The world is being shaken as the coronavirus is spreading and infecting the nations. In the apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy, we are now seeing a prophecy fulfilled. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 records the prophecy we are seeing lived out: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that do good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away”.
Verse 4 “….lovers of pleasure…” Much of society in the western world is influenced by hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure. In one foul swoop, the spreading of the corona virus has curtailed much of society’s entertainment. Holiday flights are currently banned, the borders of some countries have been closed affecting travel. Sports events and public gatherings for entertainment have stopped in order to try and reduce the spread of infection.
Who knows how this current climate will effect the Church? The nations are being shaken. If we are in the “Shaker”, we stand on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ and will not be shaken. Hebrews 12:26-27 “…..Yet once more, I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. This word, ‘yet once more’, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain”.
This crisis will sift the people of God. Our God is the God of Psalm 91. He is our anchor. He is our deliverer from “pestilence” (fatal epidemic disease), Psalm 91:3. We cannot enter into the rest of God and entertain fear. The world is fearful but if we are trusting in our Lord, we are peace controlled, not fear controlled. As we trust God, we know that His peace makes us different from the world. We cannot glory in this position, for the credit is all God’s.
Paul, writing to the Corinthian church, instructs them not “to be puffed up for one against another”. He writes: “For who makes you to differ from another? What do you have that you did not first receive? Now if you received it, why do you glory as though you had not received it”, 1 Corinthians 4:7.
The day may well be approaching that we will have to “stand up and be counted” for our belief and commitment to Jesus Christ. This is not to be feared. In these days the people of God are being sifted and prepared for such a day, and in “that day” and hour we will experience another dimension of the sufficiency of His grace. Paul declared “And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness’. Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ will rest upon me”, 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Of our own selves, in our own strength, we need to recognise we are unable to stand……but, hallelujah!…..in these days of preparation we need to be learning to stand in the all sufficiency of the resurrected, mighty Christ. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3), these words echo through the ages and encourage us today to draw closer to our Lord, to learn of His example and teachings as the Holy Spirit daily guides our path and choices. Our faith is elevated to trust as we ask, knock, seek and find the promised treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. He alone is our Rock and if the day comes when we are hauled before authorities to give account of ourselves, in that hour He will give us the words and wisdom to speak. Our only preparation for such a day is to walk closely to Him now, learning of Him how to handle situations and relationships in our “school of life”. As we learn to lean on Jesus, follow His example, walk in the light He has shown us, obey what He says and operate in His unconditional love…..then others will see and benefit from an increase in the measure of the fullness of the Son in each of us. People will notice and benefit, but all we will be aware of is the joy, peace and rest of the glorious indwelling Christ. We, too, like Paul, will discover and say: “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me”, Philippians 4:13. “Christ in me, the hope of glory”…glory to God!