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Look Up, the Victory is Won!
April 8, 2020
The following was written by Nick Stonestreet, CEO of Ronald Blue Trust.
As you know, the last few weeks have brought new challenges for all of us, as the world combats coronavirus (COVID-19). Our lives are out of the ordinary, as we struggle with social distancing, working remotely, or for some, finding another job. Most of us have lived through a national or global crisis of some kind, such as 9/11, the Cuban Missile Crisis, or perhaps even WWII, but that doesn't necessarily make these events less faith-building or surreal. Understandably, these times can be difficult and even frightening.
Even in the midst of uncertainty, we mustn't forget that our lives are about more than our current circumstances. This Sunday is Easter, when we will celebrate Jesus' resurrection and His victory over sin and death itself. How appropriate that we are reminded of this triumph during a global pandemic, when many cherished lives have been lost? As we go through times of trials or tribulations, we go to the cross. In doing so, we are laying our burdens at Jesus' feet and looking up to Him instead of the overwhelming situation around us.
When we look to Jesus, we see that He urges us to respond by praying and trusting in Him. Philippians 4:6 tells us to, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." My prayer for each of you is the same that Paul prayed for the people of Colossae in Colossians 1:9-14: "God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,
with all power according to His glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Emphasis added.)
This passage has many takeaways for us:
A charge for us to love one another: "bear fruit in every good work." During this time, the needs around us are great. How can we serve each other with compassion and devotion? Do you have elderly neighbors who need help getting groceries? Do you know of a person or family that is impacted financially due to job layoffs? What about children who depend on free or reduced lunches provided by their schools? Obeying social distancing or shelter-in-place mandates requires us to be creative in how we serve one another, but I encourage you to look for opportunities in your local community. I continue to be amazed by the stories our advisors share of the incredible ways our clients are blessing others through these circumstances we are all facing together.
Encouragement to be strengthened so that we may have "great endurance and patience." No one knows how long this period of isolation will last but staying close to God can help us to have a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). By placing our hope in Him, we can endure any trials that come our way.
Instruction to "give joyful thanks to the Father." Although our lives have changed, there are always reasons to be thankful. We have many blessings to be thankful for: our families, our homes, and our freedom. In the case of COVID-19, we can be thankful for the many patients who have recovered, the advances that are being made to combat the virus, and the countless healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to care for the sick.
As we approach Easter Sunday, look up and see the cross. Remember that uncertainty is certain. Christ warned us that we will have trouble. After this crisis is over, we will face a different one. Though we can't fully grasp all of the forces that are at work in the world today, we can be sure of this -- we can confidently look up and walk in faith, because the Lord of Lords is with us. The victory has already been won.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version(R), NIV(R). Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.(TM) Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The "NIV" and "New International Version" are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.(TM)
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