“You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them.” —P. T. Forsyth
Good Friday is a week from today; Easter comes in nine days. It will be the first Easter in history to be celebrated primarily online.
How do we “live with people” when we must live apart from them? How can we “live with God” more deeply in these challenging days?
In these unprecedented days, we can claim the fact that our Lord is still the Lord of life. Our King is still the King of the universe. Here’s an exercise that has been helping me: I’ve been thinking back to ways God protected and provided for me in the past, then claiming his protection and provision for the future.
For instance, my father’s death when I was in college was the most devastating experience of my life. One consequence was that our family was not sure what would happen to us financially as a result. But I can look back today and see ways God was preparing us in advance of his death, provisions that sustained us for the years to come.
Likewise, my older son’s cancer surgery and radiation several years ago was the greatest emotional crisis of my life. But I can look back and see so many lessons God taught me through those days, facts and principles that sustain me still today.
So, here are some questions:
What is God doing in your life and ministry today that will bear fruit for his glory for years to come?
How are you ministering creatively to your congregation in ways that will empower your ministry to them when this is over?
How are you reaching people you could not reach before the pandemic, using digital technology to speak to the fears of our day?
How are you growing deeper in your personal walk with Jesus, using social distancing to strengthen your spiritual disciplines and grow more intimate with your Lord?
Dr. Francis Collins is Director of the National Institutes of Health (Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become so familiar in these days, works for him). He is also a very committed Christian.
In an interview with the Washington Post that was published this morning, he concluded: “We all have to be strong and courageous. I’m very fond of that verse from Joshua 1:9: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ That encourages me. And faith leaders can spread that kind of exaltation around in a way that I think will encourage others.”
God saw this pandemic a long time before we did and has been preparing us to go through this crisis together with him. Let’s trust him that he will lead us through this flooded river to the good land on the other side.
I am honored to share this ministry and these days with you.
Notes and Resources
Yesterday’s teleconference with Rev. Mark Turman discussed ways to seek spiritual awakening in this crisis, practical ways to worship and minister through digital platforms, and ways God is at work in this pandemic.
To view or listen to the conference, click here.
To download Jim’s paper on spiritual awakening, click here.
During the discussion, we focused on CARES resources being made available to businesses and churches. Click here to learn more about them and here to read Jim’s theological reflection on this issue.
The discussion also surfaced the need for follow-up resources for those we are reaching through digital platforms. Jim has written several articles over the years focusing on faith and apologetics questions. You are welcome to use them in any way that is helpful to you:
And you may search for more in our faith questions section at Denison Forum.