It isn’t very often you find yourself on the receiving end of toilet paper shortages, mass panic, and a global pandemic. A few months ago, 2020 hardly seemed like the year our nation, and our world, would face something few in this lifetime have endured. And yet, here we are. Thousands of schools have shuttered their doors, families have sheltered safely in their homes, and the world has begun to move in slower motion. In a nation where we seldom stop to take a deep breath, we are relegated to working from home, perhaps forcing our hand to try a simpler way of life.
Some have gotten aboard a hypothetical ship of panic, with anxiety seated firmly at the helm. Others have chosen to stock up on the essentials, toilet paper and Redbox movies included, for weeks of solitude (every introvert’s dream). Another group seems less concerned, and have adjusted to “business per usual”, though nothing is of the usual variety these days. Regardless of the mindset you have adopted during these uncertain times, it is important that we as believers choose daily to ask for peace and wisdom to guide our actions, do God’s will, and serve others.
In the book of John (14:27), we see Jesus nearing the end of His time on earth, telling the disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” He had walked with the disciples for three years, calming the storms, providing food, and enduring the world alongside them as a human. And yet, He never wavered, never sinned, and never was sidetracked from His duties on earth. He was their sense of security, and He was leaving. Jesus received His own peace from rising early in the morning to convene with His father (Mark 1:35), and was verbally stating He would leave His peace with the disciples. John 14:27 continues with,
“I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”
If the son of God spent time daily with His Father, then should we not do that as well? We must go to our good Father daily to be filled with peace. “Do not be afraid” is a commandment, not a suggestion, for our daily life. To truly live this out, we must present our requests in prayer to Him, and we will receive peace that surpasses all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).
With the peace we find from seeking Him daily (through prayer and reading the Bible), we need to be mindful of how we are spending our time. In this season especially, we see so many people seeking peace and security, desperately searching for something. We have a duty as believers to watch for this and be willing to share the hope of our salvation with a lost and broken world. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 encourages us, “and as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good”. This may look like actively sharing the gospel to a stressed cashier at Walmart, bringing groceries to a neighbor, or praying with someone over the phone.
As believers, clothed in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11), we can speak truth to those without hope, encourage community, and look for ways to actively serve others. Although we cannot meet in physical church buildings, we can use technological platforms to meet as a group. We can reach out to an elderly neighbor and offer to gather their groceries or run an errand. We can check in on our friends and family caring for the sick in hospitals, send letters to those in rehab and nursing home facilities, and encourage each other daily with the gospel. Praise Jesus, for we do not have to grieve as others do who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Pray with me as we place our trust, hope and faith in the God who never fails to hold us in His mighty hands.
Lord, though we may be feeling saddened, lonely, or afraid today in the midst of our global circumstances, we rest in you. We pray over those who are ill, as well as the men and women who are diligently caring for the sick in hospital facilities. We trust that you, who made the heavens and the earth and created light to burst through the darkness, are on your throne. Even in a global pandemic, you are good. We pray that you will instill peace in our hearts, challenge us, and guide our steps as we look to You. Let us do Your work ever more diligently in times of great strife as we anxiously await your return. Until that day, we trust and hope in Your perfect and holy name. Amen.