The internet is full of memes about how bad the year 2020 has been. It has indeed had its difficulties. Some have died because of a virus that people cannot even agree on the name; others have suffered horribly, including some of our own writers.
In spite of the hardship that the sufferings this year have brought to many, the Lord continues to work among his people and to fulfill his promise to work all things together for good for those who love him, Romans 8.28.
It would be an easy thing to cite a list of concrete events and happenings how the Lord has brought blessing to his people. We’ll leave the comments section open for that, if someone has a contribution he would like to make.
Today, I’d like for us to think about how the Great Lockdown of 2020 has affected our relationship with God.
For many of us the lockdown and the virus may have forced us to deal with fears and worries, which are often manifestations that we depend upon ourselves rather than God. How much do we believe that the Lord is in control of our lives?
Ultimately, I control nothing but my own heart and my own reactions to what happens around me. That ought to be a comforting thought, because I am never big enough nor powerful enough to control my environment. But God is.
As we cast wider still for our spiritual lessons, the hardship of the year has brought to light deficiencies in our faith, blights upon our holiness, or failures in our service to the Lord. This means the Lord is patient and is giving us opportunity to deal with them. He wants us to grab onto his grace, for forgiveness and strength, not presume upon it, to continue in our imperfections.
There is much to correct. I have much to learn still. God has more patience than we do. The church is full of problems. It appears, in many places, to be falling into denominational practices, the divisive mindset of sectarians, and the dishonesty and immorality of the world. Why does he not call an end to it all? Does it not seem to be a great failure, rather than the great plan of redemption?
So perhaps the greatest blessing of all that comes from the forced lockdown is to realize that my sight is not God’s limit.
After Mt. Carmel, Elijah had a single thought that repeated itself in his mind, which he also repeats word for word to the Lord when asked what he was doing in the cave at Horeb:
I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life. 1 Kings 19.10, 14.
God sent Elijah off to work, because defeats are only apparent. And he raised the curtain for what the prophet could not see: “I still have left in Israel 7,000 followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him” v. 18.
The takeaway from all this is that God is not only working in me, but is also working in this world, far away from my knowledge and sight.
That is a lesson worthy of a virus.
The editor recently released his latest book: O Soul! The Book of Exhortations.