Overwhelmed???

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with something in your life? In our current, quarantined situation, do you feel overwhelmed? Is fear and/or depression taking root within you?

For the past several days and weeks, we have been continually bombarded with daily news reports of COVID-19. This has seemingly taken the place of war in the Middle East, world-wide terrorism, and the growing threat of militant Islam. (I guess on a side note that this is good news – at least these other issues have moved to the back-burner.)

But you know what, the truth is that we are going about this all wrong!

Oh, but before I go further — then we have movies and books telling us that Christians are all about to escape these life events. That’s what is really scary because such teaching provides a false hope of escapism.

Now I DO believe that Jesus IS COMING to meet His bride BUT…

There are people groups RIGHT NOW facing horrors that many of us cannot even imagine.

Tell the Christians in Syria that they are going to escape the threat and reality of being murdered for their faith. (My friends, they are already facing these threats and realities.)

Tell the families of victims of COVID-19 all over the world (and, at the writing of this encouragement, that number is 19,805 and growing)—tell them that they are going to escape sickness, pain, and death.

We are all looking for a present and future escape …

… and missing the reality of the NOW hope of Jesus Christ.

He is with us when we are overwhelmed.

He is with us when sickness attaches to our bodies.

He is with us when death enters our familial homes.

He is with us when terror strikes.

He is with us regardless of the circumstances and His Word tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us (Matthew 28:20b).

Again, Jesus IS coming to meet His bride BUT, it is a false hope for us to believe that we (as Americans) are somehow going to escape all of this when Christians all across the earth are facing a NOW reality of these things.

So here is my plea:

 

1) Let’s renew our trust in Christ. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT).

 

2) Let’s pray with a fervency greater than we have ever known. James 5:16 reminds us that God DOES hear the pleas of His people- “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (NLT).

That means that if we will really mean business with God, He means business with us. He hears us. He answers us.

Go ahead, lose sleep while you’re praying.

Go ahead, weep some tears while you’re praying.

Go ahead, see God move while you’re praying.

 

3) Let’s do our part in the trust process. Solomon had just finished the construction of the Temple and God appeared to him in the night with certain words (2 Chronicles 7:11-22). Among these words, God set forth some conditional statements. He told Solomon that there would be times of disaster and horror in the earth. And then He introduced a VERY IMPORTANT word, “Then”.

“Then” means “at that time” or “in that given event.” In other words, God was telling Solomon that difficult times would still be ahead — but that WAS NOT time to turn FROM God; instead, it was time to turn to Him as never before.

2 Chronicles 7:14- “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (NLT).

 

So, God sets this before His chosen people who are called by His Name:

 

  1. We are to humble ourselves. This means that we are to recognize WHO God is and in turn, we are to recognize who we are. We are, in fact, nothing without Him.
  2. We are to pray. Not only are we to speak with God BUT we are to listen to Him, and we are to be willing to respond accordingly to what He speaks to us.
  3. We are to seek God’s face. Remember, this was written to the people who had heard the following blessing often:

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT).

The Israelites of old equated the Face of God with the favor and grace of God. In other words, they were to seek His face or His favor in their lives, upon their people, and upon their land.

  1. We are to repent. We are to turn from our wicked ways.

And in this sense, wickedness is further stretched to mean ALL thoughts, words, and actions that are displeasing to God. We are to change our ways of thinking AND our corresponding actions.

  1. And in turn, God will heal our land.

 

Now, many would tell us that this is Old Testament and therefore, no longer applicable to God’s people. But Jesus NEVER disavowed the Old Testament; in fact, He Himself told us that He came to fulfill or complete the Old Covenant. And His continual quoting and referencing of the Old Testament clearly indicates His approval of what was written therein.

 

So, when we are overwhelmed, when we are diseased, when we are threatened, when we are fearful — it is not time to look for the big escape. It is not time to put our trust in the doctors or in the military (although we ARE thankful for both the medical profession AND the military profession.) Instead, it is time to put our trust in Him.

 

Will you join me in taking this endeavor to task — to humbling ourselves and recognizing His magnitude and simultaneously, our smallness — to praying to Him with a preparedness to listen to and to obey — to seeking His face, grace, and favor — and to repenting of ALL of our sins, wrong-doings, wasted words, and uncontrolled thoughts.

 

We live in a world of uncertainty — and we DO look forward to being with Jesus soon — but let’s NOT wait until that time of His returning to do something.

 

Let’s not get caught up so much in watching for His return that we forget to maintain a close relationship with Him today.

 

Let’s do something NOW!

 

Let’s stay prepared NOW!

 

Hope in the future is always a NOW hope.

 

Hope in Christ is ALWAYS in anticipation of Christ fulfilling His promises as revealed in His Word.

 

Let’s trust HIM!

 

Let’s put our hope in Him … Now!