It has been a long few weeks. People are in a panic -- for toilet paper! We are worried about our jobs. Some of you have already been laid off and the bills start piling up real fast. We can’t hardly get out of our houses. We are all feeling it. For many it seems like the end of the world, and you know that wouldn’t be bad for those of us who know the Lord!
Listen to Him: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11.
With a God like that...
We don’t have to despair because God will work it all out for our good -- Romans 8:28.
I know you turn on the news and everyday things are getting worse and worse. You wonder if it will ever stop; ever be over and go back to normal. I’ll tell you like I used to tell my kids. It will all work out. We don’t have to despair because God will work it all out for our good.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
We know. We don’t have to wonder, doubt, there is no uncertainty in those words. They are are words of faith and hope.
All things work together. It doesn’t matter what happens, even the coronavirus, even a broken economy, even sickness and death.
It all works together for good. You can already see it, people coming to Christ, drawing closer to God, reaching out to help one another, spending time together as a family, being reminded of the important things that really matter. Amidst all the bad news out there you hear those stories of real love, kindness, unselfish service -- even the beer companies are using their alcohol for something good turning it into hand sanitizer.
The promise is to those that love the Lord and are called according to God's purpose. That’s us Christians; it’s our promise and it’s His purpose. I am so encouraged to see the church coming together though not physically but spiritually. It’s made us stronger, turned us to each other, mobilized God’s people even more. You are out there watching out for each other, using social media for sharing, encouraging, teaching the Bible. In our adversity we are praying, reading the Bible, serving more than ever before.
Instead of despairing let’s look for the good that God has done, is doing and will do for us!
We don’t have to be afraid because God will never leave us nor forsake us -- Hebrews 13:5-6.
Scary things are happening, yes, but we don’t have to let that keep us from being courageous. You see courage is not the absence of fear, but not letting fear stop us. Courage goes on even in the face of the greatest fears because it is stronger. How can we be so fearless?
Read Hebrews 13:5b-6 "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: 'The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"
He Himself says I will not leave you nor forsake you. Now I have heard people say that before but when the going gets tough they are nowhere to be found. Not so with God. He is faithful, you can rely on Him, you are never alone, you are not on your own, He is always with you. Even you who don’t know the Lord, He is right there if you will just reach out to Him (cf. Acts 17:27-28).
So that with good courage we say. It is because He says, "I will not leave you", that we can say, "I will not fear". Our courage comes from His promise. Those who have His promise have the courage to say, "I will not fear".
The Lord is my helper. No, I can’t do it on my own but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). He "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20). "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). There is "no one greater" (Hebrews 6:13).
So, I don’t have to be afraid of this life-threatening invisible virus because I have an ever-present, powerful invisible God who is just as real!
We don’t have to worry because God cares for us -- 1 Peter 5:7.
There is a lot to worry about -- the bills for one thing, and then that some (especially the vulnerable) will get sick and die. What a heavy burden to bear. We all feel the weight, but Peter says we don’t have to carry it -- "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
Cast all your cares on the Lord. We can share our burdens with each other. In fact, Paul wrote, "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). Still, there is Someone bigger and stronger than us all -- the Lord!
He cares for you. Not everybody does, but "He cares, O yes He cares". Somebody says, "Then why? Why the virus, sickness, suffering and death? I don’t understand." Of course, it all goes back to Satan and man’s sin from the beginning, but let me say two things: 1) Some things are too big for us, but God is faithful and we can trust Him just like a child who doesn’t always understand must learn to trust his parents. 2) He has proven His love for us so that we never have to doubt that He cares. This is best seen at the cross of Jesus (cf. Romans 5:8). How terrible the sin that separates us from God. How great the love that reconciles us back to Him. The next time you begin to question His love remember what He did for you that day.
These are God’s promises. Take them in your heart so you don’t have to worry, so you are not afraid and so you never despair.
Finally, let me remind you again of what God thinks about us. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
This is what He wants for us all, but we must truly believe (Mark 16:15-16). Saving faith demands from each one of us a decision to turn from sin to live for God (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19), to confess Jesus as the Christ, the Lord and Savior, the Son of God (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9-10), and to give yourself to Him in baptism so that your sins might be forgiven and you might be raised to a new life (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-6), and then, to never lose faith even in the face of death (Revelation 2:10).