I wrote this article before the national unrest over the murder of George Floyd, which is why the focus is only on COVID-19. See the blog, “Rise up, Body of Christ!” for my thoughts on that.
I have to be honest. During the first three weeks of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, I found myself seriously battling fear: as an at-risk Baby Boomer with type 2 diabetes, I had to face the grim possibility of catching the virus with all its dire consequences.
So, of course I complained to God! God didn’t seem one bit disturbed by my fears and frustration. Instead He reminded me that He was the manufacturer and that He was going to use this time for His purposes and our good. This is what I heard Him say;
Jessie, when you call Apple to get help with your computer it is because they are the manufacturer, they know everything about how it works, how it should work and how to fix it when it doesn’t work.
It is no different for me. I made heaven and earth as well as the people in it, I know everything about how they work, how they should work and how to fix them when they don’t work. But the world has lost that knowledge.
I want them to return to the manufacturer for instructions and help. I want them to look up unto the hill from whence cometh their help. I want them to recognize that I and I alone know everything they need to know for life, health and godliness. Even some of my children have lost touch with that truth. I am calling all of my children back, calling them to be closer to me, to reconnect with me, to seek me and find me when they search for me with all their heart.
I open all doors and shut all doors, I can shut society down so that my people will have time to reflect, to regroup and to RECOUP what they have lost, intimacy with me.
I call to them that they may answer me. They have only to open themselves to hear my voice.
A few days later I heard a sermon about David’s experience in 1 Samuel 30. David and his men had gone off to war but when they were sent home to rejoin their families in the village of Ziklag they found that the Amalakites had invaded their village, burned it and carried away their wives and their children. It occurred to me that David, a “man after God’s own heart,” responded very much along the lines of how I feel God wants us to respond as we face our own Ziklag.
1 Samuel 30:6 But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (NKJV)
David strengthened himself with trust in his God. (AMP)
David sent for the ephod, the priestly vestment, so that he could ask God what to do. He chose to listen to what God was saying in this trying time. He asked God a point-blank question: Should I go after the Amalekites to recover those who were taken? God told him to go, for he would surely have victory. David opened himself to hear God’s voice.
We may not have to ask God whether or not to go into battle, but we can certainly take this time to come before the Lord and think deeply about where we see God’s hand.
Some of the things we can consider are:
- How is God orchestrating circumstances for the good of His people? Think of the ways that God has positioned you for your good despite COVID – is the glass half empty or half full?
- What are we learning about balancing work, home, and spirituality? Some are being forced to slow down and in doing so are seeing what is really important. What are the things you have poured yourself into that quarantine has proved are not really important?
- How are we facing fear? The real threat of serious illness and/or death is either driving us to the Lord or away from Him. Can we truly live as if we were about to die?
- How are we dealing with isolation? Some are enjoying it; seeing it as a relief, a time for self, and a removal of activities that overwhelm them. Others are hating it, dreading being alone. What is revealed in you when you cannot surround yourself with people and leisure activities all the time?
- What changes that have been forced by COVID should we keep when this is over?
- What are the lies we believe that have been exposed by COVID? What are the truths that replace them?
1 Samuel 30:10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men; (NKJV)
David and four hundred men kept up the pursuit (MSG)
David started out with six hundred men but only four hundred stayed around to help recover what was lost. That pursuit revealed who would stand with David and who would not.
How are we meeting the challenge to regroup?
- Are we finding out who we are really connected to?
- What connections are either being strengthened or weakened?
- Who are the like-minded people that we should align ourselves with in the near future?
- Who will go the distance with us?
1 Samuel 30:18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, (NKJV)
David got back everything they had taken (TLB)
David boldly acted on God’s word.
In my own case, I took to heart the words of the prophet Jeremiah, And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV). As I kept going to the Lord with my fears, He kept giving me back my peace. I have not by any means completely conquered fear, but I have been reminded time and time again Who it is that I am trusting.
Friends, this is a time to let God’s word bring about its desired result in all of us. As we reflect and regroup, we can expect to regain what we have lost—and perhaps to gain even more.
Let us use the time wisely, positioning ourselves to learn what God wants us to learn in this time and, as a result, come out of this pandemic with greater self-awareness, greater trust in God, and most of all, greater intimacy with God.