For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation
The covid-19 has caused governments, organisations and individuals to change their plans, but has it caused God to change His plans? The answer is no.
God does not change His plans for anyone or for anything. God planned to bless Isaac but a famine arose in the land and Isaac thought about going down to Egypt. God knew Isaac’s intentions and told him to stay in the land of Gerar and “I will bless you”.
Did I hear that correctly? God was going to bless Isaac in a famine? God was going to bless Isaac in an uncertain time for those who depended on sowing and reaping? Yes.
The Bible records that Isaac obeyed God ,sowed seed as usual and God’s plan of good came to pass:
When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him.Genesis 26:12 New Living Translation
God did not change His plans of good for Isaac even though there was a famine and God will not change His plans of good for the Church as a body and His church as individuals even though there is a pandemic lurking around.
God is almighty and His might is not limited by the changes which occur in the world. His power can not be restricted by the dictates of earthly governments.
If God does not cancel His plans in a crisis then we should not cancel our trust in Him in a crisis. Let us continue to trust Him until we see His plans for us come to pass.
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.Psalm 27:13 King James Version
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation
I am not a mother and it is not Mother’s Day. It is Good Friday but I want to salute all women because the experience of giving birth to a child is nothing to be taken lightly. Child birth is usually an experience of excruciating pain and trouble for the woman. When Judah was beseiged and taunted by the King of Assyria, King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the Prophet Isaiah:
This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.Isaiah 37:3 New Living Translation
It was a day of trouble for Judah. The King of Assyria sent men to insult and disgrace Hezekiah and the entire nation of Judah. After experiencing trouble, insults and disgrace Hezekiah remembered child birth. he remembered the great trouble a woman experiences to give birth to a child, especially when that woman does not have the strength to push when it is time to push.
How is this relevant to Good Friday? Good Friday is the day we remember the suffering, the pain and the ultimate death of Jesus Christ on a wooden cross. Today is the day we remember how Jesus was insulted and disgraced. Today is the day we remember how the Son of God was treated like a criminal even though he was as innocent as a newborn baby.
However, Good Friday was not only a day of death. In the same way a woman has to experience pain to give birth to a child Jesus had to experience pain to give birth to something special.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.Isaiah 53:5 New Living Translation
On Good Friday salvation for all mankind was born
On Good Friday a new way into God’s presence was born
Without Good Friday there would be no Christians. Jesus experienced the trouble, insults and disgrace so that mankind could be healed. Jesus experienced the excruciating pain and suffering so that human beings could become children of God through faith.
The world is experiencing a time of trouble. To some this trouble seems to be never ending. Today I want to encourage us to remember what Jesus experienced at the hands of the Roman soldiers. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that enabled us to become who we are. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that made the way possible for us to become children of faith.
Jesus overcame that time of trouble. As a child of faith you can overcome this time of trouble also.
HAVE A BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY!
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.Ephesians 2:8 New Living Translation
Do you know who you are? Every person born into this world was born under a certain set of circumstances. Some were born in times of war. Some were born in times of peace. Some were born in a palace. Some were born in the humblest of places.
If you heard the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and you believed what you heard then you are a child of God. Your physical birth may not have occurred under the best of circumstances but your spiritual birth occurred through the greatest of circumstances; through faith in Jesus Christ.
After we are born and we start to live in this world, our experiences start to shape you we become. Even when we are adults, we still live according to what people said about us when we were young. When we have only experienced negativity in our lives we start to have a negative outlook of life. We start to have a negative outlook on those around us. Then we find ourselves in a never-ending storm.
It is the same in our spiritual walk with God. Our negative experiences before we became Christians can shape how we relate to God as Christians. When trouble comes while we are Christians we start to remember the negative experiences of the past. We start to believe that God is not with us. We start to think that we are not worthy to follow Christ. However, it is in these moments that we must remember that we are children of faith.
The grace of God gave us the opportunity to be saved. The grace of God opened the door of salvation. Faith caused us to walk through that door. The Apostle Paul reminded us:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.Romans 5:8 New Living Translation
While the storms of sin were raging in and around us God opened the door of salvation. While we were haunted and running from the storms of our past God made a way of escape.
We became new persons when we walked through the door of salvation. We became children of faith. When the storms of life come before us we must remember who we are in Christ. The storm of the coronavirus is raging all around us and affecting us in many different ways but even in these moments you must remember:
You are a child of faith!
Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.Psalm 107:28-29 King James Version
What causes the perfect storm? Conditions and circumstances must be perfectly aligned to cause the perfect storm. The perfect storm is a rare event. It does not happen everyday. The perfect storm happens unexpectedly. What can human beings do in the face of such a perfect event?
In October 1991 three storms converged in the Atlantic causing 40-80 foot waves. The Andrea Gail, a fishing vessel with a six-member crew, was caught in this unusual event. Tragically, the fishing vessel and her crew were lost.
The perfect storm occurred at the height of the Atlantic hurricane season but no one could have predicted that it would occur. No one could have predicted that the Andrea Gail and her crew would encounter such a horrific event in the middle of the sea. A book was written about the events surrounding the Perfect Storm. A movie was made to bring the account to life.
In the Bible, the Psalmist tells us about the terrifying experiences of those who work on the seas:
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.Psalm 107:23-27 King James Version
The Psalmist paints a very distressing picture. Those who work on the seas can encounter such great storms that the force of the winds and the height of the waves cause their souls to “melt” and their mental state to be shaken to the point where they are at “their wits’ end”.
The Psalmist tells us that while these men and women are being tossed to and fro, surrounded by a force over which they have no control, their focus starts to change. They see the high waves, they feel the strong winds but even in their great distress they start to remember God and they cry to Him:
Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.Psalm 107:28 King James Version
The Lord God can match and out match any storm. The greatest obstacle must give way to the Great God. The highest wave must bow to the Most high God. The perfect storm must obey the Perfect God. Adversity can cast a dark shadow over our perception of the character of God or whether God is present with us but it is in the times of adversity that we must remember the Perfect God.
In the face of the Perfect Storm Jesus remembered the Perfect God. In times of trouble let us remember the Perfect God.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!Isaiah 26:3 New Living Translation
The eye of the storm is:
The central part of a tropical cyclone, where winds are light, skies are generally clear… (www.encyclopedia.com)
The earth is currently experiencing a storm. Nations of the world are experiencing a storm. Communities are experiencing a storm. Families are experiencing a storm. This storm is not one of the usual tropical storms the earth experiences. This is a medical storm; a dangerous plague which has spread throughout the entire world. This storm is covid-19 or the coronavirus.
It is very sad and distressing to hear and see how the corona virus is wreaking havoc in the earth but I want us to remember one thing:
Even the most dangerous and deadly storms have an eye.
Even the most dangerous and deadly storms have a place where winds are light and the skies are clear. Even the most dangerous and deadly storms have a place where you can experience peace.
The Lord God promised to keep us in perfect peace if we keep our minds focused on Him. The mind that is focused on God is the mind that will experience the perfect peace of God. The person who fixes their eye on God and His Kingdom of Peace is the person who will remain in the eye of the storm.
Jesus was sleeping during a storm on the sea. He was having a peaceful sleep. His disciples were awake, panicking and fearing the worst. When the disciples woke Jesus His peace did not leave. Jesus simply calmed the storm and then asked His disciples:
Why are you so fearful? (Mark 4:40 King James Version)
The world is experiencing a storm and many nations are in the same boat. Many churches are in the same boat. Many Christians are in the same boat. However, let’s remember that Jesus is in the boat with us. Let’s remember that a promise of perfect peace is in the boat with us.
Let us awaken that wonderful promise of God and stay in the eye of the corona storm.
There are several storms recorded in the Bible. How did persons in the Bible make it through these storms? What caused the people of God to escape these storms unharmed? What did God say to His people and what did God do for His people during these storms?
As the storm of the corona virus continues to rage on the earth it is important for us to answer the above questions. The answers to those questions reveal keys which can help us to remain faithful to God and experience the blessings of God in this season.
Let’s take a look at those faith keys!
Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”Luke 8:25 New Living Translation
You have heard of fair-weather friends; friends which are only around when everything is going well. In spiritual matters there is a fair-weather faith; faith which is only around when everything is going well. Fair-weather faith is the worst kind of faith to have because it leaves you at the first sign of trouble. Fair-weather faith leaves you at the first sign of distress. Fair weather faith leaves you at the first sign of pain.
The children of Israel had fair-weather faith in the wilderness. When they did not see any water they complained to Moses about dying of thirst. When they did not see any food they complained to Moses about dying of hunger. When they heard of the high walls and the giants in the Promised Land they complained to Moses about bringing them out of Egypt to die.
God does not want our faith to change when the weather changes. God does not want our faith to change when our home environment changes. God does not want our faith to change when our work environment changes. God wants our faith to be steadfast and unmovable no matter what is happening around us.