As we collectively face head-on the pandemic in our world, the famous old phrase that “nothing is certain but death and taxes” comes to mind. Basically, everything about the way we have normally gone about our lives has changed and continues to change sometimes by the hour. We just don’t know what tomorrow will hold. We do know as Christians, we should pay taxes (according to Jesus’ own words in Matt 22:21), and we should not fear death (1 Cor. 15:55-57). I am reminded of the beautiful song, “In Christ Alone,” when I contemplate, there is no fear in death. And I can honestly say that as a Christian, I do not fear death, for I know that it will simply be the transition from life on this earth to life everlasting. It is the undetermined time until that happens that can bring fear.
My church is a rural church that functions very much like a close family. Each Sunday, we have a prayer time during our morning worship service where a microphone is passed throughout the sanctuary, and people are free to personally share praises or prayer requests. A married couple at the front records these and then prays right then for them.
This past week, we were among the few churches who met face to face. We did not fall under the mandatory no gathering of 250 or more people, and the CDC had not yet recommended meetings of 50 or more should not happen. We took all precautions necessary and enjoyed what very well may be one of the last face to face worship services together for an undetermined time. During our prayer time, the wife of the couple praying prayed this, “Lord help us to confess where our trust has been if it has not been in You.”
It startled me to hear that verbalized because, in my heart and mind, I was trusting the Lord. At least I thought I was. That was until everything started shutting down, grocery shelves were running low, the panic on social media running high, and it hit me. I had been trusting in the paycheck I took to the bank every two weeks. I had been trusting in the scheduled grocery store shopping I did just as often. I had been trusting in the fact that I could get in my minivan to go to the store to buy anything I needed at precisely the moment I needed it.
I started reflecting on how many pandemics the Lord has been through. Quite a lot actually, starting back with the original pandemic of the Israelites (millions of them) needing food and water in the desert. I remembered how God provided water from rocks and food from heaven. (Exodus 16-17) And I told myself, “the same God reigns today!” I started doing what every single one of us needs to do, preach the gospel to ourselves. The same God who delivered the Israelites time and time again from captivity, famine, disease is the same God who will deliver us.
I know that we know that and believe that. The thing that scares us is how He will do it? In this age of technology, where anything we want is at our fingertips, literally, it has become easy to say we trust in God when really we are trusting in our own abilities. When the rubber meets the road, we realize it is not easy to trust in God. It takes work on our part. We have to talk to Him often to solidify that trust. We have to be okay with not feeling in control. I would say we have to be okay with not being in control, but we have never been in control, it has only been our own selves tricking ourselves into believing that we were in control. We have to continually remind ourselves of the truth of God’s Word and His promises to us, which requires us to be in our Bibles diligently and daily. We must remind ourselves often that if we trust this same God to forgive our sins and provide us with eternal life, surely we can trust Him with the in-between time.
The bottom line, pandemics are not fun, for they reveal our theology, and provide the perfect opportunity for us to genuinely trust God and see how He will deliver us in miraculous ways. In Psalm 56:3 David says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” We can take comfort in those words from David, someone who had many things to fear, from facing a giant to being chased for his life by Saul.
As life as we once knew it becomes cloudier by the hour, we absolutely CAN and MUST trust God. Hebrews 4:15-16 is a beautiful comforting verse in times like these. We have a Savior who has felt what we feel and invites us to come boldly into His presence so that He can give us the mercy and grace we need for each day.