Covid-19 has taken our world by storm—leaving a path of destruction in it’s wake.
But there is a God in heaven and this virus doesn’t surprise Him.
It rages through continents, countries, cities, neighborhoods, and homes depositing anxiety, worry, and fear, illness, and death.
But there is a God in heaven who still sits on the throne.
Uncertainty of the aftermath feeds the fear inviting in doubt, paranoia, and unbelief.
But there is a God in heaven who is for us, not against us. Amen!
I cling to this truth even
- As people I care about are getting infected.
- As people I know are losing family and friends to this virus.
- As the isolation is causing many to spiral into depression.
- As millions losing jobs and businesses.
- As our schedules are obliterated, internships are canceled, and life as we know it is forever changed.
- As my husband, our sole bread-winner, joins the millions laid-off or furloughed.
- As I strive to follow God’s lead to start a podcast and self-publish my Bible study, wondering where the financial resources are going to come from.
- As I seek Him to determine my role in our present chaos and in the aftermath that is sure to follow.
Believe me, my friend, when I say cling, I mean CLING!
My faith is strong, but it wavers every now and then. I get distracted by what’s going on around me. I forget to look Up, to fix my eyes on Jesus. I get blinded by the madness around me and lose sight of God’s truth as the darkness closes in. And then soul-gripping fear slips in past my defenses.
Despite my prayers and saturating myself in His Word, there are moments I find myself on my face before Him, cheeks saturated with tears, pouring out my worry and fear. Voicing my uncertainty. Surrendering to His authority. Trying to discern where He is leading me, us, in all this, through all this.
Yesterday morning was one of those moments.
Then, while reading Luke 22, I felt His embrace and peace flooded my soul as I remembered He’s still in control and I’m not.
As I read, I heard Him whisper “wait for it, wait for it.” Then I came to verses 31-32, and THERE it was! These verses jumped off the page and onto the floor beneath my feet. They became vibrantly relevant to my NOW! OUR NOW!
Reread these verses putting your name in place of Simon’s:
_________________, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, ___________, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers [and sisters].
Can you feel the power of Christ’s words? Can you hear the tenderness in His voice? The love? The respect? The warning? The grace? The command?
Hold on to that as we move forward.
…Satan has asked…
Did you catch that?
Read it again.
Satan HAD TO ASK for permission!
Sometimes we believe Satan is all-powerful. But he’s NOT!!! That’s a lie, only God is all-powerful! Satan was created by God, which means he still answers to his Creator and has to get permission to test us. And when He tests us, he has to stay within the boundaries God gave him. (See Job 1:6-12)
Oh, yes! There is a God in Heaven! And He’s ours! Amen?
Remember: Therefore, God elevated [Jesus] to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11) This includes Satan.
Friend, God allows Satan to test us
- To refine us
- To expose sin
- To reveal where our character is cracked and eroding
- To draw us into a deeper relationship with Him
- To refine, enhance, and strengthen our character, integrity, and faith
- To reveal His truth and lavish us with His grace and love
BUT Satan can only test us within the boundaries God prescribes…and God keeps an eye on all of it…is in control of ALL of it.
Tell me, how does that truth become vibrantly relevant to your now?
Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
But Jesus didn’t stop there! Let’s keep going.
…to sift each of you like wheat…
Satan’s desire is to crush us. To destroy our faith. To make it and us as worthless of the chaff that covers the wheat kernel.
But what Satan means for evil Jesus uses for good AND His glory.
Instead of crushing us, Jesus is allowing us to feel pressure. To get uncomfortable. To be taken out of our routines and away from our distractions, amusements, and extra-curriculars in order to come face-to-face with ourselves.
Our real selves.
- Our bad habits and hidden sins.
- Our negativity and toxic mindset.
- Our selfishness and pride.
- Our critical spirit and habitual gossiping.
- Our incessant complaining and entitled attitudes.
- Our substance abuse and compulsive spending.
- Our overeating and addiction to porn.
- Our self-sufficiency and arrogance.
