It’s an interesting time in the world right now, to say the least. Stock markets are fluctuating, stores are empty, and schools are closing. The control that I seek over my life seems to be slipping from my fingers at an alarming rate.
The hardest part of this entire coronavirus ordeal, for me, is the uncertainty of it all. How many people will get sick? How long will the quarantine last? Will I be able to work? If not, will I still be paid?
Fortunately, the truth is, this kind of situation isn’t much different than the typical day-to-day in the life of a Christian. Of course, I don’t mean that this pandemic isn’t having a profound impact on how your life is being lived – that would be ridiculous.
What I am saying is that uncertainty is all but promised to the church by God and his Word.
Let’s take a quick look at the history of God’s people.
There are about twenty-three verses of scripture between the creation of humanity and the origin of sin and consequential fall of humanity and the world in which we live. Twenty-three verses in which humankind existed in complete harmony with their Creator and the rest of its creation. Statistically-speaking, only about .074 percent of the Bible describes a time when the future of mankind was not uncertain, and the perfection of God’s vision did not reign over the earth.
Since Genesis 3:6, however, the story of the church has been one fraught with uncertainty and change. The Israelites were enslaved, exiled, and attacked. The disciples of Jesus were scorned, hunted, and killed. The early church was persecuted and demonized. It’s hard to read the stories of Acts and believe that the followers of The Way always felt at peace, or even whether they would survive to see the next day.
Even beyond the timeline of scripture, God’s people have continued to experience not only religious hostility, but the all-consuming chaos of the world at large. We’ve faced war, natural disaster, political upheaval, and every other kind of trial and tribulation that may be named. Human history contains no event through which the church has not also experiencing fear and upheaval.
However, if we are going to talk about the reality of the danger and uncertainty of the world in which we live, we then must also declare the truth that the God we follow is truly the world’s antithesis. Where our earthly future is fraught with peril, our eternal future is safe and sound. Where our comforts of this life are fleeting and the routine we crave is fragile, the faithfulness and peace of our Lord is unyielding.
A repeating theme of scripture is God’s unwillingness to abandon His people.
Isaiah 41:10 says “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 says Be strong and courageous. “Do not fear or be in dread… for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Even Jesus’ final words to his disciples before ascending to Heaven were a promise: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
So, why then, fellow sons and daughters of the almighty God, should this new challenge be any different? In a time when fear is so easily found, we, as followers of Christ, have the greatest reason to not be afraid: the steadfastness and love of the One who conquered death itself.
Pastor Kyle Fox