God has not given us the spirit of fear.

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God has not given us the spirit of fear, but it’s out there, and far more dangerous and deadly than any virus. Questions are raised – “will things ever go back to normal?” “Will we all be here if they do?”

The answer to both is, probably not. The social and economic effects of this are probably going to bring with them changes affecting our lives for some time to come, and while God has promised to shelter those that know Him (that know where to go for strength and solace) under his wings, there will be those He, in His mercy, calls home. More than this, the earth is reaped of those who do not know Him, who are overcome by the tide of fear and pestilence. Sadly, all of these do not need to die. Ps 91 makes it clear there is a place of refuge and the New Testament is full of promises that Jesus empowered us with His spirit and authority to heal and cast out demons (like fear). How much we use that power lies with us. Like any muscle faith must be exercised to grow strong and many are discovering their faith muscles have become soft and flabby through lack of application, or perhaps they have never had to exercise them till now, but rather coasted along resting in affluence and the medical profession. Now these props are being taken away they flounder.

Yet there is another side to this. “They that understand among the people shall be strong and do exploits”. This has also been happening, growing in force for many, many years. Miracles are now an accepted part of life is many churches, many more people coming to know God in a personal, intimate way. The loss of our pastor for the past year showed me the strength of our congregation, it not only survived but flourished.

Now, with this lockdown, many can no longer rely on the prop of their church fellowship. Precious as it is to gather together, it is not essential. We will all one day stand before God and we will be alone, no masks, no excuses, no props of any kind. Will we run to His arms sure of our welcome (not because of any goodness of our own but because we know His grace and mercy, His overwhelming love for us). He wants that now. Now in our solitude, in our anxiety, we can run to His arms and find peace.

The other question is out there. Is this where it all begins? Where darkness covers the earth, when the antichrist rises, and the forces of evil have their way among us for a while? When the dreadful predictions of Revelations come to pass?

It could be. It could be the “beginning of sorrows” spoken of. The covenant has not been signed and the antichrist (if he’s around) has yet to appear on the scene, the temple is not rebuilt, but this is something that might prelude these things. Unlike most, I don’t believe in the pre-trib rapture (though I’d be happy to be proved wrong if it happens lol!) The scriptures are pretty clear though and besides I think Jesus would want us here to witness to those seeking the truth a such a time – and there will be many.

These lockdowns could be a precious time of preparation for dreadful things to come and a merciful homegoing for those the Lord brings home to escape it, or merely another signpost on the road. Either way let’s use this time to flex those muscles and build our faith, to learn where to find peace in the midst of the storm. How to tap into His power and replace our fear with faith that works by a knowledge of His love for us.