The Pastor’s Piece – April 5, 2020
Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
April 5, 2020
So we’re stuck in this coronavirus shutdown and I think the mindset has shifted from curiosity, (what’s this all about); to fear (what is this invisible pandemic? And I hope I don’t get it!); and now to worry (what does this all mean to me and my family? How are we going to pay our bills if we lose our jobs)? And farmers have to dump their milk because of the logistics of getting it processed and to the supermarket.
We all know they’re now talking about a recession – and even worse. Add all this to our pre-existing personal problems. In the health insurance industry they talk about pre-existing conditions as they relate to our physical bodies – and we all have those to one degree or another. But we also have pre-existing conditions related to our emotional selves. No one’s personal problems have disappeared just because there is a worldwide pandemic.
In other words, we still worry about things. The late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said: “If I allow my concern about the future to cripple me in the present, I am guilty of worry.” Jesus said quite simply in Matthew 6 that believers should not worry about the future.
He did not say that Christians should not be concerned about the issues we face in life or think about them or plan for the future. The Bible encourages us to work hard, to save our money, and so forth, but what Jesus is saying is that we shouldn’t worry about these things. Worry doesn’t make your life longer; it just makes it more miserable.
Last year when Joni Eareckson Tada was diagnosed with cancer, her response was: “When I received the unexpected news of cancer from my oncological surgeon, I relaxed and smiled, knowing that my sovereign God loves me dearly and holds me tightly in His hands. What good is it if we only trust the Lord when we understand His ways? That only guarantees a life filled with doubts.”
Someone has said: “Plan like you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.”
Following are some self examination questions we can use during these trying times.
First, am I praying with faith? I could have asked, “Am I praying?” and stopped there. But this question goes further. In Luke 18, Jesus teaches us that we should always pray and not lose heart. At the end of that teaching He asks: “When the Son of man comes will He find faith on the earth?” He doesn’t ask, “Will the Son of man find prayer on the earth?” He asks: “Will the Son of man find faith on the earth?” He says it like that because what matters is not that I am saying my prayers, like the Pharisees did, and like millions of people in all religions around the world do; what matters is that I’m praying with faith. Do I have confidence in God to do more than I can do or even ask? 2 Corinthians 5:7 says: “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
Second, am I believing with confidence? God says that “the gospel … is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Do you believe that? Do you believe that when you pray for an unbelieving friend or relative that God is able to save them through the Gospel?
When you struggle with a powerful emotion like with fear, or with a temptation or a habit that is difficult to overcome, do you believe that God is able to deliver you through that?
When you become tired, or get discouraged, and full of worry and fear and begin to wonder how long you can continue, do you believe that the God who saved you is able to keep you? Jude 24 & 25: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Third, am I confessing with humility? Martin Luther said “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ He meant that the whole life of a believer should be repentance.” Christ calls us, not to a prayer of repentance, but to a life of repentance, a life of turning ever more fully to Jesus Christ. This leads to a life of confession, in which you see your sins and your failings, and you keep bringing them under the blood of Christ. Can you name a sin that you have confessed in the last week? No? How about the last month? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us … and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).
I hope you have a worry free week.