COVID 19 is real! At the same time, we need not fear it. Why? Because our hope and trust are in the LORD!
22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle [mortar and pestle is used grind up pills into powder], you will not remove their folly [fear, knee-jerk reactions] from him.
We can thank COVID 19 for showing us what is in our hearts. All of a sudden, going to church became a liability; singing together became a big deal, and even meeting with family is dangerous! What happens when we must weigh the cost–or potential cost–of what we have done perfunctorily for so long? We find out what is truly important to us.
So, how has your relationship with the LORD fared during the pandemic?
The exiles from Israel to Babylon found themselves in a similar predicament. Everything they had known had been uprooted–including them! Jeremiah sent them a letter giving them instructions on how to not only survive, but to thrive during their exile, which we can liken to our pandemic, especially if we have had to quarantine:
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:4-7
For us, it might be like Jeremiah saying, “Settle down and enjoy the solitude. Submit to your leaders’ admonitions. Don’t worry about getting sick; if you do, I will take care of you. Just don’t be the reason others get sick because of your stubbornness. Seek the peace and prosperity of your city, state, and country. Pray to the Lord for it, because if they prosper, you too will prosper.”
Verses 10-14 include a promise, a plan, a purpose, a provision, and a protection that I think we need to hear:
The Promise: 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. In God’s time, He WILL RESTORE us as a church and as a family.
The Plan: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. We can take great comfort in His plans. Just remember that His plans include taking us to be with Him someday.
The Purpose: 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Fellowship, companionship, worship. These are what our God desires! We don’t have to wait to give Him these. All we have to do is turn away from our willfulness and embrace the circumstances. Look for ways to fulfill His purpose. Virtual church, house church, private worship time, etc.
The Provision: 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. This verse is the “how to” of the passage. Are we seeking His face with all our hearts? Are we dying to the flesh (our own wills) and deliberately seeking His will alone? Are we choosing to praise Him regardless of our circumstances? We WILL find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts.
The Protection: 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” God has this. We don’t have to worry. Even if we are never the same: Social distancing may become a permanent part of our society; masks may be a permanent requirement in certain places; testing may become an in-home regular thing. So what? How does that change His Promise? His Plan? His Purpose? His Provision or His Protection? It Doesn’t!
Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Exalting our Savior, whether in life or in death, is what attracts those who are interested to Him. They are looking for something beyond COVID. Let’s give “it” to them. Let’s show them Jesus!
Abba, may You be exalted during this time of stress and uncertainty. May we rest in Your Promise, Your Plan, Your Purpose, Your Provision and Your Protection–not from the virus, but from the fear that comes with the virus. Three times in Luke 12 I read today, “Do not be afraid.” I take great comfort in those words! May my confidence be in You and You alone, O LORD. Amen.
‘Tis the season: We Three Kings-COVID version