“Unprecedented” with no precedent, never before in time.
It’s crazy when I think about it. 4 years and 5 months ago FBC’s building burned down. A few hours later we had our Sunday service in the Nanty Glo Firehall. Heavy snowstorms came & went. In my 11 years as Pastor of FBC we have never cancelled a Sunday morning worship service. The importance of meeting together was paramount. This is unprecedented.
We can give Satan blame/ credit for the pandemic. We can attribute the hysteria to his control over those who have nothing to cling to…at the mercy of media, whatever. But God reminds me of a truth that He proved the night of the fire. I saw a t-shirt advertised on line whose caption God used as a primer…
”The Church Has Left The Building”
Even tho’ we felt the need to cancel meeting together this Sunday due to our civic responsibility and the health of those most susceptible to illness, as unprecedented as it is, our worship needn’t stop. Live-streaming the message will continue as always, but I’ll miss the hugs, smiles...the warmth of my church family. See, we have an extraordinary “church”.
When viewed from God’s perspective we have been given an “unprecedented” opportunity. An opportunity to actually let God have control…finally. Will you waste this? God has kicked just about every crutch we have collectively leaned on out from under us. We are encouraged to self –quarantine…and in doing so God encourages us to actually take advantage of this “unprecedented” season...to distance ourselves from all the worries and anxieties of life…and to seek sanctuary with our loved ones at home…with Him through His Word!
1 Peter 5:6-11
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
My friend Bubba Fatula teaches Active Shooter Training to folks of all ages in how to deal with a life threatening situation, and right now seems appropriate.
“RUN- HIDE- FIGHT”.
Perhaps you could consider the “RUN” option when we consider how intimidating the threat of this pandemic appears.
Can we run from the media reports and social media opinions, run from trying to predict what’s going to happen, run from being frustrated by the actions of others, running from concerning myself with things outside my control? Running to Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
The “HIDE” option is also prudent. Follow the rules of social distancing, eliminating the possibility that we might, at worst, bring this malady to those with compromised immune systems. Hiding in the relationships of loved ones, reaching out to those homebound via phone, living out our profession of faith. What I call “Practical Christianity” Training myself to trust Him even tho’ we grope our way through this darkness. Hiding in Jesus.
Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.
Then we have the “FIGHT” option. Scripture says RESIST Satan…resist anxiety...defined as ”to exert oneself so as to counteract your defeat.” Fight the negative choices we make in dealing with stress and anxiety. Fight the urge to reach for artificial comfort…something that will be temporary….something that teaches you nothing, just getting you through the crisis at hand…but leaving you defenseless the next time troubles come.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
1 Peter 5: 6-11 tells us that no matter what the challenge…a church fire…cancer…an extraordinary world-wide pandemic…God promises to restore us…to make us strong, firm (confident) and steadfast.
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
He ain’t kiddin’. Relax. Take a deep breath. Don’t be anxious. Trust Him.