By Rev. Jerry Chiles
In March 2020 we lifted our voices to heaven crying, “God help us! Deliver us from this pandemic called Covid-19.” At that point in time, we had no idea what would be the extent of the pandemic. Over and over, we cried out to God to deliver us. When relief did not come, we asked, “Why not God? Why have you left us to struggle, unable to return to your house and be with your people?” Similar other cries of deliverance are found throughout the Bible in Joshua 7:7, Psalms 79:9, Matthew 6:13, and Matthew 26:39.
What do we do, when we cannot hear a word from the Lord? Maybe we are just not seeing the word the Lord has given. Open our eyes Lord, so we can see you acting. Here are four answers I have seen.
What if the word of the Lord is, The Church is not a building? Is God saying to us that buildings are not important? He is saying, “My people are to be primarily in the world and not in a building”. Jesus said, John 17:18 “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” How many Christians, who normally would be in a building, have been doing God’s work in neighborhoods and other unique places?
What if the word of the Lord is, I have provided you new ways to communicate to a world already proficient in technology? In Isaiah 43:19 we hear these words, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” How many times have we said ugly things, as we struggled to become proficient in technology when God had already put the gifted people in our midst to teach us?
What if a word of the Lord is, I have already shown you what is good? “He has showed you, O man, what is good. ….to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 This pandemic has helped us see a bigger world. He has called us to see people in need of food and housing and recognize the plight of people different from us. We must find ways to give people dignity, worth, and equality.
What if a word from the Lord is, All people from all tribes and nations, saints and sinners are welcome at My table? In Matthew 9:10 Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. In Matthew 26:6 he ate with a leper. As we begin to break down barriers to His table, we will experience resistance. In Matthew 9:11 the Pharisees asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Who does God want you to invite to His table?
We now have vaccines. Maybe it will not be long, before we have herd immunity and can return to some sense of normality. Is God calling us back to where we were, or is he calling us to move into a new world?
These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister. For more information about how he can help you, contact him here.