Mar 30, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
We are in the middle of Lent. We are also in the middle of an event no one probably imagined possible in our lifetime - a global pandemic. We had the Swine Flu that swept flu years ago, and it was terrible. But certainly didn't seem to be on the catastrophic order this coronavirus appears to be taking us.
People are afraid. You can see it in the blank stares of those you meet. You see it in the panic-stricken faces of the shoppers who can't find the staples necessary to meet the needs of the week. You see it in the faces of the officials who try to bring calm to the cities and states across the country when they don't have answers or solutions, and they know it.
The pandemic seemed to be out there somewhere when we first heard about the numbers in China and on the cruise ship stuck in Japan. Then we heard the report of the nursing home in Washington, and it began to worry us just a bit. Next, the stories blossomed in Italy, France, Spain, and the rest of Europe. Then New York City became the epicenter for our country, and fear began to grip the nation.
How do we handle all of this? Where do we go from here? How could God let this happen to our nation?
I wish I had answers to all the questions, but I don't. There are some things I do know, however. God is just the same today as he was when we faced the Swine Flu pandemic and the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Black Plague pandemic and all the other pandemics that have swept through the world. He has not changed. Where is he? Still in the hearts and lives of those who believe and follow him.
Does that make us less susceptible to the outcomes that will occur because of what might happen in the next weeks and months because of these new events? No. Christians will suffer along with the rest of humanity. But we can feel God's love and share it with those around us. We can face the days ahead with courage, knowing that God is still on the throne and will not forsake us.
One of the passages from yesterday's lectionary was from one of David's most famous psalms. In it, he tells God and us, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."
This virus we face is undoubtedly an evil little bug. It infects others before you know you have it. It seeks out the most vulnerable in the population and wreaks havoc on their system. It invades cities and states and societies indiscriminately. It causes us to give up the thing we need most in times like this, the comfort of human touch and face to face relationships.
God remains, though. He tells us he is ever-present in times of need. I'm not sure how many will reach out to him during this crisis time, but my hope is we will use it as an opportunity to share his love with those around us. Find peace in the middle of all the chaos and fear. Understand that he is the answer to our current dilemma.
Another of the passages from the lectionary spoke of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. By the time Mary and Martha's messenger reached Jesus, Lazarus was already dead, but the disciples and the messenger didn't know it. Jesus delayed going to Mary and Martha for their sake and ours. When he finally told the disciples they would go to Bethany to Mary and Martha's house; the disciples were confused. Why would Jesus wait until Lazarus was dead to go? Why wouldn't he go and heal him before he died?
We know Jesus had a plan. He wept for Mary and Martha. For their unrelenting love for their brother. For their grief in his death. For their unbelief in his power as the giver of life. Jesus had the stone removed from the tomb, called Lazarus to come out of the grave, and to everyone's astonishment, the dead man walked out alive.
Jesus demonstrated his resurrection power in calling Lazarus out of the tomb. He had already done it with his touch on the young man at the funeral in Cain and the centurion's daughter and Jason's daughter. This incident wasn't the first time Jesus raised someone from the dead, but it was the first time it wasn't the same day they died that he brought them back to life.
Burials happened within twenty-four hours in Jesus' day. The heat of the middle east sun meant a corpse began to smell pretty quickly. The custom was when a person died, they were immediately wrapped in linen clothes embedded with spices and then lain to rest within a day. So all that Jesus raised before had not yet been buried. Until Lazarus. He had been in the tomb for four days.
God gives us that same resurrection power through his Spirit living in us. Can we make it through this current crisis? With his resurrection power in us, we can enjoy the peace he brings. We can know his presence in our hearts. We can share the love he shares with us. We can extend his grace to those around us. We can live with the assurance that the valley of the shadow of death does not need to frighten us because he is with us.
Might we suffer as the pandemic progresses? We might. Will things get worse in the days ahead? They probably will. Can we endure through it all? Yes, we can. God's resurrection power can help us through the worst of times, giving us his peace in the most turbulent times.
As we get locked into our homes to avoid the spread of the virus, spend time with God. Let his scriptures and his spirit comfort you. Learn more about him and let his words encourage you.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.