Not Wasting the Crisis - Part 1

In the midst of a crisis, my first inclination is probably not far from yours—“God, when will this be over so that I can return to my normal routine?” Discomfort is not the norm for the American church. We are quite unfamiliar with prolonged suffering. It is in times like these that the Spirit begins to stretch us as believers. During times where the rubber meets the road, we begin to see our doctrine collide with our personal faith in ways we haven’t experienced before. It is precisely during these times that we must wrestle with the Lord in our discomfort and grow. In the midst of our weakness, God delights to magnify his own strength and provision. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This verse is set in the greater context of our personal weakness, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). We learn several things from this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans. We know that God works all things for the good of his people. At the same time, we may feel that we hardly know how our hearts should respond to such a crisis. We are weak in prayer, but for this endeavor, we have been given the Holy Spirit so that even when we don’t know what we need, the Spirit intercedes with deep groanings on our behalf. For the moment, God has seen fit to extend the Coronavirus over the entire earth. It hurts not only our bodies, but our economy, and all human interaction as well. It seemingly touches all of our carnal securities.

We may wonder how the present circumstances can possibly be “good." This is where our particular suffering becomes a spiritual exercise. Rather than finding reasons to be angry, fearful, or paralyzed by our circumstances, we can know that God has intended all things for the good of his people. James 1:2–4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” We must deeply ponder this truth in light of our current circumstances—God wants us to come out of our suffering lacking nothing! This is worthy of our contemplation.

Next week, we will consider the practical aspects of God’s goodness in our suffering. For now, let us pray with the Spirit that we may suffer well.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Nathan