People are reacting to COVID-19 in many different ways.
Some people are getting creative with their workouts.
Others are getting creative with their social gatherings.
Others are adopting “pets” and making new games.
I read about a guy who hijacked a semi-truck of toilet paper last week. Who does that? By the time the police chased him down and caught him, that dude was wiped!
There’s also the news of the new absurd COVID-19 “Toilet Licking Challenge.” This is beyond dumb. One girl licks a toilet in a desperate attempt to get fame, and sure enough, thousands follow suit and start licking toilets. What has our world come to?
While some are reacting to COVID-19 in creative ways and others are reacting in absurd ways, there are many people spreading hope and joy and love during this time as well.
There are so many stories of restaurants feeding nurses and doctors for free out of the goodness of their hearts.
Churches all over the world have shifted to online services, and droves of people are connecting with the message of the Gospel in record online attendance.
The Senate, House and President of the United States finally got on the same page to pass along some financial relief to Americans by passing the CARES Act.
While everyone is reacting differently—those who react creatively, those who react in absurd ways, and those who react in a positive way—the question is: How are YOU reacting?
We get to control our reaction and what we do and what we say, so how are you choosing to react?
Peter was quoted saying this:
[T]he God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
– 1 Peter 5:10
There are few highlights from this verse that you may find encouraging.
- God has the power to restore us
Look at how Job describes God’s power:
[God] spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?
– Job 26:7-11, 14
I love Job’s description—especially the last sentence. “Who can understand the THUNDER OF HIS POWER?”
God is all powerful.
Not only does He have the power, but He uses His power for our benefit to restore us. Let’s put 1 Peter 5:10 back on the screen again:
- God will restore us
God Himself WILL restore you. That’s a promise.
Even if you or I were to catch COVID-19… and God chose to me or you home to heaven, friends… we’d be restored in heaven! “Worst case” with this virus isn’t really worst case for those who have their security in a relationship with Jesus. If you or I happen to die from this thing, you are called to eternal glory with Christ!
Remember what Jesus said in the Lord’s prayer?
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
– Matthew 6:9-13
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
If you have a relationship with Christ and get to go to heaven, you get to walk on streets of gold! You get to rejoice with angels!
You get to ask God all the questions we’ve ever wanted to ask Him.
Perhaps questions like:
“Why does cancer exist?”
“Why did you allow the coronavirus to take lives?”
“Why do viruses exist at all?”
There are some things we simply won’t know this side of eternity, but someday we’ll get to ask God whatever we want.
Whether He takes us now or we stay on earth a while longer, either way, God WILL restore His people! He takes care of His own.
God WILL restore us—whether on earth or in heaven—He WILL restore us.
It’s also important to realize who will the restoration.
- God Himself will restore us
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful to our government for the CARES Act. I am thankful to Congress who came together to make it happen. I’m thankful to President Trump for signing the bill. The CARES Act will for sure help millions of Americans and business owners, and I’m grateful for that.
I’m also confident that our stock market is going to rebound. I don’t think it’s going to take a decade to recover. I expect that once the curve of infections goes the other way, that people will come back out of their homes and that the economy will be booming again. In fact, I think it will relatively shortly even pass where it was.
Yet all that being said, God is far more powerful than Congress. God is far more powerful than Trump. God is far more powerful than the CARES Act. God is far more powerful than Wall Street.
And God Himself WILL restore us. But there’s still more that stands out to me from this verse.
- God gives us strength
He restores us by giving us strength. Look at what Paul wrote:
[H]e said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Look at what the prophet Samuel said about God’s power:
[W]ho is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
– 2 Samuel 22:32-33
When we are weak, God makes us strong. But there’s one more phrase from 1 Peter 5:10 we can focus on that perhaps some people need to hear the most.
- Our suffering is only a little while
For most of us, our suffering is only going to last a “little while”.
For those of you who have been laid off, the economy will come back and jobs will be available again. This isn’t forever, this is just a “little while”.
For those of you who have lost income, this isn’t forever, this is just a “little while”.
For those of you who are forced to stay at home because you have a job considered “non-essential”, this isn’t forever… this is just a “little while”.
For those of you who are forced to work non-stop because you have a role that is considered “essential”, this isn’t forever… this is just a “little while”.
For those of you who are now homeschool teachers because schools are closed for the rest of the school year, this isn’t forever… this is just a “little while”.
For those of you who are high school seniors who have been working hard for the last 4 years only to find out in the last 4 days that your senior year has been cut short… your suffering is just a “little while”.
I know there’s no prom. No sports. No walking the line.
And I know it hurts. And I don’t want to diminish that or make light of your suffering. The pain is real.
But I promise you… the pain won’t be forever. You’ll have a good life with many great things that will come your way. The pain will only last a “little while”.
Friends, I am confident the suffering you’re going through right now isn’t forever. In the big picture, it will just be a “little while.”
But the question you’re probably thinking right now is this: “How long is a little while?”
And if you’re asking that right now, you wouldn’t be the first one.
Shortly before Jesus went to the cross, He said He would come back in “a little while,” but His disciples wanted to know exactly what “a little while” meant.
Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
– John 16:16-22
Notice that Jesus never answered their question. He never defined how long “a little while” means.
What He did say, however, is that we can be confident that our grief will turn to joy.
I have that confidence as well. Our grief will turn to joy.
So what we can do while we’re waiting for “a little while” until our grief turns to joy?
Turn to God.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
– Psalm 34:17-18
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
– Revelation 21:4
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
– Psalm 147:3
Even during the “little while”… God is right there with you. He understands your pain. He wipes your tears.
So while some people may point the finger at God and run away from God during a time like this… the one thing you should do throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is run toward God.
God will restore you. He’ll make you strong, firm and steadfast. He’ll get you through this. And even though you may be suffering for a little while, He’s right there with you. So run to the Father.
To watch the full sermon of this post, click the image below.
How have you been reacting so far to COVID-19? Do you feel you should be reacting the way you have been, or do you feel you should change the way you have responded? Reply in the comments below.