Brothers and Sisters,
As followers of Christ who know the sovereign God of all creation, we rightly love to remind ourselves and each other that God is in control. We do so often, and we should do so often. In his mercy, God brings moments and seasons into our lives that test our belief in his sovereignty. “Testing” is an important theme in Scripture; an important aspect of growth in the Christian life. We need the times when it feels easy to say that God is sovereign – the sun is shining, the bank account feels stable, the car works okay, there’s food on the table, the kids are doing well, etc. We also need the times when it feels like a difficult act of faith to say that God is sovereign – when we’re not allowed out in public together, and when our “freedom” to live normally seems dependent on government shelter-in-place orders. Such times press us to search our hearts. Who do we actually believe is “in control”? What authority stands truly sovereign over not only the affairs of men and nations, but the affairs of our county, and the needs of our city? Who holds the steering wheel in our daily lives?
Increasingly we’re beginning to hear talk of when, and how, the coronavirus restrictions will lift. On the one hand, I’m heartened to read of some restrictions possibly being loosened by early May. On the other hand, I’m at least concerned to hear of significant continuing restrictions for possibly months ahead. As discussion begins to ramp up it’s coming, not surprisingly, with a clash of authorities. The “who is sovereign” question figures prominently in our media at present. President Trump asserts one thing, state governments another, and meanwhile county health officials continue their work apace. Who’s to say what should or should not be (Note: Let’s not forget, as informed, faithful citizens, that constitutions and laws matter at this point)? Praise God that we have an answer! When will we as Jesus church be free to gather and meet once again? Answer: Precisely when the Lord Jesus Christ says so! The God-ordained powers that be will work through a process – for better and for worse – but the outcome of that process will accomplish God’s plan for his people – “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will (Prov. 21:1). I trust that our governing authorities will allow us to meet again at the earliest point possible. I will hope for and expect that outcome unless reality suggests otherwise. No matter what, it is for us to live each-and-every God-given moment in humble dependence on him.
We can rest secure in what Paul said to the pagan occupants of Athens:
“And he [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” – Acts 17:26-31
Anticipating with you a day of freedom to come…