Hard times are nothing new. As the number of COVID-19 cases climbs, our concerns naturally increase. We know we have physical limits that make it challenging to grasp how we will defeat invisible enemies like this virus that is currently disrupting life in the world as we know it. Our God is not confined to those limits. He is also not a stranger to suffering. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, God took upon himself the punishment due us all. He gave so that we might live.
Faith is what I lean on during times of fear. That doesn’t mean I’m not concerned or afraid. The unknown is a scary thing. Especially, when the unknown is aggressively destroying those around you. Those you love, care about and cherish.
God’s Word (the Bible), is a source of comfort and wisdom. This is highly evident in the words of the various psalmists whose collective writings are found in the book of Psalms. Featuring the writings of David, Asaph, Solomon, the Sons of Korah, Herman, Ethan, and Moses, the psalms are a treasure trove of Israel’s songs expressing mourning, praise, distress, worship, depression, exuberance, questions, and confidence.
In Psalm 25, David asks for divine protection, guidance, and forgiveness while affirming his loyalty to and trust in the Lord. Because of God’s goodness to Israel in the past, David appeals to the Lord for wisdom as well as forgiveness.
Difficult times demand great faith. They also require wisdom. David understood that then, we must understand that now.
1 Lord, I turn to You.
2 My God, I trust in You.
Do not let me be disgraced;
do not let my enemies gloat over me.
3 No one who waits for You
will be disgraced;
those who act treacherously without cause
will be disgraced.
4 Make Your ways known to me, Lord; teach me Your paths.
5 Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
I wait for You all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, Your compassion
and Your faithful love,
for they have existed from antiquity.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
or my acts of rebellion;
in keeping with Your faithful love, remember me
because of Your goodness, Lord.
8 The Lord is good and upright; therefore He shows sinners the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.
10 All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth
to those who keep His covenant and decrees.
11 Because of Your name, Yahweh,
forgive my sin, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will show him the way he should choose.
13 He will live a good life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The secret counsel of the Lord
is for those who fear Him,
and He reveals His covenant to them.
15 My eyes are always on the Lord,
for He will pull my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am alone and afflicted.
17 The distresses of my heart increase;
bring me out of my sufferings.
18 Consider my affliction and trouble,
and take away all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies; they are numerous,
and they hate me violently.
20 Guard me and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in You.
21 May integrity and what is right
watch over me,
for I wait for You.
22 God, redeem Israel, from all its distresses.
While it seems like life is spinning rapidly out of control, remember that God is still in charge. COVID-19 didn’t catch Him off guard. Nothing surprises our all-sovereign, all-knowing, all-loving God. Nothing. And you and I aren’t helpless either. One, we know God is on our side. He is with us. As believers, He has not forgotten nor forsaken us. Secondly, there are things we can do individually, corporately, as a community, as a nation, and as a planet. We are NOT powerless. We can be part of solving this crisis by doing some simple things and some that may demand a little more effort.
Like David, you and I can be confident in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness while recognizing we need the Lord’s divine guidance to help us discern what we do not see, know, or understand in this difficult moment.
During this hard time, do the things you can.
Donate blood. People are going to need it. If you are feeling well and are eligible, help your community by giving blood. Blood is still be needed for cancer patients, transplant recipients, heart surgery, and trauma. Blood cannot be manufactured in a lab or factory. Blood only comes from volunteer donors. Visit Carter BloodCare to find a donation location near you.
Be wise in your interactions and dealings with others. Exercise common sense practices like washing your hands and covering your sneezes and coughs. Don’t panic. Do your part.
Serve your neighbors. Think of the seniors and aging people in your circle of influence who could use your help at this time. Call and talk to them. Check on them. Ask if they need you to pick up groceries, medications, or other essentials for them. Think of the people in your neighborhood who could use a helping hand.
Volunteer to help. Identify local organizations that are in need of volunteers to help them fulfill their mission of helping people during difficult times. For instance, I spoke with my friend Michael Garrett, the CEO of Trusted World, earlier today. His organization is swamped with demands and pleas for help. You can sign up to volunteer here.
Donate money. Yes, I know the economic outlook is bleak at the moment. However, there are those who are in greater need than we are and you and I have the financial resources to help them. Organizations like Union Gospel Mission Dallas and Trusted World need financial donations in order to meet the increased demand placed on their resources during this time of crisis. For organizations like Trusted World, every day is a crisis.
Remain strong and be courageous. Courage doesn’t mean we don’t get afraid. It means we don’t let fear stop us. Don’t collapse under the burdensome weight of fear. Fear is not our friend. It is a weapon the Devil likes to use to make us mistrust God and be less than who the Lord intended and created us to be.
Act wisely. This is an unseen enemy. It is evil, like AIDS and like cancer are evil. We don’t yet know everything about COVID-19 that we need to know to combat it but we do know some sensible steps we can take to reduce its impact and its reach. We’re learning every day and we will continue adapting every day.
Above all, remember to love God and love people.
In addition to the wisdom of Psalm 25, here are 5 Bible verses to help you combat your fears and anxieties.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25
God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
We can forget everything and run or we can face everything and rise.
Remember what we DO have and what we CAN do.
For nothing will be impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
The Devotional Guy™
ABOUT: The Devotional Guy™ is a writing ministry of Chaplain Rainer Bantau, a Swiss-born, German kid who grew up in East Texas and today ministers throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
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