3/25/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Imagine with all the negative news we get to see and hear, to start reading something that starts with encouragement! What a novelty! Not only encouraging, but something that can give us hope, in a time where there seems to be little of it. Often we look at current events within a time frame of minutes, hours, maybe months. Not God! He looks at past, present, and future events through the time frame of eternity.
Although this coronavirus is new to us, how God wants us to do deal with things like this is not new to the church. As Christians we have heard the stories of missionaries going overseas to work in leper colonies, contagious situations or worse. On January 8, 1956 an evangelical Christian Jim Elliot was killed alongside 4 of his friends in an attempt to evangelize an unreached people of Ecuador. It was this Jim Elliot who wrote “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
At the news of their death, Life magazine published a ten-page article on Elliot and his friends’ mission as well as their deaths. His wife Elisabeth Elliot would go on to become not only my sister Susan’s favorite speaker, but during her lifetime Elizabeth became one of the most influential woman in Christendom.
In 1956 many people wondered why God would allow something like this to happen, yet 64 years later imagine how many people have been, and continue to be, affected by the deaths of these 5 missionaries.
More recently, American missionaries Gracia & Martin Burnham were captured by Muslims in the Philippines and Martin was murdered. Since that time Gracia has written books and traveled around the world sharing her story. She is quoted as saying… “People in today’s world, whether Muslim or not, will not pay attention to Christians because we can explain our theology in crystal-clear terms. They will not esteem us because we give to charity or maintain a positive outlook on life. What will impress them is genuine love in our hearts.”
Unless Martin Burnham had died, in all likelihood we would never had known about the Burnham’s. Yet in a world that is running for its life, looking for places to hide, a world that is quarantining itself, what a great reminder for us as Christians, is that what people really need is someone like you and me to not show fear, not make decisions like we have no hope, but instead to show them a genuine kind of love. A love just like the love that God showed us… My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13
With the emphasis on hiding or being separated from people, isn’t it encouraging to know that God isn’t practicing that advice? … Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24
You never have to feel alone, because God is just as much with you during this coronavirus scare as He was with 3 young Hebrews boys, that we know as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You may think that this coronavirus scare is different, but put yourself in the sandals of these three young boys… The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the high officers, administrators, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. Daniel 3:22-27
Be encouraged today… ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.‘ Jeremiah 29:11-13
And besides… If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 Not kings, not fiery furnaces, not even a virus!