Over the past week, our sense of anticipation that we were perhaps on the downside of the implications of the covid-19 outbreak and all of it’s ancillary implications such as the economic fallout, the personal restrictions, the uncertainty regarding school openings and a myriad of other very significant issues has once again fallen into what seems to be the “black hole” of uncertainty.
Reportedly the spike in cases varies from state to state, but fortunately the death rate remains low across the board, although that’s not the primary story in most outlets. What we do know is that this pause in our recovery has some pretty critical implications on the overall psyche of the average american and has led to a lot of postponements, cancellations, frustration and disappointment. More events are being cancelled, airline reservations have dropped significantly, get-togethers for weddings, graduations, vacations and the like have all seemed to fall victim to this on-going battle against a virus which we don’t seem to fully understand and cannot seem to fully control.
However, a close friend made a rather profound analogy at a recent home group gathering as we were talking about the response to these rather negative and difficult circumstances. Rather than seeing ourselves as being limited to random projections of the extent of the virus and how long it may be around as we wait for vaccines and/or protocols that may limit the virus in natural terms, there is also another possibility.
If something that we knew virtually nothing about five months ago and those who did know anything about it assured us that it would not have any impact on our culture, let alone the rest of the world, could bring such widespread fear, suffering, confusion, uncertainty and catastrophic loss around the world why should we believe that that is the only thing that could happen quickly and dramatically. What if God would chose to unleash His supernatural power to overrule these circumstances and consequences?
One of the spiritual principles that has guided my worldview for four decades is that there is a spiritual realm that we cannot see and is not just real, but controlling of the natural realm in which we live. Anyone who believes in prayer knows that such things are real and countless stories, as well as biblical accounts, through the millennia add evidence to this assertion which only hardened agnostics or atheists would deny.
If we are caught up in the wave of negativity and uncertainty surrounding this current moment, we are taking our eyes off the promises and power of God and what He could choose to do by simply speaking a word in the unseen realm which would unleash the wisdom, knowledge, strategies and resources to turn this entire situation completely around, and might certainly do so in less time than it took in the natural realm for the virus to spread around the world!
In chapter 5 of John’s gospel, there’s a story of a paralyzed man who was brought to the pool of Bethesda where he waited for some sort of mystical stirring of the waters of the pool which apparently led to one person being healed of whatever their disease might be if they were the first to enter the pool. However, because of his disability, he had not been that person for 38 years and one can only imagine the sense of hopelessness and despondency in which he must have lived.
However, in that same story, Jesus walks into the crowd of hundreds and looks at the man and says, “Do you truly long to be healed?” When the man explains his dilemma about being unable to make it to the pool in time, at that very moment Jesus said to him in John 5:8, “Stand up! Pick up your sleeping mat and you will walk!” Immediately he stood up — he was healed! So he rolled up his mat and walked again.
38 years of disappointment, frustration and hopelessness was erased in one moment of encounter with Jesus. Similar miracles on a much grander scale are recorded throughout scripture but they all seem to be linked to a word from the Lord which is either part of a sovereign intervention, or a response to earnest prayer by an individual, groups or people, or an entire nation.
Many of us believe that what is happening right now around our nation is a movement of prayer which is not necessarily publicized or well known, but is quietly growing in all kinds of private and unseen places by those calling upon God to “forgive our sin and heal our land.”
What impacted me about what is shared is that often times we see this as perhaps a long road to recovery when in fact, if what got us into this situation in the natural realm took just five months, a word from God could reverse the entire circumstance in a much shorter period of time than anyone has ever imagined. The hand of God is not limited by our human agencies and one word from the throne of God can reverse a mountain of circumstance, suffering and loss in a very short period of time.
Let’s lift our eyes up to the big picture, a place where we see God and not circumstances and where we believe His word and not just what we hear constantly bombarding us in the daily news cycle. We will not be disappointed.