You have probably gone to the grocery store and even continued to find a way to exercise to make sure your physical needs as well as your families are being met during this time. However, maybe more important than any other time in our lives, we must take care of our souls. In other words, we must take care of our spiritual needs! As Pastors and leaders, we must be committed to helping our church families do that!
How as followers of Jesus should we respond during this time?
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 has continued to come to mind as I have been thinking through this important and urgent question. The Lord is speaking and He says this,
13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, - 2 Chronicles 7:13 (ESV)
So in verse 13, God is specifically talking about 3 situations.
1. He says when “there is no rain”, He is speaking about drought.
2. When He says, “if I command the locust to devour the land”, He is speaking about famine.
3. When He says, “or send pestilence among my people”, he is speaking about disease.
The Lord continues by telling us exactly how to respond as believers when we experience things like these. And this is what he says, verse 14.
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
God here tells us that when pestilence comes into our country, and it has, here is what we are to do in order to bring healing to our land.
God says, we, his people, who are called by his name, are to turn from our sin, humble ourselves, seek His face, and we are to do this through prayer!
This verse reminds me of a two crucial things.
Our hope through all of this is in the Lord. Our hope is not in the government, our doctors, or even in our ability to be prepared. Our hope is in our Great God! We must remember that!
In times like these, this verse teaches us that God’s eyes are on us, his people, his church. Here in 2 Chronicles God says that when pestilence comes, His eyes are not on politicians, leaders, or even pastors. This verse says that when things like this occur, the Lord’s eyes are squarely on you an me, his people called by His name!
13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (ESV)
We cannot ignore that in times like these it is our responsibility to humble ourselves before the Lord, get on our knees, seek his face, and pray. And this is especially true if we have children. What an amazing opportunity this is as followers of King Jesus to show our children how to respond in the face of tests, trials, hardships, hangups, heartaches, and adversity. We have an opportunity to show them we don’t freak out, finger point, or with anger, but instead we can respond as the psalmist says,
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth. - Psalm 121:1-2
So I want to encourage and invite each one of us in the weeks and months to come to do just this. Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways, and pray like never before that God would heal our land!
How should we respond as local church families?
Throughout-out history the world has faced severe & dangerous circumstances, such as war, famine, outbreaks of disease, evil attacks, and the like. And by the grace of God, the church has stood up and said since the Lord is our hope, we are not going anywhere. We are going to engage and be present!
There is an incredible story about how Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon and his church the Metropolitan Tabernacle engaged in the Cholera Outbreak in London in 1852. When most churches were isolating themselves and protecting themselves from danger, the Metropolitan Tabernacle made the decision that they were going to lean in and serve. They decided they were going to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of this.
Pastor Spurgeon in the middle of the Cholera outbreak in a sermon entitled “Fields White For The Harvest” said this:
“When the world is sick and afraid, be reminded that you have the balm of Gilead — when their wounds hurt, when their wounds sting, pour it in. You know of him who died to save, tell them of Him. Lift high the Cross before their eyes. Tell them that God became Man that man might be lifted to God. Tell them of Calvary, of it groans, and cries and sweat of blood. Tell them of Jesus hanging on the Cross to save sinners. Tell them that there is life for a look at the Crucified One!”
I love that! That is a Gritty Church For Their City! And that is exactly what the church must be!
So here is my invitation for us! Let’s be smart, Let’s not put anyone in unnecessary risk, but at the same time, there is going to be people in our churches, other churches, and our cities that need us to lean in and serve. So let us be gritty and get in the fight!
Church, by the grace of God this pandemic will pass and the question is, “What will our communities and cities say about us? What will they say about King Jesus whom we represent?
So brothers and sisters, let’s be prayed up like never before and be ready! Consider these words from Jesus in Matthew 5,
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
Brothers and sisters it is an honor to be in this with you!
 Quote from Charles Spurgeon Sermon “Fields White For Harvest” on John 4:35 from Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 12, pg 299.
Dustin Crawford is the Lead Pastor at Origins Church in West Chest Township, OH, and is primarily responsible for vision, preaching, leadership, and shepherding.
Dustin has an MDiv from Southern Seminary. He is the founding pastor of Refuge Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-generational church family located in the inner-city of Atlanta, GA. He and his wife Sheri have been married for 11 years and have two kids (Kennedy and Ethan) and a baby boy due in February 2020.
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