There is a lot of information, opinion and rhetoric swirling around during this remarkable season we find ourselves in. Seemingly overnight, our daily lives have been interrupted in a globally unprecedented way. With an abundance of time, normal schedules thrown out and not much experience to guide, I find myself asking the question, "Lord, what are you doing? And how do I respond?"
A mere 12 days ago, I began to pick up on signs that things were not normal... business was not operating as usual... and an interesting phenomenon of alarm and panic began to surface nationwide. My mindset shifted from "this is all a major over-reaction" to "what is going on?" to "Lord, help..." within a matter of days.
THE LORD'S LEADERSHIP
On March 1, 2020 a global 40 day fast began. The idea for this strategic fast was conceived and planned TWO YEARS prior by Lou Engle and when it began 20 something days ago, hundreds of thousands worldwide had joined! Days into the fast, it became apparent that a worldwide pandemic was unfolding. Do you see the beautiful timing and leadership of the Lord? This is no coincidence.
I think of Matthew 8 in this season. In the account, a demonically charged storm was fiercely attacking the disciple's boat as they were on their way to bring freedom to the captives and set an oppressed demoniac free. Jesus was resting, asleep in the boat, and was roused by his friend's panic and fear. He stood up, took authority and commanded, "Peace be still." Under the blood of Jesus, we have the opportunity to respond the same way.
I think of Esther, appointed to a place of phenomenal favor and influence "for such a time as this". Shortly after, her people were issued an irreversible death decree. Her response was legendary. Instead of holing up in her room eating dates and closing her ears to the cry of her kin, she took ownership of the promises of God and destiny of her people and fasted food and water for three days before going before the king to make her request. She was successful and saved hundreds of thousands from imminent death and ultimately defeated all her enemies. We have the opportunity to respond the same way.
I think of 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 which gives the prescription for the hour. The Lord speaks: "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." We have the opportunity to respond the same way.
AN INVITATION FROM HEAVEN
This plague is an invitation, beloved, to draw closer to the Lord. It is an opportunity to go deeper in intimacy and humbly ask Him to search our hearts. Now is the time to go low, and mourn in repentance for all the areas we have allowed compromise and sin to take hold in the dark places of our hearts and our nation.
As I listen to the rhetoric of the day, I love the messages of hope, peace and walking in your God-given authority. These messages are needed and scriptural, but let us not forget passages like Joel 2,
12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. 17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
A DIVINE SETUP
WOW! Look at verse 16! Right now, we are stuck with our families, quarantined in our homes. Children are unable to go to daycare or school, weddings are being cancelled, funerals postponed, parents are confined to working from home or temporarily laid off. This is a divine setup for us to come together as families and pray, repent and fast as we seek the Lord's mercy.
"Never let a good crisis go to waste" - Winston Churchill
I pray your heart is stirred and so is your faith as you hear the precious word of God. I pray His word pierces your heart and produces hunger in you to study and go deeper in these passages! I pray you would begin to become dissatisfied with all lesser pleasures, and not only those which are inherently sinful, but everything that deadens your love for God and people. I pray you would drink deeply from Jesus, the fountain of Life, during this season! And I pray you would bring your family, friends and neighbors and children into the exciting storyline of God's perfect leadership and intricate involvement in your life and world history!
A BLESSING OVER YOU
Finally, I would like to leave you with Psalm 91 as a blessing over your homes & families and health,
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Jesus bless you friends!