Well, there was toilet paper in one of two stores I went to this morning during the “Seniors Shopping” hour. And, with my trusty small bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket I was able to defeat all the germs that were attacking me (at least in my imagination). And, I worked hard not to touch my face while out until the itch on my nose just became seriously unbearable.
It has been one of those days when my Apple Watch needs to remind me to stop and take a minute to breathe.
A text saying a wonderful believers who I have known for years died this morning in South Africa. A prayer request for a baby who almost died last night at 6 weeks young. A lawyer from Kazakhstan stuck in Florida after his classes ended because all flights have been cancelled. A series of text messages from a pastor and friend in Russia whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer as things there just begin to close down as they have done here – including his church. Good news from another city where prayer has been ongoing for a young girl with cancer and it has been healed by Jesus and verified by doctors treating her. A thank you from a young person I prophesied over in 2012 in Kazakhstan who wrote to thank me as the word has come to pass. It has certainly been a morning of ‘connections.’
In the midst of all these fast moving connections two stood out.
One was a person wondering if I had any prophetic sense of when the shut down because of Covid-19 will come to an end and life return to normal. My first thought was ‘take a deep breath everyone.’ I have seen so many posts linking the Covid-19 pandemic to this spiritual event or that biblical prophecy. Let’s all just take a deep breath and not spiritualize the pandemic. God is not using it to reduce the population on the planet. You can repent – always good to do that – but it won’t stop the pandemic. We live in a fallen world and germs are a part of that. Let’s just step back, take a deep breathe, and relax.
The second was a prayer request … to do spiritual warfare against a demonic attack. It seems that in some areas where there is a captive audience – seniors homes, prisons, hospitals – people from the ‘outside’ are not being allowed in. I understand that this can be frustrating and may prevent you or me from ministering to those who are shut in. But, this should not be linked to an outright ‘demonic attack.’ How about the authorities are simply trying to limit ‘outside contact’ so that the virus does not enter these closed communities and then spread like wildfire. Again, take a step back and take a deep breathe. Everything isn’t spiritual. Maybe it is just a common sense move that will protect those within these institutions as inconvenient to those of us who minister to these people.
One of the last churches I worked in before flights stopped … I mentioned to a person that I would likely not be heading to Vietnam for a scheduled series of meeting. I was met with an incredulous look and a comment … “You can go because if you drink any deadly thing it will not hard you.” I honestly just let it drop and didn’t respond. Not because I don’t like a good fight but because I was so shocked that someone could actually believe that. God wants us to use our common sense. I have faith that things can’t hurt me. I have eaten things which would normally send me to hospital (never mind why) and with prayer and faith I did not react to the food. But, I don’t intentionally go looking for things to eat that I know I can’t have. God wants us to use our common sense. But when faced with a situation where I don’t want to offend my host, God protects me and I enjoy eating the forbidden food. Let’s all just step back for a minute and take a deep breathe.
I didn’t go to Vietnam because of the possibility at that time that flights would no longer be available and that on returning I would need to have two weeks in self-isolation in the city where I land which would not have been my home city. Yesterday would have been the first day of ministry there. Common sense told me the best thing to do in this situation.
You know, instead of panicking and stockpiling food – and toilet paper – why not take this opportunity to share Jesus with others. Let’s not panic as so many are doing. Just step back from the ‘panic’,’ take a deep breathe, relax. God is in control. And He want us to focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3a) and be ready to share God’s love, compassion, and mercy with those who are panicking. Take time to pray with them and for them. Don’t get caught up in the panic, concern, worry, and anxiety that is rampant out there. Just follow the medical suggestions to wash your hands and avoid contact. Take the extra time to read your Bible, pray, and share Jesus with others on the many social media platforms that are available to us.
We are in an amazingly challenging time and I am excited with all that I see God doing. We simply need to “seek first the Kingdom…”
Christians – let’s be careful that we don’t end up looking like a bunch of idiots reacting without any firm understanding of reality and the Scriptures. Let’s step back, take a deep breath, relax, and use your common sense. Don’t glorify the devil (he may be less involved than you think), and trust Jesus!