves getting worked up. Don’t let the devil get a grasp on you!
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 (NKJV)
Sadness is another emotion that is possibly overwhelming many of us. It is affecting some more than others, especially if they have lost their jobs or have been directly hit by the virus either as a person, their family, or a friend. The other day I was in a mall parking lot that is around the corner from my home. We had ordered take out, and I was at the restaurant to pick it up. The parking lot was eerily empty and quiet. This is a mall that is typically packed with cars and shoppers.
My heart broke. All I could think about were all the people that had lost their jobs, or been furloughed, because of this COVID-19 crisis. I found myself praying for the businesses and all the people who are out of work. It was immensely difficult for me, and humbling, because I realize we MUST lean into God during this. There is no other way through this. Christ knows sadness.
‘When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. ‘ John 11:33-35
He understands it and gets it. His time here on earth as a physical human being allowed Him to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste everything just like us. It’s ok to cry. Jesus did. It’s ok to have compassion that leads to tears. Jesus did. Lean into Christ. Let Him hold you. He knows your sorrow.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.’ Matthew 5:4
Anxiety & Frustration
God is always with us! As believers we have His promise that He will never leave us. That means He is there for us in our best times and more importantly during our worst times.
Doing a search on Biblegateway.com, using the NKJV, the word FEAR is in the Bible 457 times, ANXIOUS is in the Bible nine times, and WORRY is in the Bible 11 times. That tells me that no matter its context, God does not want us to fear. He wants us to trust in Him. God even states that fear does not come from Him.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. I John 4:18 (NKJV)
God is perfect. Perfect love not only comes from God but IS God! The devil, however, enjoys tormenting the believer. That’s why when we are fearful we need to turn to God’s word and claim it. Claim it out loud! The devil and his minions do not like hearing the Word of God! Something I am trying to work on is saying the Word out loud. Satan does not have the ability to read our minds, thankfully. He is not all knowing. Only God is all knowing.
“For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory…” Isaiah 66:18
So, speak Christ over any and all negative feelings through this. God has defeated Satan. Christ defeated the devil and spiritual death on the cross.
‘Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ James 4:7
As a believer in the entire Bible, including Revelation, I believe that Christ is going to return for His bride, the Church. We will meet Him in the clouds and be with Him while those left on this earth will be enduring a horrible seven year tribulation that is meant for Israel. God doesn’t want anyone to suffer. He doesn’t want anyone left behind.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17 (ESV)
Our time to shine is NOW! We need to be sharing the light of salvation through Jesus Christ and His love and grace; God’s redemption of man through His son. During difficult times, scary times, uncertain times the Christian has a solid foundation. We know that Christ is with us and for us. We were put on this earth to share the Word of God.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
Not one single person knows the day or hour of Christ’s return for His bride, the Church, but if ever there was a time that seemed closer to that hour it is now.
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36 (ESV)
In His teachings, Christ gave us the information we needed to be aware of the times and seasons. It might not be for a while yet, or it could be just around the corner, but we can see what is happening around us. We see it in the news, we hear people talking, and we know that Christ gave us exactly what we needed to know and that we just have to keep our eyes and ears open to what is happening around us. As we research what is going on with Israel, the Middle East, and the other players in the scenario we know things are lining up as God foretold. Jan Markell at Olive Tree Views states,
“Things aren’t falling apart, they are falling into place.”I Never Thought I Would See the Day
So many are hurting, and yes, even believers are hurting because we are human. However, by doing what God says to do, which is being in touch with other believers, we get the strength to share Christ’s love with the unbeliever, the unsaved.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV)
Whether it be in person, or through a phone call or Zoom, or through social media we can have the courage to share about the ABC’s of salvation and God’s love.
Whether we are still in “stay in place” or we are finally able to gather again, depending on when you read this, be bold in the Lord. Share His love. Even something as simple as asking if you can pray for someone or telling them thank you for their work. We don’t know what a simple act of prayer, kindness, or love will do to bring someone that much closer to receiving Christ into their heart.
Continue in your faith in Christ. Remember that God is in control, even when it appears that evil has the upper hand. The devil can never do more than God allows. God will allow trials, and even judgement, when nations stray from Him, but He is always in control. Emotions are human and it is ok to feel them. Focus on handling them in a Christ-like manner. Use the emotions for the positive rather than the negative. Be ready at all times for Christ’s return for his bride, the Church! Share, share, share the Gospel with everyone!
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 (ESV)