By Juan Sanchez
We’ve entered a season of uncertainty that, while previously unknown to us, isn’t unknown to our Lord and his Church.
In 1918-1919, the world faced a similar situation when the Spanish flu spread across the globe and killed over 50 million people.
Just like today, churches were forced to respond to a global pandemic during that time. There’s nothing new under the sun.
While it’s critical we develop a pastoral care plan to care for our members during this season, one of the lessons our team is learning is the Word that sustained us prior to this pandemic is also the means that’ll sustain us during this unique and uncertain season.
My aim is to encourage you with several Scriptures that have encouraged me during these last few weeks.
Study the book of Ruth and share it with your people. It reminds us the Lord is sovereign, and He’s sustaining all things, operating through all human actions, and governing everything to His appointed ends for His glory, the good of His people, and our joy.
God isn’t surprised by this virus. He’ll sustain us and hold us fast. That doesn’t mean we won’t get sick or even die.
Still, He’ll give us all we need to endure faithfully until this is over, we breathe no more, or Jesus returns. Let us, then, stand fast in the Lord.
2. Joshua 23:14
At the end of his life, Joshua reminded Israel:
“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.”
That is a glorious promise! Just as God had declared to Moses, so God fulfilled every promise to his people.
Though we’re not under the Mosaic covenant, we still worship the same God!
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ Jesus]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is this God who established us with you in Christ …” (2 Corinthians 1:20-21).
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. And I know some of your church members are afraid, but the God who has promised to be with us is the God who’s with us and for us in Jesus Christ.
Help your people cling to the hope we have in Christ and don’t be afraid. All the hardships, sufferings, and uncertainties we face now are preparing us for heaven (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
3. Luke 13:1-9
Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was asked if certain tragic events were God’s judgments—one, a human evil (a massacre of Galileans by Pilate) and the other a natural evil (a tower in Siloam falling on eighteen people).
Jesus responded that those who suffered these tragedies were no worse sinners than anyone else. All have sinned and deserve God’s judgment.
Therefore, Jesus said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). You see, wars, pestilence, famine—all evil—is meant to remind us of God’s righteous judgment and lead us to repentance.
What if the coronavirus and the spread of COVID-19 are, in some way, God’s answer to our prayers for national, even global, revival? What if this will be a means by which God brings about repentance throughout the world?
We don’t know. What we do know is God is in control and this disease is a result of Adam’s sin we’ve all inherited. Therefore, let’s all live lives in keeping with repentance (Luke 13:6-9).
4. Philippians 4:6-7
I know it’s hard not to be anxious when there are so many unknowns, but if God is both sovereign and good, then He’ll be faithful.
So, rather than worry, or even panic, we’re invited to make our requests known to Him in prayer.
When we do that, the result is peace—the peace that surpasses all understanding. This peace will guard our hearts and our thoughts.
As I read over these Scriptures and continue in my daily Bible reading, the Lord continually points me to His goodness and grace.
He will hold us fast. He’s already prepared us for what we’re facing through His Word.
Now, we must believe. We must believe him. We must believe his Word. And we must also wait.
We must wait on the Lord, yet waiting on the Lord is not inactivity.
As we wait, we will pray. And as we wait, we will plan, strategically and wisely in faith, not presuming on the Lord’s grace, but seeking His will for His glory, the good of our brothers and sisters, the witness to our neighbors, and for our joy.