Crisis brings out the best and worst within us. Some personalities love a challenge. Adversity inspires them. Climbing Mount Everest, participating in a Triathalon, winning an Olympic medal…these people amaze me! Not everyone has an extreme adventure personality. Some of us freeze when there is a crisis. We have no idea what to do. Others are pessimistic by nature. When a major problem hits, they see all the possibilities of what could go wrong.
In the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis, what kind of person will you be?
While much of our natural response to a crisis is driven by our personality or background, we have a choice to make as well. Will we respond in faith? Will we look to God and seek Him for the opportunities these difficulties afford us? Or will we freeze, paralyzed, and pessimistic?
Hope is contagious. Faith is too. The world is looking for those who are full of hope, who are confident in this crisis. They will notice those who are compassionate and responsive to the needs around them.
When the Israelites Missed It
Deuteronomy Chapter One describes a critical time in the history of Israel. Moses led the people to the hill country of the Amorites. It was time to go in, to take the land. God spoke this command. What was their response? It was definitely not immediate obedience.
The Israelites came to Moses with a proposal. “Let’s send in a small group of men to spy out the land before we enter”. They selected twelve to go. As we know, two of these men returned with a very different perspective from the others.
Ten came back and reported that the land was good, but the giants were large. Their perspective was fear-based.
Two of the men, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a hopeful, optimistic perspective. “The land is good and we can take it with God’s help!”
As the sad story continues, we see that the Israelites “were unwilling to go up.” They “rebelled against the command of the Lord” (Deut 1:26 NIV.) It’s hard. This is impossible, they thought.
They missed God’s plan and timing.
Don’t Miss This!
I recently watched a message by Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With A Mission. Speaking to the large global YWAM family, he proclaimed “2020 is a year of breakthrough!” He went on to speak prophetically about what is coming, “…there will be an amazing openness. Don’t miss this! We’ve come to the Kingdom for such a time as this!”
Since hearing this message, I’ve been meditating on Loren’s words. “Don’t miss this!”
This phrase repeats itself again and again in my mind. “Don’t miss what, Lord? What are you doing? What are your instructions and opportunities in this unique time in history?”
I don’t want to be like the ten spies, nor the Israelites who listened to them. My prayer is this. “God give me the same heart and spirit that Joshua and Caleb had.” I pray I would see the opportunities, the possibilities, and would say to others, “Let’s go in and take the land! God has given it to us!”
Acknowledging the Difficulties
That doesn’t mean there aren’t giants. The obstacles we face right now are real. We should acknowledge that. Finances are tough….really tough in some places. Many are sick. It’s hard to share Christ or sow abundantly with social distancing, lockdowns, and stay home orders. Travel restrictions prevent missionary activity in unprecedented ways. This is all true. We are not ignorant of the challenges in this season.
Like Joshua and Caleb, though, we must rise up in faith. We need to fix our eyes on the God we serve. He is the God of the impossible, the God of all wisdom. Our God is unlimited in His creative ability to help us innovate and find solutions to the problems we face.
Embrace the New
Don’t miss this! We are in a season of great opportunity! Tremendous revival, multiplication, and the release of many new movements are ahead of us…if we will step in and take the land. Our strategies and ways of working will need radical adaptation. New skills may need to be learned. How to reach out to people and how to disciple those who respond will look different, both now, and when this is over.
People around the world are hungry, hopeless, fearful, sick, and in need. It is the perfect time for God’s people to reach out. I agree with Loren Cunningham. There will be a greater openness to the gospel in the coming months than the world has ever seen. Will we rise up and enter the land?
“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you…”Deuteronomy 1:29a NIV.
What Is God Saying to You?
Some have referred to this time as a forced sabbatical. For some, that may be true. Taking extra time to wait on God, pray, receive from and rest in Him is very valid anytime, and especially in this season. I’m a big believer in sabbaticals and sabbath.
For others of us though, God is saying “Take the land.” He is speaking to us about actions to reach out to the lost in new ways, to disciple in new ways, to launch Disciple Making Movements in new ways.
What is God saying to you? Take time to listen, then don’t hesitate to obey. God wants our immediate obedience. He wants our trust. The Lord desires us to be beacons of light, hope, and faith in this season. Let’s join Him to bring in the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen.