Today's Word of Encouragement

LEARNING THE HARD WAY

Monday, April 13, 2020

 

     Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

     Patience is not one of my virtues. It is the one fruit of the Spirit I struggle with more than any other (Galatian s 5:22). When the Coronavirus outbreak became headline news, and the concern was that it would devastate the United States, I was asked by a number of people, “Are you afraid of this pandemic?” My answer was no. Yes, I am over 65 years old, but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore with the virus – it’s hitting all age groups. Yes, I have weak lungs that are prone to pneumonia. Yes, I have a history of heart issues. But I am not afraid. God is with me. If I live, I win. If I catch the virus and die, I win. Fear of death is not my problem.

     Anxiety is not really an issue with me either. The Hebrew word means ‘to see, or to look about as one does in a state of alarm, or danger.‘ I see how dangerous the pandemic is. I understand the seriousness of it and how vulnerable many of us are to it. But I am not alarmed by it. I’m not in a panic over it. Again, God is with me, and He will strengthen me and help me.

     My problem is patience. God said through His servant the psalmist, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Literally He said, ‘Stop striving’, or ‘stop fighting’. It’s the same word God said to Israel through Moses (Exodus 14:13) “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” The meaning here is to ‘stop contending with what comes against you; I will fight for you.’ Both are a call to trust in the Lord in dire circumstances – something that’s not easy to do, even for me. I simply struggle with waiting on the Lord. I want this pandemic to be over. I want the restrictions to be lifted. I want to get back to ministry and service. I’m not fearful. I’m not anxious. I’m impatient. And that’s the lesson the Lord wants me to learn in this situation – to wait on Him; to be patient and let Him deal w ith the pandemic and deal with me in the midst of the pandemic. What is the Lord trying to teach you during this crisis?

     Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). God bless us all with strength, peace, His protection from the virus, and for me – patience!

Pastor Martin

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