God saw the people of Israel--and God knew. - Exodus 2:25
We're living in unusual days, aren't we? Many have died, many more have suffered and everyone it seems has been impacted by the world-wide spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
The health threat and related necessary precautions have altered our way of life.
Millions across the country are sequestered in their homes. Churches are not
meeting. Schools and colleges are closed. Restaurants are closed or limited to drive-through, delivery or carry out. It's important to cooperate with directives to maintain social distance and not gather in groups anywhere. We need to dramatically slow down the infection rate to avoid swamping our health care system.
All of us who claim to trust the promises of God and believe in his sovereign control over all things should be able to face this threat with courage and hope. We're all weak and have anxiety for our loved ones, but we shouldn't lose our calm confidence in God's faithfulness--even when the news is frightening.
Trusting faith does not make us foolhardy or reckless. Some sincere people have
defied orders in some states and recommendations in others and gone right on with their meetings. Some have boasted of a superior faith that will protect them from harm. I wish these folks would consider at least two things:
1) It's not only our own health that is at risk when we ignore the directives to stop assembling for a while. It's also in the best interest of others for us to do so. People who follow Jesus are supposed to look out not only for their own interest, but also for the interest of others (Philippians 2:4). It's part of loving our neighbors as ourselves to cooperate with efforts to protect everyone’s health.
2) Trusting faith is not a license to tempt God. Satan tempted Jesus to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, citing Psalm 91:11-12. Jesus replied with Deuteronomy 6:16: "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test." Jesus corrected Satan's misuse of the Psalms text about God's protection. The Lord gave us common sense about avoiding danger as well as faith. We do not judge anyone for their declaration of faith. But it seems to me it would be prudent to consider these things, especially before judging the faith of others to be deficient or weak.
Our text from Exodus 2 is about a time when the people of Israel were suffering
under oppressive bondage in Egypt. Generations earlier, 70 members of Jacob's
family had gone to Egypt as honored guests during a severe famine. By the time the story line resumes in Exodus, they had become a nation. But now they were slaves mistreated and abused by their Egyptian captors. The Israelites cried out to God for help. God saw their suffering, heard their cries and remembered his covenant with their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The decisive moment when God moved to relieve and deliver his people is summarized in the words "God knew."
Let's never doubt that God knows the troubles and crises we face. Never doubt that God knows when our hearts are disturbed by threats and danger. Never doubt that he hears the prayers of his people. The very same God knows today when we're suffering. He hasn't forgotten his promises to provide for us and care for us. And just as he knew the exact time to send Moses to get Israel out of Egypt, his timing and purpose will not be wrong about dealing with our current crisis. Today, let's encourage one another to trust God. Trust that he knows all about the suffering. Trust that he keeps every promise he's made to his people. And trust that he is unbound by our sense of time, our impatience or our lack of understanding all his ways. God is always on time, never too late, never too soon. Trust him.
O Lord, please show us your mercy in this time of trouble. Strengthen our faith to trust you more. We are humbled by our weakness and vulnerability. Please protect us and our loved ones. Please have mercy on those suffering around the world. May it please you to end this threat to us all quickly. Nothing is too hard for you, Lord!
We believe that you know our situation, we trust you to act according to your
perfect will, and right on time. Give us grace to trust you more, to care for others as we should and to seek your will in everything. In Jesus' name, Amen.