Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 17, 2020

We need to land squarely

Consider the world of seven days ago. There was a virus, and we were all a bit concerned. Then that concern went into overdrive.  Today, Covid-19 dominates almost every discussion, and social distancing is now a popular phrase. The world of seven days ago is a distant memory. Normal activities for this week include: working from home; driving through for a take-out meal; determining just the right time to visit the grocery store; understanding what children need and elder isolation. And all this while living six feet apart … or did someone say three?! What a difference a week makes!! As Christ-followers, how should we view and respond to something that is so unnerving, far-reaching, and with seemingly no quick resolution?

Years ago, I was challenged with what to do in situations I could not control, fix or avoid. Covid-19 certainly tempts each one of us in the direction of a place that seems a bit uncontrollable, with no real capacity to fix or avoid. So what do Christ-followers do?

We need to land squarely on our faith and trust in our unfailing and unchanging God. It is hard to imagine, but we all experienced similar but different emotions on 9/11 with terrorism, and then again in 2008 when the financial world collapsed. Three eruptions in twenty years, but God still holds it all and He knows right where each of us is and what we need. There is no hopelessness when our eyes are fixed on our Father. Words came from a friend yesterday that were penned by Martin Luther concerning the Black Death. His perspective from another time was timeless.

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, He will surely find me, and I have done what He has expected of me, and so I am not responsible for either my death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however, I shall not avoid place or person. I shall go freely as stated above. See this is such God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” (Luther’s Works; Vol 43, pg. 132).

Well said from a long-ago generation! When I started this article, faith over fear was on my mind. But in Christ, we already know that. So, I (and we) have a challenge. Christ-followers around the world are praying, trusting (while battling fearful emotions), and wanting to help. Look at Romans 12:9-13 with me, and then accept the opportunity to minister.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (NLT)

With Covid-19 interrupting our world, will you choose with me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to just one or two people a day? It could be a phone call to encourage or pray with someone, helping with groceries, or maybe sending a gift card. Be who you are in Christ to others, and genuinely touch lives in the next seven days. Narrow spiritual and relational distance while respecting the social kind. There may never be a better moment to show His love! Don’t expect others to do what you can do, and let your faith comfort the fears of others.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We believe God may be inviting us back into a moment in time or season of life relative to Journey OnWord. He has stirred our collective hearts to offer some encouragement once again, rooted in biblical truth, for a time such as this. We don’t know the answers to the questions of “How often will you post?” or “Does this mean Journey is back?” For now, we listen for God’s prompt and joy in the opportunity to share with you again.


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