There are those who are saying that this virus and crisis are the judgment of God. I am not confident enough about this situation to connect those dots. However, I do believe that God is able to use times of distress to cause people to focus on what is important. I believe that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Later in Romans (8:38,39) it says that there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Since those things are true, what am to make of the current crisis? It is far too easy to complain about what is going on and ask questions that come from that perspective. Why is this happening to me? Why do I have to deal with this when I am not sick? I have found that I need to ask a better quality question. How can God use this current crisis for His glory and to reinforce in an experiential way, His love for me and our church?
One of the ways that God can use this crisis is to get our little church “out there.” In Matthew 28:19,20 Jesus told His disciples to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Then a persecution happened in Jerusalem, and the early church believers in Jesus Christ scattered to the ends of the empire and beyond, taking the gospel with them. God was able to use the persecution that was distressing them to further the gospel, demonstrate that Jesus was still with them always, and bring God glory! In like manner, our church now has a greater geographical footprint as a result of the services going online. Not only are some of my friends watching from diverse places, there are friends of others in our church who are watching from diverse places. God’s message is going out there, not only from our little church but from many other churches as well. To God be the glory!
I confess that I do not like the ambiguity of the words “social distancing.” I believe they should have said “physical distancing.” We can still be social. We just cannot do that in physical proximity to each other. What this means for us is that we need to be more intentional about our social contacts and using other ways to stay in touch with those we love and those we care about. Rather than relying on the latest happenstance meeting at the water cooler, or the shopping line, we will need to be more intentional with our social media and other options, as we continue our social relating without immediate physical presence. Please stay posted as we explore options for our bible study. That we will continue to share, care, and demonstrate love is a given. However, the methods for that will change in response to what is going on. We just need to continue to look for ways to love one another, just as Jesus commanded. Again, in this area of social relating, this has a chance to significantly increase our sphere of influence.
I encourage you to begin to see God and God’s opportunities in the midst of what is going on. Ask the question; “How can God use this current crisis for His glory and to reinforce in an experiential way, His love for me and our church?” And then look for how God responds.