This is one of the strangest times we have ever lived through. It feels like we are living in a dystopian novel. People are panic buying, staying in their homes, hospitals around the world are looking like war zones, people are dying, and our stock markets are in a free fall. It is a time of uncertainty that can cause us to fear. It is a time where many things that felt like firm foundations have shifted underneath our feet. Life doesn’t quite feel the same anymore. None of us asked for this. None of us would choose this. But here we are, we have to go through this. The good news is that God goes through it with us, He has lessons to learn in the midst of it and He has a great future on the other side of it.
The nation of Israel had these same lessons to learn when God called them to walk through the sea. Psalm 77:19-20 recalls that experience.
Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
One of the truths that we need to hang onto is that the way through the great waters is the way of God’s choosing. It was not the way the people would choose to go. If it were put to a vote I am sure the people would have elected to go around instead of through the sea. Going around is not as scary and doesn’t require as much faith. But God tells them that His way for them is through the sea. God gets to choose the way we go and the way God chooses is always the way of faith.
Not only does God want the people to exercise faith and go through the sea but He also tells them that as they walk through the sea that they will not see His footprints. It is natural for us to want to see God’s footprints. We want concrete evidence that we are taking the right path each step of the way. Instead, God points us in a direction and then simply says to us “walk.”
In times of faith we do not see beyond the next step and sometimes it is hard to sense God in the midst of our faith journey but that is what faith is all about. God wants us to learn the lesson of trust. God wants us to trust Him more than we fear the sea around us.
Now is the time to lean into Him. Now is the time to trust that God is in control and to relax into Him. Verse 20 gives us the hope that only faith can bring. Looking back, the Psalmist reflects on the fact that even though they could not see the footprints of God He was leading them all the way.
It was only when they go through the sea and came out on the other side to they realize that God had led them through Moses. We will get through this pandemic and we will realize that God led us. The key is to trust that God is leading even when we don’t see His footsteps.
What is important for us to see but is easy to miss is that God was not just leading them through something, but God was leading them to something. God was leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land where they could be a blessing to all nations. The journey of faith always takes us to God’s destiny. God is equipping you to fulfill your destiny, and your destiny is always about His glory. God had a destiny for them to fulfill and the hard journey of faith was necessary before they could fulfill that destiny. There is a greater purpose for your trial.
God is equipping you to fulfill your destiny, and your destiny is always about His glory.
Here are three ways that your current journey of faith can equip you to fulfill God’s destiny for you.
God wants to deepen your ability to relax and trust in Him. We have proven as a society, that trust in God has not been our foundation. Panic buying has become the norm. News from Wall Street made us look at our accounts and begin to wonder if the financial foundation we have been counting on was crumbling under our feet. Our hospitals that we count on to keep us healthy have proven to be under-equipped for the challenge.
As followers of Jesus we have long said that our security and hope are in God. Our hope is not in finances, or government, our hope is in God. Now is the time to prove that this is true.
What can you practically do today to relax and rest in God today?
- Set aside time to be with Him. You have time as you shelter in place at home during this pandemic. Put off your binge-watching session on Netflix for an hour and be with Jesus. Start going through Psalms. Read one Psalm and find some paper and start to write down everything you learn about who God is from that Psalm. As you go over your list, let it become a prayer of praise to God. As you take your eyes off the sea you are going through your eyes will be filled with the sufficiency of God.
- Pray with someone. If you are at home take time to talk with them about what you have learned about God. Talk with each other about where you are being challenged on this journey of faith and pray for each other.
- After you have done both of these things, relax and know that this great God has got you in the palm of His hand.
We would be unwise to be blind to the lessons that we can learn through a crisis like this. With all the time spent isolated in your house during this time it would be wise to use some of that time to look at your priorities. What are you invested in that actually really matters right now? Here are three areas for you to think about reprioritizing.
It is a time for us to reprioritize our relationship with God. I believe that God is using this time to slow us all down a little bit so that we can hear Him call us back to Himself?
It is time to reprioritize our relationship with family. One great thing that has come out of this is that families are eating together and playing games and making puzzles and taking walks. How great is that! Set new patterns and be intentional about what family time looks like when this is all over.
It is time to reprioritize your calendar. Most of us spend our days without margin. As a result we get exhausted and have no time for ourselves to be refreshed and recharged. Many of us have nothing but margin right now. Be intentional right now to plan margin into your life when this is over and you are back to work. Don’t fall back into the patterns that made you inattentive to God, your family and your own physical, emotional and spiritual health. Identify the old unhealthy habits and begin to intentionally develop new patterns
As a follower of Jesus it is important to remember that our goal is not simply to survive until Jesus returns. We are here not to simply fill up space and time until He comes. We are here to fulfill His mission. God is taking us on this journey of faith because He wants to take us somewhere where we can live and work for His greater glory. God may be repositioning your job so you can have a greater impact for Him. God may be repositioning your relationship with your neighbors so you can have a better witness to them. Take time to think and pray about how God wants to use you for His work. What new opportunities is He opening up for you? What new work is He doing in you to prepare you for a new work.
Instead of focusing on your needs during this time, think about how God might use you to meet the needs of others. The Coronavirus is creating new ministry opportunities. Many people are feeling depressed or confused. There are people looking for stability and are reason to hope. As followers of Jesus we have hope and stability in Christ. Begin to pray now that God would open up new doors for the gospel and that He would give you the boldness to speak of God’s love in those places.
There are practical needs that can be met. Is there someone you can call and encourage? Is there someone who needs a meal, or groceries picked up, or yard work done? God wants to use you for His glory so start now.
The Coronavirus did not take God by surprise. This is the path that He has you walking. We will get to the other side and we will see that He has cared for us. We will see that He has led us. We will see that He has prepared us to reflect His glory.