There are officially 195 countries in the world. As of the publishing of this article, COVID-19 is or has been in 165 of them. Our lives are rapidly changing on a daily, almost hourly basis. Last week, the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons indefinitely, and that already feels like a lifetime ago. Borders are closing, grocery stores are being stripped bare, and everybody is wondering when this will end. In the midst of the crisis, there are certain, practical things that will help us get through and come out the other side stronger – prepared for what the Lord has for the Church in this hour.
Dwelling in the Shadow
Psalm 91:9 says,
“Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.”
It’s easy to talk about developing intimacy with God, but cultivating it is another thing entirely. When the crisis hits, you either have it, or you don’t have it. Abiding in the Lord is the most important key to walking in health. The promises of divine protection from plagues and pestilence still hold today. We should follow all safety precautions, but safety precautions can only go so far. There is a place of confidence and security for those who abide in the secret place. It takes faith to access these promises and even more faith when the news is bleak. It’s not just a “name it claim it” mentality; it’s about being with the Lord in fellowship. Take the time in these next weeks of lessened activity to intentionally cultivate intimacy with God in the secret place. Read Psalm 91 in its entirety and meditate on the promises of God for his children during this time.
The Peace of God
Isaiah 26:3 says,
“You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.”
The spirit of fear and heaviness that is currently gripping the nations could be more dangerous than the virus itself. Practically speaking, fear and anxiety lower our immune system, making us vulnerable. These emotions also create an atmosphere of panic that we’ve seen demonstrated as of late. The continual scrolling of news and social media will not keep you in perfect peace. It is one thing to stay informed, but it’s another to have a constant intake of negative information. Keeping our thoughts on the Lord, meditating on his word, and communing with Him in worship and prayer will maintain us during this time. Jesus slept in the storm of Mark 4 because he was connected to the father. What you focus on determines the peace that you have. The peace that you have determines the storms that you can sleep through. The storms that you sleep through are the ones you have authority over.
Authority over Snakes and Lions
In Luke 10:19 Jesus says,
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
At this present moment, it is extremely difficult for many to believe that the Church has authority over the Coronavirus. “Why is it getting worse?” These are the moments when faith becomes real. Jesus has promised us authority over all the works of the enemy. God has the power to stop the virus, but He is looking at his Church to see how we will react. He wants us to take authority. Christ has nobody (literally, “no body”) on the earth except us. As the eyes of the world seek answers, the hour is here for the bride of Christ to step into her identity and take authority over COVID-19.
The Vision for the Church
Acts 5:42 says,
“And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
Most churches have now gone online. The CDC has officially recommended cancelling all gatherings over 50 people. In the 21st century, we find ourselves, ironically, back in the same position as the early Church: meeting in homes. There is a curious symmetry to all this. While the internet allows us greater unity, people have once again been forced to seek out small, intimate communities. Suddenly we need to talk to each other, listen to each other, bear one another’s burdens and press into what the Lord has for us. This time of increased isolation could be one of the best things to happen to the global church in a long time, as we will come out of it hungrier for corporate gathering than ever before.
The COVID-19 crisis will end. This season will end. As the nations are shaking, we believe that God is using this time to purify and prepare his Church for the next thing. When the world comes out of this storm, there will be an opportunity waiting for the Church to bring in one of the greatest harvests that we have ever seen. We will only get to respond to the Coronavirus one time in human history. It is time to be the salt and light of the earth. COVID-19 is not God’s will for our generation, and it’s not His will for 2020. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but God is playing him like a pawn on a chessboard even now. Everything that the enemy is trying to do will only serve to be used by God to accomplish His purposes in this generation. The only question is: will we participate in those purposes or not?
There is a global fast to pray for the end of the COVID-19 crisis from March 18-20. For more information, go to https://louengle.com/