Pastors Pen
 
We’ve been here before. Maybe not this place and time, but we have been in a place of national panic before. Our country has faced giants in the past. Wars and rumors of war, presidential assassinations, diseases, flu, riots, etc.
 
Each giant was unprecedented and often unexpected. But they all had something in common: each one caused fear, and each one brought new challenges to the faith of Christians. Will we be controlled by fear or by faith?  COVID 19 is no different. No matter what it’s called, is the giant we face bigger than the One who spoke the universe into existence?  Of course not. God is bigger than anything that comes against us, even formidable giants.  The question is, where do we find truth and the strength to stand?
 
The Christ follower has three responses.  First, we pray; this is where we begin to gain strength. Second, we dig into the Bible, feeding our souls on Truth. Third, we look back to the LORD’s faithfulness, not only in the Bible, but in our lives as well. This 3-prong approach will give you power from on high to stand against the giants of fear, panic and the unknown.
 
In Romans 12:12, Paul takes faith to the next level while facing extreme difficulties. He states, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” We may say, “That’s easy for Paul; he’s a spiritual giant specially gifted by Jesus.” Yes, he was mightily gifted, but how could he tell Christians to rejoice in hope or be patient in affliction?  He could because he endured brutal trials and still thrived as a Christ follower.
 
In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 Paul detailed what he suffered since becoming a Christian.  He was beaten 5 times with 39 lashes each time, three times beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked three times, dangers from rivers, robbers, his own people, Gentiles, false brothers, many sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, often without food, cold and lacking clothing.  He goes on in verse 28: “Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.” Paul knew what it meant to face insurmountable trials and to have his faith in Christ challenged.  However, he also knew where to find real hope, the living hope that is Jesus Christ. He practiced what he professed, and Jesus gave Paul the power to stand during times of intense difficulty. 
 
I encourage you to read Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  When you do, remember what he endured before he wrote it. Paul lived Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” May you find strength, peace and hope from the Word of God!
 
Philippians 4:6-7
Pastor Steve