So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
These words remind me of the characters in The Wizard of Oz, three companions with whom Dorothy must journey in a strange land and uncertain time in order to become more. The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion ... wisdom, heart, and courage.
It feels a bit like we've been tornado-ed into Oz these days, or stepped through the wardrobe into Narnia, or taken the Red Pill to see how far the rabbit hole goes. But on the other hand, we have been living outside the Garden all along. As comfortable as I may want to make it, and as much as I can be fooled into thinking I have control, things really are not what they seem. We live in a battle. Evil is real. In days like we're experiencing now, it even feels like evil has the upper hand. Whether our enemy is the cause of the global coronavirus, or just being opportunistic by spreading the "spiritual virus" of fear, our enemy's ultimate goal is to make image bearers doubt the presence and love of God. No matter what the kingdom of darkness does, it is always after the same thing: separate the image bearers of God from God. Through fear, shame, and guilt our enemy will try to infect our hearts with doubt and isolation, in a sense "quarantine" us from God ... enforce spiritual boundaries that create distance between His heart and ours.
More than 80 times the Scriptures invite us to “fear not”… “do not be afraid.” These words are always spoken when there is something at hand that anyone would be afraid of, something circumstantial that brings with it a reason to fear … OR are such times an invitation? An invitation to move toward God with faith, hope and love through wisdom, courage and heart.
My friend Zoweh board member Gary Barkalow often teaches, “You can have answers, or you can have God.” Mystery is an invitation toward intimacy. During these uncertain times, I truly believe God is at work - moving, wooing, inviting, speaking, helping and offering my heart peace, comfort and strength. In quiet times I have asked, Jesus what is this about? What is going on? What are you doing? His answers are almost always ... "I’ll show you, walk with me.” That is either uncomfortable or extremely comforting, depending on where I am and my ability to hear his voice over or through the whispers of the enemy … “You are alone, He isn’t there, you don't know what to do and you are … you will …” Quite unhelpful and quite unnecessary.
I would invite you to take advantage of this time. Yes, push away from Fox or CNN, let the emails wait, and listen to the One who loves you most. Share your heart with the Father, whether fearful or worse; invite Him to answer your questions, and pay attention. If you don't hear a voice, that doesn’t mean He isn’t speaking. I’ve heard great stories from friends and allies who've heard from God at unexpected times. One while doing yard work, raking back the dead leaves, only to hear from God on the uncovered earth floor of his backyard, spring flowers green and rising from the ground, some budding while others lay waiting for their moment. Another was at the grocery store ... the item they were looking for was all out, so they went on discouraged. Fear began to slither in, but before checking out, they had the idea to just go check that aisle one last time. As they rounded the corner, there on the shelf was one, ONE package of what they needed, sitting there by itself. Their breath was taken away as they smiled with gratitude. Then they felt it … felt Him, "could you be that good? Just for me?” Yes, little one.
"Just because things aren’t good doesn’t mean they aren’t going according to plan. And what isn’t good, God will make a way. The answer to all the questions is walk with God." - The Heart of a Warrior
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. - Luke 12:22-32 (ESV)
Wisdom, Courage, and Heart, dear friends. You and Jesus have got this because He always has you.
For some encouragement about living in the Kingdom during this time of uncertainty, I invite you to check out Zoweh's March newsletter. You'll find prayers and guidance for saying "Yes" to a Kingdom life, and "No" to a life of fear and anxiety.
There will be more to come, because with God … there is always more … more life, more love, and more freedom.