During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection each weekday.
Fearing the Fallout
Many of us don’t worry much about the coronavirus. But we are worried about the long-term social, economic, political and spiritual fallout that will hit us as a result of the pandemic.
People everywhere are discussing what the new normal will be like when things get going again after the slowdown. What will happen to small businesses? Will our economy quickly ramp up again or will this leave us in a major recession or depression for years to come? In this economic uncertainty should I move forward to implement my business plan?
Will we still have sufficient retirement savings when this is all over? Will I get my job back? How will the increased national debt impact my future and my children’s future? What will happen to our standard of living? Will we have to downsize our lifestyles and earthly dreams?
Will hand sanitizers and social distancing become the new law of the land? Will we ever be able to do public handshakes and hugs again? Will governments use the emergency measures as an opportunity to seize greater control over public and private life? What will come of international relations and trade agreements? Will the tensions between nations caused by the virus lead to war?
How will this affect the church? Will religious liberty suffer a major blow? Will people stop assembling for worship when they discover how easy it is to stay at home in front of their TVs? If you’re in a church plant, how will this affect your fledgling congregation? Will this make us afraid of having contact with one another for fear of passing on sickness? If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like crowds, how hard will it be for you to step into a crowd again? Will reliance on Zoom and Google technology leave a lasting negative impact on how closely we’re able and willing to fellowship with one another?
What will happen to Christian charities? After suffering a major interruption in support, will their donors pick up the pace again as before? Will charities have to downsize or even close their doors? How would that impact our nation and globe?
So there are many, many things to fear, moving forward.
Of course, there could be major positive results as well. Maybe we’ll be more generous toward each other. Maybe we’ll value social connection more. Maybe we’ll learn to value the quiet life and take steps to rush less and meditate more. Maybe fake Christianity will take a major hit. Perhaps we’ll put less confidence in the economy, in our plans, and in the strength of our own hands. Western culture has a very proud and self-sufficient spirit. Maybe we will repent? Maybe we’ll be more in tune with our mortality and look to God for life’s true remedy.
In the midst of all the fears we have for the uncertain future we face, let’s remember that the future is always uncertain. Our earthly expectations and demands for tomorrow are a mirage. We really don’t know what will happen. That was true a year ago, it’s still true now, and will be a year from now.
As Christians, we need to hold onto three great truths to steady our hearts in uncertain times. In his meditation on Psalm 46, Pastor Tim Keller encourages Christians to remember: (Trusting God in Difficult Times, Psalm 46 Meditation)
- Your bad things will work out for your good.
- This is our Solid Rock in the storms of life. Though we cannot know all that God is doing or how he will use it, knowing that God works all things for Your good gives you firm footing and unimaginable peace. When you know that God is always good, then you believe that He will work out all trouble for your good. If you give your fearing and fretting for the future to God, the God of peace will comfort you and enable you to rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4-9; Romans 8:28)
- Your good things will not be taken away from you.
- The things that really matter remain certain at all times. All your sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. You have eternal life. Your citizenship is in heaven. Christ your Mediator is there praying for you, protecting you, and defending you. At the same time, He is with you here and now. Even if all the powers of this world and of hell should conspire to come against you at once, you will never lose the love of God in Christ Jesus and all the riches of your salvation.
- Your best things are still to come.
- When you die you will meet Jesus immediately. You will be with your God to enjoy Him forever. The new heaven and earth will be your everlasting home where, together with all the saints, you will have fullness of joy and eternal pleasures at God’s right hand. Fellow Christians, whatever the fallout in the coming months and years, let these certainties help us keep our footing in all our uncertainties. Let them make us peaceable and kind, faithful and unshakable.