In this season of social distancing for most, and extreme isolation for others, as we all try to fight for faith in the face of COVID-19, I decided to share one thought a day from my daily devotional time in the hope of strengthening other’s hands in God (1 Sam 23:16), and encouraging friends forward in faith. You can subscribe at the bottom of the page to receive an email for each new post, and feel free to come back daily and share with anyone who might find them beneficial.
I use a reading plan that has me reading a few chapters in different parts of the Scripture for every day of the week, and so each day’s content will be dictated by the required daily reading of that plan. I will focus in on one unit of thought rather than trying to address the full scope of the day’s reading. I am trusting God that He will speak from different parts of His Word, as He always does.
Sunday, March 22
Day’s Reading: Psalm 28-32
A good friend asked me today what I thought God was doing in the world in this season of COVID-19. My answer was that I simply cannot pretend to know. I barely know what I am doing on what feels like day 2394872398 of quarantine like conditions, and my walnut sized brain could never pretend to understand the work of the sovereign Lord of the universe. Think about it, if the God of the Bible is who He says He is (and I believe that He is), then He is currently working on hundreds of billions of things in the world and I might have limited insight on two or three of them. He is upholding the Universe through the strength of His word and I am scrolling Netflix for something new to watch. Any attempt for me to summarize His current work is going to be horribly limited by my own dimwitted creatureliness. This doesn’t mean that we don’t get clues though. One of them, I see very clearly in Psalm. David says,
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
— Ps 30:6–7 (ESV)
David’s reflection is fascinating. As he looks back at the faithfulness of God towards him, he sees one pattern clearly.
Prosperity leads to presumption. Success leads to a false sense of security.
When these things are taken away, and it feels to us like God has turned His back, that is actually when some of the greatest spiritual growth happens. My relatively short experience of walking with God has shown me clearly that I learn most about God, myself, and how to walk in His love, in seasons of difficulty and distress. I like seasons of prosperity and enjoy them when they come, but prosperity can lead to a presumption of my own capability, while difficulty undeniably declares my dependence on something other than me to sustain me. I absolutely love the way Eugene Peterson captured these verse in his paraphrase, The Message. He said,
When things were going great I crowed, “I’ve got it made.
I’m God’s favorite. He made me king of the mountain.”
Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces.
Of all of the hundreds of billions of things that God is possibly doing in the world right now, He is most certainly eroding our sense of security in the patterns and systems of prosperity that we have fought so hard to build and protect for years. Maybe, at the very time that it feels like He is looking the other way, He is actually causing us to look away from the things that have held our gaze for way too long.
I will leave you today with a thought from Dr Martyn-Lloyd Jones. He said,
“There is nothing more consoling or reassuring when oppressed by the problem of history, and when wondering what is to happen in the world, than to remember the God whom we worship is outside the flux of history. He has preceded history; He has created history. His throne is above the world and outside of time. He reigns in eternity, the everlasting God.”
God is working on many things. Too many for us to know. We do know that He is removing any of the confidence we had in the prosperity that we had built. Let us turn to him, assured by what David said in Psalm 30.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (v5b)
Courage, dear friends.