March 15, 2020

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”. Psalms 46:10

There on the wall, behind my son’s seat at the breakfast table, was a decorative sign that his wife had hung, to remind the family of their faith. It read, simply, “Be Still”. It was the answer I was looking for but didn’t want to see. It was a direct answer to my morning prayer, as I read over the Bible. It was a personal revelation from God.

The date was March 15th. We were in Waco, TX to see my son and family before the virus and government, shut us down. I’d been working on family preparation for over a month, as I discerned this “Chinese Flu” was a new strain that was going to “strain” our social and economic systems. In fact I forewarned our staff and board of that possibility over a month before, January 31st.

Next I went into a season of prayer, asking God to direct me about upcoming travel and events, I had already committed to. From that prayer season I got an unmistakable spiritual sense to go… for now; from an unexpected time of meditation in Psalm 91. So I did.

As a result, I did two things. First, I supercharged my efforts in ministry (while I had the time, before the wave of infections hit the USA). And, second, like a squirrel, being the ”fixer” that I am, jumped into high gear to prepare; face masks, disinfectant wipes, nitrile gloves , a bit of water and food and refills on our prescription drugs.

But it never stopped, the urge, the plunge to help, to do all I could do, to learn, to prepare, to get ahead of it.

Then it happened. The world really did shut down. But not before our Waco trip. On that delightful family experience, my son and I had a few conversations about COVID-19 and its implications and my nature was further stimulated to get more prepared; but…

The Lord was beginning to knock on my heart, to say “enough”.

In fact, the first thing I did when we got back to Dallas, Sunday night, was to “run” to the store and get a few more things – so we could better wait it out at home. However, as I was leaving Walmart, I sensed the Lord was not pleased. I had a heavy burden that I was now, operating on my own, in my flesh and not relying on His Spirit or respecting His revelation; the one he’d given me on this trip from a different Psalm, number 46.

Here is the text in full…

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Here are the four points that particularly stuck out to me that day.

  1. God, ultimately and always, is my protection – not biological suits and masks, or government, or money – no matter what terror or tragedy haunts the earth – indeed, only God IS!
  2. My all powerful Savior God, like living water, is my solace, my refreshment, my placid place of peace. This comforts me and gives me a peace that truly surpasses understanding; as only a supernatural deliverer can give.
  3. Next I am reminded, that no matter how I feel, no matter what I can’t see or control, that Emmanuel, is here, with me, even around me, as a perfect fortification from all that assails me; emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, materially and financially…to the end of the age.
  4. As a result we can “be still”, while fully acknowledging the current crisis. Not because there is no present danger, but because of it. He comes to the rescue of those in trouble who seek Him – Our God stands ready to show Himself strong in the midst of our changing and scary world. He does His best work in such impossible circumstances. (Luke 1:36)

Men, it is precisely here, in the thick of a lethal threat, to our lives and livelihoods that God calls us to stand firm in a faith that waits on Him for deliverance because He loves us and is mindful that we are insufficient to help ourselves; in such overwhelming circumstances.

Man oh man – that preaches good – but the practice, therewith, is next to impossible; if you have a squirrel gene in you like I have.

Nevertheless, here I stand – not because I want to, but because He told me to. I’ve done my manly due diligence of personal responsibility, in getting my family ready. Now the rest is up to Him – as it always is.

And I know He won’t disappoint.