After God's Own Heart
Dear Jacob's Well Family:
As we go through the present situation of fighting this virus across the World, I have been homebound for the last ten days. When I am not working for my employer, I've been hanging with family and reading God's Word to us. For over a year, I've been listening to the LORD and feeling nudged to speak with a soft still voice. Yesterday, I penned what I am sending here through this post.
I simply paste my OpEd piece intended to be a Call to Us in His Church.
In Christ, Pastor Barry
THE NEED FOR PEACE March 28, 2020
A simple search via my Smartphone lands me on a connection between the worldwide viral chaos on-going and the idea of a world in another war. Headlines announce:
Hospital Nurses Fear for Their Safety in a Coronavirus War (Ventura County Star March 28, 2020) What Victory Looks Like in a Coronavirus War (Wall Street Journal March 19, 2020) What World War II Can Teach Us About the Coronavirus (Wired March 26, 2020)
I was born in 1960 so not old enough to have experienced WWII but certainly old enough to experience quite a bit of chaos. September 11, 2001 (9/11) is seared in my brain not only for its terrorist action but for the fear it generated in me as I found myself on a business trip in Palo Alto, California while my family was home in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
Are they safe? Why can’t I reach them by phone? Has the Book of Revelation begun?
As a nation, there was great fear, followed by anger, followed by unity.
Now we have a new tumultuous event on our planet. Started by the tiniest specimen jumping from animal to human. A very little thing can set our world on fire.
As in post 9/11, there is great fear. There is also anger in some ranks. But will there be unity?
The amazing thing about 9/11 and the days, weeks and months which followed is that our Churches were suddenly filled with people awoke to realize their fragility. It was the same movement toward God that I personally journeyed through the decade before, ignited by the loss of my father to sudden heart failure.
I will never forget the post 9/11 Church services. We grieved for the lost. We prayed for the First Responders, and we got on our knees and worshipped Him.
Hear that? We worshipped Him.
The country was unified, and the Church truly was the salt and the light She is called to be.
And despite the angst of war that was upon the USA, America once again got back to peace.
Unfortunately, those two words often are connected. As if war is necessary to have peace.
Well, I ask, what if we lose the war, can we still have peace? I suggest the answer is a resounding YES. Peace comes to those even in wartime who fight their fight against the spiritual and give their attention and commitment to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I write not ignoring the reality that people are dying on this planet from a virus that is new to humanity. Our world and its incredible medical workers are grappling with what is for them a real war. I thank them from the depths of who I am for taking on this war. They are just as much soldiers as those who serve via military. One of my children has given her life to the care of those in the neo-natal ICU. This new war adds to the daily war she and others fight for us.
Those medical workers and all people in our society need our support and they need our prayers, but they most need our Savior. Jesus Christ came to save the sick and the loss. That’s me, that’s you and that’s them.
A man named Mark penned under divine inspiration one Gospel that recounts a time that the disciples were wavering in faith. They were fearful of losing their lives. It was a battle in a lake, a moment in time when they forgot they were with the Messiah. Fear gripped them. They were scared just like we are today.
[Mar 4:35-41 ESV] 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
I do not ridicule those men. Frankly, I would have probably been crying like a baby. But when I read this account, I am struck by my own lack of faith. I am more focused on the headlines of war than I am of my own call to live out my part in The Church.
That must change.
We must examine ourselves, dear Church.
We the Church are charged with helping a sick society. Let us then move with God’s Spirit and create a society that changes the headlines from war to Eternal Peace. Let’s help the LORD God rid the headline below of its question mark and announce its truth.
Headline: A Coronavirus Great Awakening? (Wall Street Journal March 26, 2020)
Mark 4:40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"