As I’ve watched the entire world come to a screeching halt because of the coronavirus, two things in particular have become crystal clear.
1) The devil’s ministry has been put on full display.
2) The time has come for Christians to put their money where their mouth is.
Second Corinthians 3:17 tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. It is only logical then that where the spirit of the devil is, there is fear. And it doesn’t take great prophetic wisdom to see that the whole world has been gripped by fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of an invisible entity that has come to steal, kill and destroy (sound like someone?) has shut down entire countries and brought the world economy to a standstill. No one knows when it will end and no one knows what to do. There is no playbook for this one. And therefore, the world has simply given in to the atmosphere that the “prince of the power of the air” has created and thrives in.
Christians have spent almost all of their lives going to church, singing songs and listening to sermons that tell us how faithful God is and how wonderful it is to put our trust in Him alone. Sometimes that trust is put to the test through trying times, bad decisions or tragedy, but rarely has it been put to the test on such a global, communal scale.
True friendship with God requires trust and obedience (John 15:14-15), and every believer in the world right now has the same decision to make. Will you place your trust in the ministry of the devil, or will you put your trust in Jesus? The great thing about the promises of God is that they are stone-cold reliable. If He says it, the thing is done. And God gives us a few interesting promises for when things go sideways.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Taken together, a clear picture emerges of what God is asking from all of us. On the one hand, you are a part of this fallen world, and as such, bad things (tribulation) will happen to you. Christians don’t get a free pass on bad things happening to them. But we do get a golden ticket to have peace in the midst of our trials. Of course, in order to find God’s peace, you have to first take the ticket, and then you have to spend it.
When God says not to be anxious about anything, it is a command. Notice He doesn’t say, “try not to be anxious” or “as much as possible, don’t be anxious.” Our Father commands us to not give in to fear, and then He tells us how to do it. Pray to Him—simply let Him know what you need—and have a thankful heart while you do it. Cash that ticket in, and He will give you a peace that makes no sense to those around you who still operate by the world’s atmosphere. Jesus drives this point home when He makes clear that your peace in the midst of fearful circumstances is made possible because He has overcome the world. The atmosphere the devil creates doesn’t apply to Jesus, and therefore, it doesn’t apply to us either because we are co-heirs with Him.
The focus of the entire world right now, all news outlets, all radio programs, all of social media, is on an invisible enemy, and the world has, predictably, given into fear. This shouldn’t be surprising. Anyone who hasn’t placed their foundation on Jesus has nothing to hold onto in a time like this, so fear is the only ministry they can receive. But followers of Jesus do have a firm foundation upon which to build their homes. We serve a God who has promised us peace in the midst of a global pandemic. He’s given us the golden ticket out of this craziness.
So, take the ticket and spend it.
My first piece of advice would be to turn off the news and stay off social media as much as possible. That’s the cauldron for all this fear. But beyond that, when you feel fear encroaching on your spirit, remember what God commanded you to do. Resist it, and go to Him in prayer and thanksgiving, asking Him for whatever it is you need in that moment. Then sit back and watch what He does.
This is faith. Trusting Him no matter what. Faith isn’t simply believing that a few things about Jesus are true. Even the devil believes Jesus is the Son of God. Faith is trusting God’s Word, then walking out that word in obedience. That’s how we know what our faith is truly made of. The coronavirus has created a global laboratory for God’s children to actually walk out what we say we believe.
Let’s show the world (and ourselves) what kind of stuff our faith is really made of.