- Our________________(you fill in the blank)
Jesus is shedding light on the things we chase after, the lies we cling to–the things we put our identity in: sports, academics, career, possessions, success, finances, political standing, sexual orientation, relationships, physical appearance, ___________________.
He is reminding us Whose we are and who we are BECAUSE of Whose we are.
He is giving us a moment to hit pause and surrender all these things to Him. To repent and turn back to Him. To purge these things from our life. To put them under His authority and return to following Him.
Once we do that, there’s room for the Spirit to move!
He is able to take over. To guide and lead us in our calling.
There’s room for Him to prepare us to be Jesus’s hands and feet during this quarantine and when it’s over.
I don’t believe things will be the same once this is over. After 9-11 we had a revival in our land that lasted a few years. It was amazing. Our churches were full. Our nation as a whole was seeking God, truth, and direction. However, our churches weren’t prepared for it. Believers weren’t prepared for the great influx in number and their needs. Though we did our best, our best wasn’t good enough. And in many cases the truth of the Bible was watered down and one-on-one discipleship of new believers was weak or non-existent. As a result, many of those who walked through our church doors soon walked out again feeling discouraged and disillusioned.
But it doesn’t have to be that way this time. WE HAVE TIME TO PREPARE!
And it starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with prayer and and authentic pouring out of our self-sufficient, self-absorbed lifestyle and realizing out true dependence on God. I don’t know about you, but the fact that I have absolutely no control over anything has really hit home in the last few weeks. And realizing I serve a God in heave who still sits on the throne and is still in control calms the storm of fear and anxiety raging inside.
…But I have pleaded in prayer for you, _________, that your faith should not fail…
Jesus is praying for you! Pleading in prayer for YOU! For me! Let that settle on your heart. Jesus is praying that your faith won’t fail during this time.
Our faith may falter. Fear may get hold of us and threaten to choke the life out of us. But Jesus is pleading in praying for us, that our faith will not be NOT DESTROYED!
How does that resonate in your heart, soul, and mind?
Remember who He is talking to here. Peter!
- The same man who hours after this conversation denied Jesus 3 times.
- Peter, whom Jesus restored.
- Peter who later became a powerful leader and a pillar of His Church.
The courage this gives me! The determination! The faith!
Thank you Jesus! I put my trust in You and You alone!
…So when you have repented and turned back to me again, strengthen your brothers.
We know Peter’s story. And God knows ours. All of ours. From beginning to end and every detail in-between.
And He had chosen US–you and me–to be relevant in this time. In this place. In this generation. Doesn’t that just thrill you down to your toes??!!!
Pray, Sweet One!
Send your prayers to the Father along with those of His Son. Determine to choose faith regardless of how difficult it gets. Saturate yourself in His Word. Then you will be prepared to put it into action when you see a Brother or Sister struggling. You will be equipped to help them up. To encourage them. To pray with them. To disciple them. To assist them where, when, and how you can.
And when you stumble, when you struggle, when your faith falters—allow others to help you.
We are all part of the same body! In order to stay healthy, we must take care of each other.
Remember, we have something Peter didn’t yet have during this conversation with Jesus and when he denied Him—we have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead! (Ephesians 1:19-21)
And that power is enacted through prayer.
- Ask God to prepare you.
- Ask for wisdom, insight, perception, and discernment on how to best prepare.
- Ask what role He needs you to take, and to know to best serve Him.
- Ask Him to reveal what in your life need to go, what needs to stay, and what needs to be refined.
Beloved, take this time to search your heart and pour out everything that doesn’t honor Him. Ask Him to give you a fresh anointing of the Spirit to further His Kingdom here on earth.
Because I firmly believe we’re going to have an opportunity like never before to share the Gospel, the deepen our faith, the enhance the faith of fellow believers. We’ll be able to be the hands and feet of Christ like never before in our homes, neighborhoods, communities, schools, workplaces, churches, and world.
Can you see it?? The harvest??
Oh, I can! And it thrills me!
But first we have to prepare ourselves for the work. We need to pray. Saturate ourselves in the Word. And seek God for direction.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, so please leave a note. I promise to respond.
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