I haven’t a clue how this pandemic fits in the scheme of things. Theories abound. Is this God’s wrath being poured upon our sinful world, like it was on the Jews as described by the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah in Biblical times? Is this the beginning of the great Tribulation heralding the “end times?” Or is it an example of man’s poor stewardship of resources, ignoring health and safety in open air animal markets where bats and other vectors thrive? Is it a bio-weapon that escaped? Is it all of the above or none of the above? (I would love to publish your opinions, so please comment!)

I do know this. God knows all about Covid-19 and He is sovereign. He is totally just and merciful at the same time (a combination I cannot imagine). He is all wise and all loving. He has a purpose in allowing this to happen. The Bible tells me His thoughts are not my thoughts. In other words, I have the ability to understand His mind as an ant has to understand E=MC squared.

I do know, though, we have been kicked out of our comfy spiritual homes and all of us put into a kind of “time out.” Suddenly we have time for relationships and taking a good hard look at our values. It is a time to grieve with others, people we know or total strangers, who have lost loved ones to this scourge. We may be “social distancing” but I think we are growing closer in other ways.

I see glimmers of good coming from this. We see the invisible people we did not consider important before, standing in the gap to provide for us. The stock clerk, who never once considered staying home, making sure we have what we need; truck drivers getting goods to market and delivery drivers servicing people who are unable to leave their home; not only medical professionals but janitors and cleaners that provide sanitation. I see on the news people are reaching out to say “thank you.” Neighbors help neighbors and people are finding novel ways to help others.

The church has left the building. I hear about Hope Church’s food pantry feeding even more than our usual 400 plus families. I hear about women with sewing machines turning mask-making into a cottage industry. We are loving with our actions. Whether Jesus is only a historical figure to you or the Messiah, what we are doing now is loving as He loved, healing as He healed — whether physically or emotionally with love and concern.

The Christ is risen and, just as He escaped the tomb, His church has escaped its buildings.

It is time to pray.

Pastor Kirk sent this beautiful message to our congregation. With his permission I am posting it today, because it is a perfect lament for days such as these.

“I received this prayer from Ravi Zacharias Ministries (RZIM.org) which in my opinion is the best site for apologetics (defense of Christianity) and equipping believers with tools to grow in our ability to share our faith.  Psalmists and prophets of old would cry out prayers of Lament (sadness, grief, searching for understanding in the midst of suffering and crisis). Psalm 13 is a good example.   I wanted to share a prayer that one on their staff wrote that moved me and I will use in my prayer life.   I would encourage you to use it in your prayer life.  The Lord is near, live in the assurance that in Christ you are His beloved.  Praying with you and for you.  God’s peace.”

Pastor Kirk

Hear our cry, Almighty God. Listen to our prayer. How long will we have to hide in our homes from this invisible enemy? Where will it strike next? And whom? And what if…? Our screens relay a continuous escalation of suffering and death around the world. Panic and anxiety abound. Our souls are weary from the strain of the life-altering unknowns.

Heavenly Father, from the depths of our pain and confusion, we cry out to You. From fear-filled hearts and anxious minds, we plead with You. Rescue us, Father of compassion and grace. We lift up our eyes to You, Lord God, the One who sits enthroned in heaven.

On all who have contracted the virus

Lord have mercy

On all who have lost loved ones to this sickness and are in mourning and anguish

Lord have mercy

On all who are unable to earn an income because their jobs have been suspended

Lord have mercy

We cry out for healing and needed resources

We cry out for comfort and peace

On all medical professionals and caretakers attending to those infected with the virus

Christ have mercy

On all scientists and technologists striving to find a vaccine and to make it available

Christ have mercy

On all leaders of institutions and governments as they make decisions to try and contain the virus

Christ have mercy

We pray for strength in the long and exhausting hours of labor. We pray for wisdom in the research and difficult decisions

On all who have not yet contracted the virus

Lord have mercy

On the most vulnerable of our society who are unable to buy extra food or get proper medical attention

Lord have mercy

On all disciples of Jesus Christ discerning how to reflect His love to others within this crisis

Lord have mercy

We plead for protection of health

We plead for all to remain calm and kind

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the expanse of the universe. And yet this earth is no longer as You created it to be. Holy Father, our earth groans from the devastation caused by the curse of the Fall. My God, Your Word is true. One day You will liberate creation from its bondage to decay and death.

Life is sacred and precious in your sight. You are the God Who sees us and sustains us. Nothing can separate us from the Father’s unfailing love and kindness, not even sickness or the fear of tomorrow. You are our Light as we walk in this darkness. We will remember to celebrate the beautiful gifts You have given us in this present moment.

Almighty God, You are our Rock, our Refuge from the enemy, our hiding place.

You calm our frantic thoughts and fill our despairing hearts with joy and strength.

In Your Presence living water springs forth in the wilderness.

You restore our souls.

In Christ’s name we pray.