Seems lately, we’re all telling the Lord what we want. A solution to the pandemic, election results we can live with, and an end to this feeling of uneasiness and anger that bubbles up inside us when we least expect it. We’re weary of a jabberwocky media that confuses more than it enlightens. A super spreader used to be an innocuous butter or condiment knife. Now a tightly packed throng, classified as a superspreader event, makes us cringe. Our present reality—an upside-down world that too often leaves us feeling out of control, irritated, and maybe even betrayed—shows few signs of changing.
At times like this, I have to remind myself that God has not left us to do the best we can. I realized this week that maybe my prayers, in this climate of change, are more selfish then I’d like to admit. Instead of telling a Sovereign God what I want, now is the time to pray, “What do You want, Lord?” And I found His answer is the same one Moses relayed to the children of Israel, and Joshua repeated when the Israelites finally carried out their mission to inhabit the Promised Land.
“But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5).
Is this really what the Lord wants, no matter what our current circumstances are? Yes. Even when bad things happen, when God is silent or says, “wait” or “no,” or you suffer a job loss, sickness, or food insecurity. These aren’t just nice ideas or platitudes to live by. If we’re seeking answers, the Bible says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Reflecting on this verse, Scottish Pastor Alistair Begg said, “You are meddling with Christ’s business and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances. You have been trying to do the providing and forgetting to do the obeying. Be wise and pay attention to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing. Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether He will allow you to starve while He has so great an abundance in store.”
The Lord is fully aware of what we’re facing, and although we may only see it in retrospect, He is responding to our needs and will walk with us through each difficulty. God promises He’ll provide our basic needs if we make Him the number one priority in our life. Our God knows what we need to quiet our hearts, infuse us with hope, and give us the courage to do what is right in His eyes.
First and foremost, God simply wants YOU! He longs for you to spend time with Him and make Him the focal point of your life. Isn’t it time to ask ourselves, “Are we putting God first? Are we obeying Him?” Tough questions because none of us want to appear unspiritual, but though we say we trust the Lord, do our actions indicate otherwise? Perhaps we need to follow Saul’s example. When God confronted him on the road to Damascus, Saul, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)
Isn’t it time to listen to the Spirit’s still small voice, step up to the plate, and boldly obey the Lord and serve Him where He needs you, despite the coronavirus? What doors does God want you to walk through? Rest assured, if you take care of what’s on God’s heart, He’ll take care of what’s on your heart. Christian author, Stormie O’martian says, “Seeking God first will always put us in the correct position and aim us in the right direction to move into the future God has for us.”
In the aftershock of a pandemic, we dare not play by the world’s rules, clamoring for what we think God, our nation, our employer, family or church owe us. Nor can we snuggle into a protective bubble as we allow outside influences to determine our perspective and our future; it will only skew our thinking. Instead, let’s cling to Jesus and His eternal truths that are timeless; they never fail. Even in these confused times, the truths of Scripture stand firm and Jesus’ words, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30) are as relevant today as when He first uttered them.
The Gospel PostScript