Pastor's Pen 3/15/2020
THE PASTOR’S PEN
MARCH 15, 2020
To my dear precious Lakeside flock,
Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” (Jn. 14:1). Those words were intended to bring comfort and encouragement to our Lord’s fearful disciples, as they would soon be facing life without His physical presence. In light of the difficult days ahead, He was commanding them to trust Him. How appropriate those words are for us today, as we find ourselves in the throes of this global epidemic of the Coronavirus. It is an unprecedented time for not only Americans, but for all the citizens of the world.
How easy it is to be fearful and troubled of heart during these days. But Christ’s words to His first disciples are still applicable for us. He commands us to trust Him, regardless of how challenging our circumstances might be or what the future might hold. In light of how insecure we might be feeling right now because of the uncertainty of the days ahead of us, I want to encourage you to trust the Lord, even when it feels like our world has been turned upside down. In these times of uncertainty, these are some truths about God that are certain – truths we can count on and anchor our souls to.
I. HE IS SOVEREIGN
Over and over we read in Scripture that God is sovereign, and therefore in control of all events. God says of Himself, through the prophet Isaiah, “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’”. (Isa. 46:10). In Lamentations, Jeremiah asks the question, “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it?” (Lam. 3:37). In other words, God has commanded, or decreed, everything that happens, and that includes viruses. As Augustine said many years ago, “Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen: He either permits it to happen, or He brings it about himself.” For whatever reason God has brought about this virus, we can rest in the truth that He is still in control of everything that is going on in the world, and He will accomplish His own purposes.
II. HE IS UNCHANGING
The Bible teaches that God does not change in His character or His attributes. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” In terms of God’s nature and character, there is never any variation with Him. Nothing will ever alter His attributes. He is always good, always wise, always sovereign, always holy. Regardless of how the world’s scene will vary and fluctuate in the coming days, you can take comfort in the fact that God does not – and will not - change.
III. HE IS OMNISCIENT
Our God knows everything. David wrote in Ps. 139, concerning God’s intimate knowledge of him: “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” God does know it all, and therefore we can rest in the wonderful truth that God knows everything that is going to happen in relation to this virus. Nothing will take Him by surprise. So, be encouraged, and resist the temptation to worry. He is aware of everything, and He is your heavenly Father who knows what you need and has promised to care for you (Matt. 632).
IV. HE IS LOVING
At a time like this many are fearful, not knowing what the future will bring. But, as believers in Christ, we are assured of God’s unending love. For He who demonstrated His love for us at the cross, securing our eternal salvation, will never stop loving us during the difficult times of life. As He said to His people in the first century, so He says to us today, “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). So, I exhort you to cast every care and concern you have on the Lord, and let Him carry your burdens.
Knowing and believing these precious truths about God should bring great comfort to you. In addition, I would like to offer these practical suggestions to you during these unusual days.
- Look and pray for opportunities to share the gospel with people. This is a time when men’s hearts are failing them because they have no hope, and they fear death. Many unsaved people will be much more open to hearing what you have to say about Christ and salvation. So, I would urge you to redeem the time and witness to others.
- Try to stay connected to your brothers and sisters in Christ as much as possible. Use social media, your cell phones, emails, and other ways to keep in touch with one another. Even though, for the time being, we can’t meet as a congregation on Sundays, we are still a church family and we can communicate and serve one another in a host of creative ways.
- Plan to use your time wisely. While we may not be able to participate in any public events or watch pro sports on tv, we can use this time to do a host of constructive things – like reading a good book, getting together for meaningful times of fellowship with individuals, spending more time in prayer and Bible reading, and listening to some edifying sermons online.
- Be alert to the needs of others. Resist the temptation to become self-absorbed over the many inconveniences you might be experiencing. Paul tells us to “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4) These days provide great opportunities for us to show forth the love of Christ by ministering to those who are hurting.
- Keep your focus on Christ, and not your circumstances. At some point, this epidemic will be over and life will return to some semblance of normalcy. But until that happens, there will be daily challenges and fluctuating circumstances. But you can always count on Jesus – because He remains our loving Savior and Lord. This is the time to draw close to Him who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
I want to assure all of you that our Lakeside staff is available to be of any service to you. At this time the church is keeping normal office hours, so please feel free to contact us as the need arises. I will be preaching to you by livestream until this crisis is over, and eagerly await the day we can all be together again.
Yours in Christ,