It would be an understatement to say that it’s been a crazy few weeks. The Coronavirus that has waged war on the world has changed the day to day lives of the majority of people. Everyone is panicking and keeping their distance from others. Stores, restaurants, and churches have closed their doors. World-wide and nation-wide sporting events have been canceled or postponed. Many people are not able to go to work because of fear of catching or spreading the virus. And for some odd reason, people are afraid that toilet paper will somehow help them during this pandemic. I cannot for the life of me figure out why.
It seems as though every time we turn on the news the numbers of those infected by COVID-19 have increased, as well as the death toll. It is an outbreak the likes of which nobody alive today has ever seen.
Politicians are at their usual games of pointing fingers and trying to sneak their agendas into bills meant to help America deal with this virus. The economy is looking as though it is at a tipping point, and stocks are very low. You don’t have to look far to see the effects of this virus, both biological and societal. Bad news is everywhere.
Today I spent some time outside and as I was walking I saw a cute little Red-Breasted Robin hopping around on the ground without a care in the world. He picked up something on the ground and then went on his way with it in his mouth. Whether it was food for him to eat or a branch or twig to make a nest with, I do not know. Either way, he didn’t seem worried about anything. I stopped and listened as the birds all around whistled and chirped in the trees. They seemed happy. The sun was setting and a nice breeze was blowing.
Seeing the Robin and hearing the other birds reminded me of what Jesus said in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 6:25-34.
““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.””
God is good, and He asks us to trust Him. Sure, it is easier said than done, but it is something we should strive for. I feel like this passage is often overlooked or brushed over.
God is saying that he looks out for and provides for the birds, giving them food and shelter. He then tells us how much more important we are to him than the birds. We are, after all, made in His image.
We needn’t worry, worrying only detracts from our life and from our joy. We need to go on with our lives and live as normal (without worrying). Jesus says that it is the pagans who worry about such things because they do not have hope or faith in God. We have faith, and therefore we have no need to worry.
We tend to think everything we want is something we need, and therefore, if God doesn’t grant our prayers of getting that, we think He doesn’t provide for us. Take a moment to sit back and think about what you want and what you need. And examine whether God has given you ways to provide what you need to survive in this life.
I remember one of my college ministers talking about multiple times where he and his family needed something, not wanted, needed, and they prayed in faith and asked God to provide. Sure enough, often at the last moment or in the most unusual way, God fulfilled their need. I have never met someone who relied on God so much for their daily needs than him. He never expressed worry or doubt. He always said that He knew God would provide what He knew was best for them.
It is attitudes like that that we should aspire to have. Especially in times like these.
Christ goes on to tell us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Notice when he says we should seek these things. FIRST. Not second or third. Not after you already have what you want. He tells us to seek those things first. Before we seek anything else. We should be seeking and anticipating His coming kingdom and our reigning with Him. We should also be seeking His righteousness, both in relation to our sanctification and in reference to drawing close to His goodness. We should be putting God at the forefront of our minds and actions and seek to align our will with His will. In short, we need to have an eternal perspective. Think about how our life right now is just a pin-prick in the grand scheme of life.
Jesus then says that once we have put those things first, God will grant us the things we need. In any relationship, if you put the other person first and show love and kindness to them, they will in turn show the same affection to you and your relationship will grow. That is what Jesus is encouraging here. He wants us to draw close to Him so that He will draw close to us. He wants us to rely on Him.
In Isaiah 41:10 God tells us “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
We don’t need to worry about tomorrow and how the virus could or would affect us. Each day has its own worries, focus on today and know God is with you every step of the way and he will provide. As believers we can have peace and rest in that peace of thinking He is in control. Nothing happens that surprises Him. Mankind has been through much worse, and we will come though this as well!