Here we are in another lockdown. Students are back online – often a nightmare for parents trying to get their children motivated, and for teachers who have to figure out how to keep their classes effective. Many businesses are closed again. Anxiety, and even anger/frustration, are ramping up some more. When is this going to end?
We are taking a quick aside from Hebrews 11 today to look at a Bible passage that talks about our faith in difficult times. How can I get through this pandemic and stay calm, and even be an encouragement to those around me?
Romans 5: 1 – 11 NLT
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”
There is one central thing that keeps life grounded and stable – knowing that God loves me. That is something I need to remind myself often. I tend to be a person who likes to organize things, and I get so caught up in trying to figure out how to fix things, how to make things work better … I forget that I need to stop and just rest in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
Just look at some of the phrases in these verses: “we have been made right in God’s sight by faith”; “we have peace with God”; this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand”; confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory”. Read those phrases again. Why can we be confident that we have this rock-solid relationship with God? “Because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us”.
Just in case you didn’t truly understand that you have this strong relationship with God, these verses go on to remind us that God’s love doesn’t depend on us at all. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” We didn’t earn God’s love by being a nice person. He loved us exactly the way we were; in fact, God considered us his “enemies”.
God’s love for us is way beyond our comprehension and understanding. If we truly understood how much we were loved by this supreme being, we would likely find facing difficulties much easier. I love the verses in Colossians that state who Jesus is and how much he loved me.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[a]
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.[b]
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (Colossians 1: 15 – 20)
Knowing that I am loved deeply by God is the foundation to build my life on. When I get upset, frustrated, angry, anxious, frightened, etc. … I need to put my emotions on pause and realize that I am loved.
But God also knows we will run into problems. We don’t live in a perfect world. Interestingly, he tells us – “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials”. Really? We can rejoice when we face problems? God tells us that those problems will help us develop endurance, strength of character and confident hope – actually qualities we would love to have. But how does that happen?
Right at this moment, I know we will face people who disagree with the way our government is handling the pandemic. It causes definite tension when the topic comes up. Some of us are facing financial difficulty as our jobs keep disappearing. Dealing with our children complaining and fighting with each other because they’re stuck at home is stressful. How do I deal with all this and stay calm? “He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
There are moments when I need to stop and take a deep breath. Stop and ask God to help me be that loving and accepting person, be that person who trusts God in all areas of my life. Understand that God is in control and I can trust him. How? “Our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” God is my friend! I can talk to him, and know he loves me. I can learn to treat others the same way as God treats me with the Holy Spirit’s help.
I don’t have to do this alone. You don’t have to do this alone. You are God’s friend and his spirit lives in you. When you wake up each day during this crazy pandemic time, before you jump out of bed and get moving … pause … remind yourself of God’s love, and pray that God will help you in whatever comes your way that day.
Our song for today is The Love of God by MercyMe.