By Pastor Jay Grant —
I believe it is dangerous and foolhardy for followers of Jesus to keep feeding ourselves with the perspective of the news and social media, who are opining endlessly on the coronavirus outbreak. For one thing most of the claims keep changing. For another, the news is largely negative, fostering fear, worry and anxiety. Yes, I know, be cautious. And careful. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important. But I suggest cutting way back on the news.
Hey everyone. A needed reminder. Our lives are in GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hands. The Scriptures tell us over and over to put our full trust in God. We are not to fear. We are not to lose heart. We are not to live in despair. Hold fast to the promises of God. Believe what the Word of God teaches us. Do not live in doubt. Get rid of unbelief.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not to your own understand (or the news). In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.Ã¢â‚¬Â Proverbs 3:5-6
Ã¢â‚¬Å“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. (like now)Ã¢â‚¬Â Psalm 46:1
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mt. Zion which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forever.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In this world you will have tribulation but be encouraged, I have overcome this world.Ã¢â‚¬Â John 16:33
So here we are in a time of tribulation. Here we are in a moment when we can surely see how much we really trust God. Does this mean everything goes our way? Of course not. There is suffering, trials and problems throughout our life and this virus is one of the bigger ones. We may suffer loss. Some may fall ill. Someone close to us may die. I may die. But I am not going to die one second sooner than I am supposed to. Not one second.
This virus doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rule over me. Circumstances donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rule over me. Satan doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rule over me. Only God rules over me. And whatever happens to me, God is in the middle of it. Concerning life and death, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always held tightly to these promisesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in Your book they were ALL written, the days ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.Ã¢â‚¬Â Psalm 139:16
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Teach us to number our days, Lord, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.Ã¢â‚¬Â Psalm 90:12
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lord, make me to know my end, and the extent of my days, let me know how transient I am.Ã¢â‚¬Â Ps 39:4
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord abides forever.Ã¢â‚¬Â 1 Peter 1:24-25
One of the greatest promises to be found anywhere in the Word of God
So everybody. Enough. No more of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s overwhelmingly negative perspective. For me, I love the perspective of the prophet Habakkuk who spoke boldly at a disastrous time in IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s historyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
“Though the fig tree not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food. Though the flock be cut off from the fold, and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength and He has made my feet like hindÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feet, And makes me walk on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
In todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vernacular, I paraphrase the prophet, who was undaunted by the trials of his day.
Though our hearts grow restless, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re stuck in the house Though the news drone on and the forecast is rough
Though our foodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s running short and the TP is gone
Yet I will, I choose, I shall, exult in the Lord my God
To bless His name at all times, and praise Him forevermore
For He alone is my hope, the One I love, and I will put my trust in Him
For He will not fail me and all of His promises shall come to pass.
I lift my heart, I lift my hands, I lift my entire being to the Lord, the Lover of my soul.
Jay Grant is the Pastor of Prayer at Church by the Sea in Laguna Beach, California