In Philippians 4: 11, Paul said he “learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Did I read that right? Did he really say – “whatever the circumstances?” I double checked, he did!
How about if we’re imprisoned, flogged, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, hungry, cold and naked? Oh ya, all that happened to Paul and is recorded in (2 Corinthians 11: 24-27)! Paul was – five times flogged, three times beaten with rods, three times shipwrecked, and ultimately died (possibly beheaded) while living his last years in a Roman prison.
So what about a virus? Could Paul have remained “content” if he had the coronavirus? Paul says he was “given a thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). We don’t know specifically what the “thorn” was, whether it was a physical illness, a relationship issue, or something else. But we do know that after he pleaded with the Lord three times for relief, Jesus told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let’s see how Paul responded.
Paul said, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).
Natural Vs Spiritual Life
During trying times when we endure hardships, and a break in our comfortable (sometimes self-absorbed) lives of plenty, can we remain content in Christ (our sufficiency)? Can a virus and all its related trials (social distancing; toilet paper, bread, milk, and cleaning product shortages; church, school, business, restaurant closings, etc…) keep us from God’s love and perfect will?
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, asks that very question – then gives us the answer. Read what the Spirit says in Romans 8: 35-39. Wow! He says, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God…!
Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away, But…
My Words will not pass away (Matthew 24:35).
Every promise God has made will come to pass in His way, and in His time.
If you know Jesus as your Savior and your LORD, each new day He is your Refuge, Provider, Comforter, and, your Emmanuel (God with you), – in this life – and into eternity.
If you don’t know Jesus, if you are afraid during these uncertain days. If you don’t have a comforter and a refuge for your soul, call upon the name of Jesus in prayer. Ask Him to forgive your sins, and come into your heart with His promised Holy Spirit, to be your Emmanuel (God with you) – forever. Jesus invites you to come to Him. He promises to give you rest for your soul – as you join your life to His (“Take My yoke upon you” – Matthew 11:28-30).
Rise and Shine, Oh Church of the Living God
We see in the following Old Testament verses two examples of conditional promises God gives to His people. Even in times of “much darkness” and sin, He promises to rise upon us, forgive our sins, and heal our land, if we (Jesus’ Church) humble themselves, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.
Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you. Nations will come to your light. And kings will see the shining-greatness of the Lord on you (Isaiah 60:1-3).
If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
A Light to the World
As the Church, let’s turn these uncertain, trying times (Coronvirus) into an opportunity to bring the Gospel of love and hope to our world around us.
Here are a few suggestions for ways to reach out in love with the Good News Jesus has entrusted to us:
- When shopping for groceries (whenever out in public, as needed), be alert to people and situations around you that need prayer (in Jesus’ name), a word of encouragement about hope in Jesus as Savior & LORD, or an act of grace (letting someone go ahead in a check out line, chipping in to help a needy person/family pay for something (in Jesus’ name).
- Send emails, texts, tracts, or written prayers to encourage others to seek Jesus for provision, peace, wisdom, and strength – for He alone, is our hope.
- When speaking to other Christians, be the voice of truth, reminding each other to keep our eyes on, and place our trust in Jesus, alone. Share Scriptures that speak life and share testimonies that speak of God’s redemptive love and power over ALL.
- When speaking to unbelievers, make the most of this opportunity. Offer to pray with and for them to receive Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, help and hope in this temporary life, and eternal joy in His presence in heaven.
In time, this virus will run its course. Let those around us who are scared and without hope take notice that we as Christians are at peace in this life, and trust we have an eternal hope that can not perish or fade. Lets help them understand why we can – Give thanks in everything!