We are undoubtedly living in unprecedented times in our society, but here's what I love about the Bible. We have so many stories of God's people walking through similar kinds of uncertainty that show us how his people looked to Him.
An especially powerful story is that of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. Here's the setting:
"Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, 'A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar' (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord..." - 2 Chron. 20:2-3
Though the circumstances are different, Jehoshaphat was feeling what a lot of us are feeling right now. A visible horde of enemies was marching against Judah, and they were already in the land, as close as the southern oasis of Engedi. But unlike Jehoshaphat, the horde we're facing is invisible. It's not just out there somewhere, it's here, on our shores and in our community. And it's causing a lot of fear. There's nothing wrong with feeling afraid. At some level, we can't control that. But when those feelings arise, what do we do with them? Where do we go with them? To whom do we turn? Jehoshaphat models what, where and to whom we must take our fears, he "set his face to seek the Lord." But there is something particular in Jehoshaphat's public prayer before the people that I want to draw your attention to:
"For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” - 2 Chron. 20:12
We are powerless against the spread of COVID-19 and the impact it's going to have. Social distancing, home isolation, testing and treatments are important and will help, but they can only do so much. Many businesses and organizations, including the church are asking how we can continue our work in light of the many restrictions. In a lot of ways, we feel like Jehoshaphat, "we don't know what to do." Again, these are unprecedented times.
We may not know what to do, but we know who to turn to. "Our eyes are on you." We can follow the Lord into the unknown of the coming weeks and months, trusting that our God is sovereign and that He has good plans for His church. We can be salt and light in the midst of the uncertainty and chaos (Matt. 5:13-16). We may not know what's going to happen, but we know the One who will lead us through it. Jesus defeated the true horde that stood opposed to us: Satan, Sin and Death, so that in the middle of this crisis, we can be sure that He is with us through it all (Psalm 23:4).
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me."