The bible is littered with stories of how God works amidst chaos, turning that which the enemy means for evil into that which is good. There is no greater picture of this as we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday than Jesus dying upon the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:8 that the rulers of this world would never have crucified the Lord if they truly understood that their barbaric act was in-fact reconciling God with man forever.
No matter what it looks like, God is always working.
At this time, as the darkness of COVID19 sweeps across the nations of the world, I wanted to share four things I believe God is doing right now in the lives of believers.
1. GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO STEP INTO A FULLER MEASURE OF REST.
I believe at this time God is giving each one of us an opportunity to step into a greater measure of rest in Him. When life is busy and the noise of life is loud we can so easily forget our need for complete dependence upon God.
As we suddenly find ourselves in lock-down and our lives slow down, God is quietly highlighting areas of restlessness in our souls which He hasn’t been given permission to calm. The coronavirus will cause many to shred off the last bits of busyness, stress and performance and find complete peace in God.
If you have noticed a restlessness in your soul, see this as a gift and an opportunity for you to step into an ever greater measure of rest in Him. Jesus said in the book of Matthew “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In this time, it’s important for us to remember that what we do is not who we are. If you are struggling to find opportunities to ‘do’ things for God, don’t just run onto Facebook Live as an immediate response. Slow down, seek the Lord and rest. It may well be that God is wanting to strip performance and busyness out of your life and that will only come from seeking solely after Him during this new season.
2. MAKING US AWARE OF MISPLACED TRUST AND BRINGING REFINEMENT.
Through this pandemic the enemy desires to induce global fear across the nations of this world. As the virus continues to disperse, people begin to fear for their finances, their health and their family.
It’s important for us to recognise as Christians what fear is. Fear is illegitimate trust in the systems of this world and when the systems of this world begin to fail as they are now, fear is the response. It can often take something of a pandemic proportion for us to soberly realise that our trust was not completely in the One whom we believed it had been in all along.
God speaks very clearly on fear throughout the Bible, in fact ‘do not be afraid’ is mentioned 365 times throughout its pages giving us a reminder for every day of the year. Jesus speaks clearly in Matthew 6:25-34 about trusting God with our life as He is a faithful provider and in Psalm 91 we read how we don’t have to be afraid of any deadly disease because He Himself is our protector.
If you are facing fear and anxiety in this season, don’t pull away from God or condemn yourself for allowing it to rear its ugly head but instead see it as a gift, as a light revealing what system of the world you have been wrongly trusting in. This is a season for God to bring refinement and one which would have never come about had we not entered into this season of shaking.
3. STRENGTHENING OF THE FAMILY UNIT.
Isaiah 60:1-4 reads “Arise! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home.”
I believe one of the most important things that God is doing amidst the Coronavirus is that he is bringing families back together. There will be a shift in the culture on the other side of this pandemic where family units will be stronger than ever before.
From husbands to wives, siblings to siblings and parents to children, love will grow in the home. Families will no longer take each other for granted and learn to be thankful for each other like never before as they are forced to slow down and invest time into each other relationly.
There is such opportunity at this time for connection to grow, memories to be made and laughter to be commonplace. Do not let this time pass you by and do not allow the enemy to rob you of a time you could look back on and cherish for years to come.
For those of you suffering with anxiety at this time do not allow it to rob and paralyse you from creating memories with your family. I heard a preacher recently share that when this time is over he wants to look back over his photos on his iPhone and see memories, smiles and laughter. Again, what the enemy intended for evil, God will turn around for good.
My prayer is that as this season comes to a close and things return to how we’ve always known them to be, we will have learnt to continue to value and not take for granted the thing that is most important, relationship with others.
As a side note; for those of you reading this who are struggling due to being isolated and alone at this time without family around, the next point is especially important for you. The Lord is jealous for you and your time alone gives you greater opportunity to commune with the One who is worthy above all others, coming through this period with a greater desire to treasure those closest to you more than you ever have before.
4. CALLING US INTO A GREATER LEVEL OF DEVOTION.
Back in 2012, a small group of us were leading meetings in Liverpool where God was moving powerfully. Each and every Sunday we would see salvation, healing and miracles as God was glorified and passionately pursued.
It was at this time God showed me a picture of a wave and the opportunity for each of us to ride it. I saw this period in 2012 as a time of acceleration and momentum and for all who chose to press in, they would see themselves step into a new level of grace, power and authority on the other side.
I sense God is giving each of us a similar opportunity today. The question is, will we take it?
Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:22 explaining that the eye is the lamp of the body and if our vision is clear, our whole body will be flooded with light. In other words, when He is our sole, single focus, the light of God will shine beautifully through our lives.
At this time as the world slows down and distractions fall at the wayside, I believe there is a greater grace like never before for us to seek after and intimately know and encounter God.
Moments in the presence of Jesus are never wasted. In fact, they are of utmost importance because every moment can heal us, stir us and change us. Don’t miss this opportunity but recognise the grace that is available for you today to tend to the fire of devotion in the secret place like never before.
Instead of seeking after, many of you have in fact stepped back at this time. Don’t believe the lie that a lack of church services and face-to-face community can stop His presence touching your life. As a matter of fact, in this season, God will use our disconnection from the world around us to connect us to Him in a way we haven’t experienced before.
Whether your home is full of family noise or you are alone in the stillness take time today to talk to God. Take time to open up and listen to His voice. Take time in His Word and take time to worship.
I promise you, if you submit to Him at this time you won’t lose your way in this season but you will find your way in this season. Embrace the disconnect and seek after Him in the secret place.