By B.J. Funk –
“Plan your work and work your plan.” Sometimes, however, those plans have to be laid aside.
That’s where churches found ourselves this past year. Covid-19 took the lead role in the play called, “Think Again … You Actually Thought You Were in Charge?”
Actually, yes. We did. If not us, then who? Well, that would be God, of course. Proverbs 16:9 speaks of this: “We may make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps.” It could not be clearer. We must recognize that he has the last word.
No wishing or hoping can override the plan of God. If we can understand this, then we will move forward with a feeling of security. Deep down, we are thankful that One who is omnipotent actually makes the plans.
Napoleon, at the height of his career, is reported to have given this cynical answer to someone who asked if God was on the side of France: “God is on the side that has the heaviest artillery.”
Then came the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon lost both the battle and his empire. Years later, when he was in exile on the island of St. Helena, completely humbled, Napoleon was reported to have quoted the words of Thomas à Kempis: “Man proposes; God disposes.”
Throughout this time of international pandemic, it is too easy for us to throw up our hands and completely give up on God with questions like, “Why is God doing this?” and “What purpose could he possibly have in mind?” and “Is this the beginning of the end of time?”
In answer to the first question, not one person on earth, even the wisest of scholars, has the perfect answer. His purposes, as the second question asks, are far too wide and too high for our finite minds. In answer to “Is this the beginning of the end of time” the answer would be, “Absolutely not. It is a continuing of the beginning of the end of time that entered our lives two thousand years ago.”
Jesus ushered in the last days. Since we are two thousand years into that ushering, it seems that God is not in any hurry to bring this truth to its final purpose. At least as we understand earth time.
A month into the pandemic, Maxie Dunnam provided this succinct explanation. “The coronavirus is not the will of God; this is not his deliberate judgment upon a sinful nation and an unfaithful church, and it is not any sort of announcement about end times. Listen to me now, listen carefully. I am not questioning God’s power. Even the winds and the waves obey God simply through the word of His Son. This is not God’s will, but God has a will in the midst of it.”
What we can all possibly agree on is that our lack of speaking out against sin has come home to haunt us.
One of the strongest “What were we thinking?” realizations is that most of us have closed our eyes. Simply closed our eyes as Satan brought forth one area of tolerance after another.
So, what do you see as God’s will for you in this virus? Maybe God is pointing out to us our need for a moral compass. Somewhere in these past years, we lost ours. Also, our spending habits might need a death and new life revival. Had we only known our income might be at risk through a virus, would our savings have been more important? Have our spending habits been over the top? Could we have said “no” to some of our newest possessions?
The solution should be fairly simple and yet decidedly difficult to carry out: Just open our eyes. Then, allow our disgust to move to our hearts, voice box, and hands. Speak out against injustice. Write letters to those in charge. And one more thing. Recognize who the enemy is. He is a very real, very alive, ruler of this world, and he is out to get you and your children. Don’t let him. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
If you are a believer, then the power that created the world lives in you. Your enemy has already been defeated.
He just didn’t get the memo.
B.J. Funk is Good News’ long-time devotional columnist and author of It’s A Good Day for Grace.