Purposes

I’ve lived for years in solitude.  My vocational choices led me to spend time among people occasionally, but the bulk of my work, both secular and in ministry, was alone in an office.  While some of those jobs also challenged me to work with several people in the office, the most number of people I was around on a daily basis was 8-10.  Even there I spent every day on the phone, or planning, or writing proposals or sermons or lessons, in what sometimes felt like solitary confinement.  In many different ways, I’m as prepared as I ever could be, for social distancing.

While in the throes of this COVID-19 chaos, we’re being told to go home, stay home, and live in a secluded fashion with the purpose of stemming the flow of the virus to other people, including ourselves.  Many people who don’t deal well with confinement, will see this time alone as pure torture, agony, or undue suffering.  In fact, not being alone, and not being still long enough to think rationally and logically about anything is an ancient problem, not a new 21st-Century challenge.

The Psalmist writes how God is the refuge of His people in Psalm 46.  But I especially have always looked to verse 10 for solace.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Hebrew text indicates this word means to sink, or relax.

Sink into what?  Relax, are you kidding me?  No really, this is exactly God’s purpose for what we need most – right this minute.  We need to know, not just intellectually understand or comprehend, but really get what God expects from us, indeed commands us. The command of God is total surrender to Him as the LORD – in control, having all authority, and present in our world today.  More and more, activities people around the world would normally flock to have either been postponed to a later date, or cancelled completely.  This could be easily construed as the LORD of heaven on purpose saying to all of humanity, “You’ve been worshiping at pagan places filled with idols.  I will help you be still, and remember who I AM, by using this virus to get your mind off of sports, movie theaters, works of art, concerts, playoffs, or any other venue-oriented entertainment escape.”

One of the hardest things for many people I’ve known is the concept of just “being still” for more than 10 seconds.  Add to not knowing how to be still, the idea of being cooped up with children, or spouses, or grandparents who all would drive you crazy when there was no virus, and this command of God might seem impossible to achieve.

Could God’s purpose for this virus really be that we need to stop worshiping other things and just be still?  Well, being still is only half this equation.  Because if you are capable of being still, that alone does not ensure you will focus where you need to focus, on the LORD of heaven.  After all, the being still part is really just to create a space in your world where you can experience Truth.

“… and know that I am God.”

Our minds and our hearts have in recent years become numbingly indifferent to the nature and character of God.  I really do believe it is time for a reset for us.  Why?  Think about the last several years of turmoil in our United States government.  Now filter everything you’ve seen, read, or heard on television, radio, or online apps, and read these words:

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Do these descriptions essentially fit to form a fairly accurate description of life in the USA and other places around the world today?  Does Paul really have a vision of life in the 21st-century?  Men and women of power and means, blatantly denying the existence of God, must really be taxing to the LORD of creation, don’t you think?

It doesn’t take much understanding to realize we have no control whatsoever over this virus.  The leaders of our world, the scientists, the manufacturers of the health products we need, all are working around the clock to solve a currently unsolvable problem. The virus will run its course. And we do not yet know the extent of the damage, or where or how it will all end.  We’re in the throes.

Isn’t it time to just stop?  Stop being scared?  Stop listening to the talking heads on TV telling us what to think and how to feel?  Isn’t it time to just BE STILL, AND KNOW that the One who created us, also has intended purposes for this event that we can’t possibly know or understand?

When was the last time you picked up your Bible to give you hope and clarity, rather than tuning into Talk Radio, or some 24 hour news station on the television?  If you are a true Christ-follower, you are being watched right now, whether you know it or not.  In days of calamity and chaos, even the ungodly are brought to a place where they must recognize they are not in control.  God is.  Do you portray this truth in how you are dealing with COVID-19?

Right now, are you modeling for your neighbor who is spiritually far from God, the truth that God is not far from any one of us?  Are you criticizing everything and everyone, or contributing a solution by inviting God to intervene in our world with healing?  The true Christ-follower knows how to “be still” and in prayerful worship, trust God for the outcome.

Are you a lover of self, money, or power?  Have you become boastful, arrogant, ungrateful, and unholy? Are you like those holding onto a “form of godliness” all the timing denying the power of the Creator to control this virus?

Be still. Know that I AM is still God.

Keep saying it.  Allow you mind to constantly repeat:

I am in God’s care.
He loves me more than I love myself.
Jesus gave Himself for me so that I might know the truth of God’s love.
I am who He says I am, and He says I am His child.
He is in Control.
He has absolute Authority over my life.
And He is right here with me… whatever may come.
His name is Jesus.

And I will not face death, until all my days are done, so I will be still, and know that God is..

 

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