Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 1, 2020

living wisely and well

Certainly, this must be the mother of all April fool’s jokes.  Did we all just wake up to the world shut-down? Has our existence changed to the point where church is on a computer screen, fine dining comes in a paper bag, important meetings are on Zoom, exercise is on the long-forgotten treadmill, 65 is elderly and millennials are instructing parents to stop going out so much? Can’t we just wake up? Oops, this may be April 1st, but what we all woke up to this morning is anything but a joke. However, we have been given a window of 30 more days to hopefully slow the virus and re-open our country and our lives. So what should a Christ-follower do?

It is so easy to breathe the words, “What should we do?”  My thoughts for this article were focused on how to navigate the next 30 days in light of Covid-19 when a friend reminded me last night that too much focus on the problem distracts from resting in the Problem Solver.  There is no doubt that everyone’s focus right now is on Covid -19 (and I won’t ignore it) but navigating the problem ought not to distract us from a clear focus on where our help comes from.

I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
Psalm 121:1-2

So, what should we do? Could it be that this virus is reminding us what we should do and how we should live all the time?

Most Christ followers realize that we are ambassadors of Christ and want to present the gospel message with our lives and words. However, life and our own fears often get in the way of being vocal ministers of reconciliation. We shouldn’t need a virus to be vocal about where our help comes from and how true peace is found.

Is there really any difference in taking life one moment at a time than there was a month ago? Just last week I used words that fit any battle, not just this one.  As soon as this circumstance is behind, life will throw another one. And the words of David Jeremiah in Overcomer will still be true.

“Being an Overcomer isn’t something we accomplish by our own power and wisdom. When we can’t see how our everyday decisions and actions fit into God’s cosmic plan, God essentially says to us, ‘Let Me relieve you of that worry, that fear. Just take this one little step into the light I have placed in front of you, and I will see to it that your faithful action will fit into the overarching plan and accomplish both My goals and your good.’”

In the routine of life, we talk about God’s power, strength and ever-present help. But we often get so focused on the next problem that we lose sight of His ability to move mountains, and our moods are dictated by all that surrounds us. We struggle with what John Ortberg calls a small view of God.  Should you or I have to be in a pandemic to re-focus on the size of our all- sufficient God? Again, review the earlier printed statement from Ortberg in If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.

“I strongly believe that the way we live is a consequence of the size of our God. The problem many of us have is that our God is too small. We are not convinced that we are absolutely safe in the hands of a fully competent, all-knowing, ever-present God. When we wake up in the morning, what happens if we live with a small God? We live in a constant state of fear and anxiety because everything depends on us. Our mood will be governed by our circumstances.”

Obviously, my intent and even the re-printing of quotes is to challenge our thinking that living wisely and well (Ps-90:12) is not about a crisis, but how we should live daily, moment by moment.  The next 30 days will be a challenge, but life will not stop being difficult when the world re-opens. And if we need this crisis to remind us to be fully devoted followers of Christ, then the joke is on us!

Maybe we all need to pray:

Father, I have let the moment distract me from resting in You. But today, I claim the truth that my help is in You…maker of heaven and earth. I will choose to focus on You during the next 30 days and trust you in each moment.  Use me as the hands and feet of Jesus! Then when it is all over, I commit to still living wisely and well!

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