As I sit and write this message, I — like everyone else in the world — am caught in a terrible dilemma known as COVID-19. For the most part, this virus has me and others trapped in a world of quarantine and “stay at home” policies that affect every aspect of our daily lives. It seems as if the virus has taken over everything including jobs, food supplies, economies, medical professionals, hospitals, churches and on and on.
There are many who ignore the requests of the scientists and medical professionals who insist that we wear masks and practice social distancing in order to curve and flatline the spread of this terrible epidemic until a vaccine can be developed. There is much debate about “opening the country” back up including professional sports, colleges and public schools.
There is too much chaos for me to write about in the space limitations given for this particular column. Besides, most of you already know the issues and you may be as perplexed about them as I am. However, I must inform you that my confusion is about the human leadership or lack thereof on these issues. I am not confused about God and what he has promised us. As a result, in the midst of this pandemic and this sinful world which affects me in so many ways, I am glad that I know a God who has promised to reward faithfulness, to be with us to the end, and to give us the victory.
In times like these, the promises of God can comfort us and give us some direction. Scholars have estimated there are more than 7,000 promises of God in the Holy Scriptures. I would like to take the opportunity now to list just a few of them that I believe can be helpful to us as we continue to seek to overcome this pandemic, our challenges and our sins.
Let me begin with this, God in 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV, promises, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The book of Proverbs, 3:5-6 NIV, makes this promise, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Jeremiah in 29:11 NIV prophesied a promise of God when he told us “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In the Gospel of Matthew 7:7 NIV, Jesus promises, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” As we approach Pentecost, now is a great time to begin praying to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome our challenges. In the Book of Acts 1:8a NIV, the Lord promised…” you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you….” The Apostle Paul in his Epistles has recorded many promises of God that we should always focus on and live in anticipation of their fulfillment.
To name a few — Romans 8:28 NIV, assures us, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In these days, we are often tested and challenged with temptations, but God assures us with these words in 1 Corinthians 9:14 NIV, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can endure it. My brothers and sisters, I pray that the promises of God will hold you up in times like these. So, as Paul tells us in Galatians 6:9 NIV, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” When we are faithful to God, he has promised to save us!