With the Coronavirus affecting the entire globe, I’ve been watching to see how businesses respond to their customers.
I have some email notifications from:
Banks who emphasize their digital tools and self-service banking and their call centers are fully staffed
Retail stores who emphasize how they are increasing the number of wipes, hand sanitizers and other cleaning material at check out stands. They are stopping all in stores free samples. They are admitting they are out of stock on many items but working hard to restock.
Hotels are making cleaning and hygiene protocols more rigorous. They are increasing the cleaning of public areas like lobbies and elevators.
Restaurants are increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting. They are not letting employees work if they are sick. They are focusing on curb side service as well as delivery service.
Accountants are arranging for tax appointments via web and phone technology.
Physical therapists are taking steps to take to help prevent infection.
Professional sports – NBA, NHL, MLB
Universities - classes online only
Remember, as kids in school you had those fire drills. You practice lining up and going outside. Once outside, you had to wait for the bell to go off to signal it was safe to go back
Well right now the world is in a fire drill. How well are we doing? The key in those fire drills was to not panic, to remain calm and to be orderly.
Chaos was the enemy.
As Americans, we live in one of the safest countries in the world yet what is taking place across our country is fear.
In 2017, President Trump proposed a budget that allocated 60% of US discretionary resources toward military spending, putting US military spending higher than that of the many nations combined. Despite this enormous allocation of resources, millions of Americans feel so insecure.
I understand being prepared. I understand being cautious. And I am assuming that fear is often what drives us to over-worry, over-fret. I know that this virus is highly contagious.
Medical authorities have been warning that the world is due to experience a serious flu virus on a global scale. Despite our advanced medical technology, they warn, thousands of people will die, and many more will become sick. People will fear for their health. Naturally, people want to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Here’s the focus of today’s podcast: How should we as Christians, the church, respond to an event like this?
How should we respond to any other kind of crisis—whether a health scare, a natural disaster, or even an outbreak of violence or warfare?
Do we have a plan?
Do we, like the Israelites, hide in our tents when faced with Goliath or are we ready to be God’s light in the midst of suffering?
No one likes to think of disasters.
No one wants suffering whether it’s a handful of people, a community, a nation, or the world.
But we can’t hide our heads in the sand.
Nor should we be going crazy running around like Chicken Little.
We don’t know what will happen.
We don’t know how things will go.
We have to have faith.
And faith is not just about trusting God to provide light when we find ourselves in
the darkness of a crisis.
Faith also means preparing even ahead of time to be the light.
Think about the parable of the bridesmaids. 5 were ready, 5 were not. The sad truth is the 5 who were not had no concern over their spiritual condition.
God calls us to be ready. Our instinct is to protect ourselves and hide away. Some of us build high walls hoping that life won’t affect us. but we also need to live for Christ. And that means giving of ourselves in difficult times. How do we have the “mind of Christ,” but live with the reality of the world we’re in?
The first step is to rest in Scripture, God’s Word and God’s promises.
4 “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
For anyone who has been faithful yet felt weary, discouraged, or weak… this is a promise you can rest on.
In the Bible one way that God brings judgment is with a plague. In the Old Testament there were the 10 plagues of Egypt. In the New Testament there are the plagues that will come upon the world in the Tribulation.
1 Corinthians 15:54-55
"When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul quotes from Hosea 13. What’s important to understand is what’s being said. When Paul quotes from Hosea he is giving us more clarity as to what God is saying…
There is a glimmer of hope.
"I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt".
Five times in this section Amos uses the phrase, “yet you did not return to me”. God had sent His message to return to Him. First He sent His word. When Israel rejected His word, He then sent warning through famine, drought, destruction of crops, plague, even military defeat. Yet through all of this Israel refused to stop living in sin and return to the Lord.
This is the Lord's FIRE DRILL
For thus says the Lord GOD, "How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague” Their recognition would prove that God’s judgment was righteous and just.
This is the Lord's FIRE DRILL
"It will be, that the nation or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine and with pestilence" declares the LORD”.
Jeremiah is called upon once again to bring an object lesson to the kings of these nations. The yoke was placed on Jeremiah’s neck as a symbol of bondage to Babylon and a picture of Judah’s captivity. The other five kings will also be under the bondage of Babylon. Jeremiah spoke without compromise to these foreign leaders. What was his message? Without exception God is the absolute ruler of the earth and He can divide it up anyway He chooses. This was a bold statement for a prophet to make about his God, especially when these other countries had gods of their own.
This is the Lord's FIRE DRILL
2 Chronicles 20:9
"Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.”