Covid-19: Obstacle and Opportunity
We’ve all heard the “when life hands you lemons…” expression.
Due to the Covid19, our plans have been interrupted, our schedules reconfigured, and life as we know it has changed (at least for a while). How should Christians respond?
The Bible provides us with an excellent example in the apostle Paul. He wrote the book of Philippians while he was under house arrest in Rome, confined to his house and unable to leave for a few years.
The members of the churches Paul planted were fearful that the gospel would be hindered because of Paul’s imprisonment. However, the apostle assured them that the opposite was the case:
“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14
The word for “furtherance” is also translated “advancement.” This term is similar to our word “trailblaze” meaning to create a road where none currently exists. Paul is saying that His imprisonment was actually creating another road or channel for ministry and evangelism.
Here are some lessons we can learn from the apostle regarding our own ministry and evangelism efforts during our own quarantine.
- Keep the sovereignty of God at the forefront of your mind. The Covid19 virus is not a surprise to God. The world may seem out of control, but it is never out of His control. We can rest knowing that He has this and that His plans will not fail. Realize that things are out of your control and continue to trust in the One who is in control and submitting yourself to Him.
- Take time to pursue the Lord. How many of us have desired to improve our devotional lives and spiritual disciplines but have not had the time to focus? Now we do. Don’t give in to binge watching, binge eating, or binge napping at the expense of not using your “downtime” effectively to pursue the Lord and His purposes for you. We are responsible before the Lord for our time, including time in quarantine.
- Respond as His servants. Paul could have relaxed during his sequester and waited until he was released to resume ministry. Instead he continued to pursue the Lord and accepted assignments from Him. Paul witnessed to those he could, portrayed a positive attitude by accepting that his circumstances were from the Lord, and remained productive by encouraging believers through His actions, words, and writing. Like Paul, we can continue to seek the Lord and avail ourselves to Him for His purposes.
- Pursue every available means of communication. Even though we are “social distancing”, we can still use the phone, texts, social media, etc. to reach out to others and encourage them. For example, the leaders and volunteers at my church reached out to every member and visitor by phone just to check in with them this week. I was encouraged at the number of appreciative people open to dialogue and prayer as I made my calls. Pray specifically that the Lord would lay on your heart the people to contact, the patience and empathy to listen, and the words you need to say or write.
- Leave the results in His hands.
Don’t underestimate your work done unto the Lord even in isolation. I am sure Paul had no idea that the letter he wrote to the Philippians during his isolation would be read by countless millions of people throughout the ages. If your work is done unto the Lord and is inspired by the Lord, the impact of your ministry will have ripple effects far beyond your expectations.
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