Last Sunday, most churches did not meet to gather for worship in Metro Manila. The government ordered the restriction of mass gathering events starting March 15 to April 15. I led a contemplative worship online and planned to do it for a month. Then suddenly this afternoon, the whole of Metro Manila is placed on lockdown. We are forced to stay home.
I prayed to slow down and welcomed cancellation of my several travels to spend more time in prayer, writing and planning on what’s next for Mercy and me in this decade. But staying in our home for a month is not what I asked the Lord.
I don’t know what opportunity this virus-crisis will bring. Working from the sideline is not easy. I can only say now that perhaps God wants to make many global servants of the Lord realize that great things will happen in His Kingdom when they are on the sideline.
We all need godly wisdom to serve in this period of not being able to do what we prayed for and planned. Maybe God wants to bring success in our ministries by making us feel “useless.”
This morning I spent some time reflecting on Romans 15:4. ”For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
In light of the global pandemic, I was asking the Lord, what our/my response should be? What attitude should I take and how might I serve those I love?
Through the Scriptures, the answer was made clear: “Persevere and Encourage” people. Jesus, David, Peter, John, Paul and others in the Scriptures had a non-anxious presence in adversity.
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus said it this way, ”Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
The people around you need your non-anxious presence. They need to see peace in your heart in the midst of this adversity. Ask the Father for wisdom in your words and actions that reflect perseverance and encouragement to those around you.
Until He returns, Maranatha
Ever seen a real and immediate need and know what should be done practically? The Disciples saw it clearly. There were 5000 men plus women and children and it was the end of the day (Matt. 14:13-21). This crowd had come to a secluded place to hear Jesus teach. But now, they had to go home but there was no food for the energy required to make the trip.
The Twelve came to Jesus asking that He send the crowd away so they could get something to eat. Jesus said to the Twelve, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.”
Having already inventoried the available food for the crowd, the practical-minded Disciples said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
Jesus said, “Bring them here to Me.” He blessed the food and had the Twelve distribute the food. Everyone ate and was satisfied.
The Twelve picked up the leftovers and had twelve full baskets – one for each of the Disciples.
When faced with a need, sometimes the Lord does not do the practical but rather the supernatural to meet a shortage of resources.
He always exhorts us to “Bring them here to Me”.
Until He returns, Maranatha
This morning I spent some time reflecting on some of the work of Jesus on our behalf in Isaiah 53.
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
Take a few minutes to read and re-read this passage, then ponder these thoughts and questions:
- What Jesus did in His sacrifice on our behalf, was for our well-being and healing. What thanks and worship can you give Him for His work?
- Reflect on some of the ways you have gone astray and turned to your own way. These indicators of our “iniquity” have fallen on Him. How can you honor Him for this sacrifice?
May each of us walk in a manner worthy of Him and the sacrifice He made on our behalf.