In our walk with Jesus, we have all been led faithfully and lovingly by our Father through many mine fields of life’s painful circumstances. We have all had victories and defeats, successes and failures in our relationship with God, and during this COVID-19 attack, His presence and power can be trusted. During this life I have had nothing in my experience but His mercy, love, and grace on a daily basis no matter what my circumstances might have been. As David prayed, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life … (Psalm 23:6a, ESV).” He wrote that before He was running from King Saul, who was trying to kill him, but it was true in all of life’s circumstances.
After all these years of learning to live and trust in our Lord’s biblical truths, which God taught me through many experiences of life, I have a growing desire as to know Jesus better during these dark times because I know I can trust Him.
For all of us, our journey with Jesus Christ has been real in the midst of a broken world and difficult circumstances that would test our faith in the love of God and faithfulness of God. I am hopeful that others will come to know and believe that God’s mercy and grace are for all times and all circumstances as we model Christ during these difficult times with God’s truth, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21, ESV).”
It has been decades since I had talked about Vietnam, but at that time, I was being led to talk about God’s love and grace in the horrors of war. Today, we are at war with horrors of this pandemic.
In this pandemic, there is much to learn about the Christian life, especially when we think about the enemy of COVID-19. The primary metaphor of Scripture is that of being at war with a real enemy. I believe that Jesus declared war on Satan immediately after the fall of the human race, and the war was won—not “will be won” but actually won 2,000 years ago when Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death, conquering sin, and destroying the works of the Devil.
Think of all the military illustrations in the Scriptures:
- “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:4, ESV).”
- “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith … and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit … (Ephesians 6:16-17, ESV).”
- “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (2 Timothy 2:4, ESV).”
- “I have fought the good fight … (2 Timothy 4:7a, ESV).”
Think of the times that God is called our:
- Shield (Psalm 28:7).
- Fortress (Psalm 18:2).
- Rear guard (Isaiah 52:12).
- Defense (Psalm 94:22).
Yes, we are at war. Remember that we do not fight for victory but from the victory Jesus Christ has won already, even when it is an unseen enemy that no one can see.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book “The Cost of Discipleship” states, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Today, I feel like a dying man speaking to dying men and women. As in all of life, there are two types of deaths that each of us must pass through. If you are outside of Christ and His provision of forgiveness and reconciliation then you are dying spiritually. If you are in Christ and are a child of God, then you are dying to yourself so that Christ might live through you. My prayer in this journey with you is that you may come to know the peace of God if He is who you are searching for. And if you know Christ, may your faith be stretched to live recklessly abandoned to Him in helping others to know Him. Yes, keep safe, follow the rules we have been given. Keep praying that God will give us VICTORY over this virus. And remember, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21, ESV).”
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.