Crisis And Providence. . . A Time For Growth. . .

“What is the Lord doing?” That might be the most-asked question followers of Jesus have been voicing over the last couple of weeks.

It’s a good question to ask for several reasons. For one, it recognizes that God is, in fact, in control and at work. We must never forget that reality. And second, it reveals that we want to be in step with His will and way as He works those out during our current health crisis.

For me, the process of asking the question and seeking an answer has been resulting, over time, in a few things. Here are a couple. . .

First, I’m being put in my place. Sure, I’ve known and taught that God is the sovereign, eternal, and all-powerful God. . . and I am a finite, short-lived being. I’ve known that in my head, but the events of the recent days have pushed that knowledge down deeper and deeper into the functional part of my life where I have to trust. Truth is, I’ve got no power over what’s happening. This is all in God’s hands and not my own. Yes, I have precautionary measures to take as a matter of responsibility, but the big picture is not mine. Who knows how deep these truths will be pushed down further into my lfie over the coming days?

And second, my idols and diversions are being exposed. With the distractions I habitually run to gone, I now have time to think, read, ponder, and self-examine. The Scriptures are coming to life in ways they never have before.

This morning I read the words Jesus spoke to the crowd in Mark 8:34-38. Here’s what jumped out at me: “What good is it for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul?”

That’s making me think. God has been exposing “the whole world” I’ve been pursuing. Exposure has come as I lament the loss of “the whole world” I’ve sought regularly to gain. These things aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but they’ve become ultimate things for me.

What about you? For those of you who are older, just think about your retirement funds. Or what about the loss of March Madness and other events we’ve come to embrace too much? Or how about the loss of “retail therapy” options with the closing of retail establishments? The list could go on and on.

We have no idea how this is going to end. But when it does, I pray that I (we) will not default into the human tendency to forget lessons learned while retreating back into a functional faith in our selves and the pursuit of “the whole world.”

Let’s look at this pandemic as a gift. . . a “means of grace” (can I say that?) and a difficult providence that takes us out of ourselves and deeper into the life of discipleship.

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