Today is March 16, 2020... you know, given the current state of things, writing out the date like that brings to my mind that movie scene... the lonely man's journal entry, writing in his daily log book, unsure if anyone will ever find it. You know what I'm talking about, right? All of those post-apocalyptic or lost-in-space stories. But this is real life. And yet, as we self-isolate, and as society comes to a grinding halt, the doomsday world we've previously only imagined seems to be coming upon us. What are we to do?
Certainly, now is a time for searching out knowledge. It's good to be aware of medical insights, disease statistics, and the government's declarations. But be careful! There are many loud voices out there—voices claiming to know what's wrong, why it's wrong, and what to do about what's wrong. If you spend much time trying to listen to all these voices, and you will find yourself more confused and anxious than you were before!
The reality is that none of us knows how things are going to go. How will daily life change? Will I contract this disease? What will happen to my family, my neighbors, and my friends? What about the economy? What about my job? What about my home? Will we have enough to eat? Will we have enough to pay our bills?
The truth is, we don't know the answers to these questions. As Scripture says to us: "You do not know what tomorrow will bring" (James 4:14). Suddenly, our self-reliance has been revealed. Our confidence in man is being called out. We are seeing what comes of a life that relies on men. As Jeremiah relays to us:
"Thus says the Lord:
'Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land." (Jer. 17:5–6).
Sounds true to life, doesn't it? Sounds a lot like that doomsday landscape.
The good news is that we are saved not because of what we know about tomorrow, but because of Who knows us today (Isaiah 41:1–10). And while God tells us that we cannot know what will happen tomorrow, he offers us something much better: knowing him today! And so the LORD continues to say through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:5–8)
Now that's good news! We can flourish today by depending upon the LORD.
What does this mean, though? What does trusting the LORD look like? For now, I want to give you just one basic way: know him.
Instead of fixating the unknown, or trying to keep up with the latest news, I encourage you to know him.
Psalm 46 is an excellent psalm for days like today. At the end of that Psalm, God says,
"Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Be still, and know him.
Know God as he has revealed himself in the word (the Bible) and in the Word (his Son). Know that God will be exalted among the nations. Know that he is! And that he will be forever exalted through the universal kingship of his Son, Jesus Christ. Know that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. Know that he is a forgiving God. Know that you are a sinner in need of his grace. Know that pandemics are part of the curse of sin. Know that Jesus died for sinners, and was raised to life for our justification. Know that Jesus is the Sustainer and Redeemer of all things. Know that good things await those who have faith in Jesus. Know that God hears the prayer of the one who cries out to him in faith. Read his word, and respond in prayer. Link up with his people, and share in the joy of his salvation.
In short, the most important question before you right now is this: Who is God?
In the coming days, I hope to continue writing here, helping you to meditate fruitfully on who God is. Please pray for me. I'm praying for you.
Grace and peace to you in Jesus,
- Pastor Josh