So we are being shaken; the coronavirus is shaking the world. In James 4:13-16 we read:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
The self-sufficiency that prevails in the opening statement of this passage reflects very much the society in which we live. We are a self-dependant society who believe our times are in our hands. We are the captains of our own destinies. So we are so very easily involved in a relentless pursuit of self-engineered security.
And then God steps in and shakes us. This can be through a multitude of means and ways. At the moment it is happening on a global scale. The coronavirus, which on March 11th was declared to be a pandemic has disrupted so many lives. in fact it is likely that 99% of the population of the world have been impacted to some degree. For some it may be slight such as not being about to watch a football match on TV or obtain a product in a shop or the simple uncertainty about the unknown which is happening in another country. For others it is more severe such as the cancelling of holidays, the alteration of works schedules. For others it is very severe even to the losing of livelihoods and lives.
Our lives which we thought were set on a serene course are disrupted. God steps in to shake us. The question then comes: how do we respond?
If you are an unbeliever this shaking is a mercy from God and you should trace through all the logic derived from this shaking. This goes as follows.
I am not in control. All those things that I have set in place to being stability to my life, such as relationships money, status, achievement are all ultimately insufficient to stabilise me. Left to myself I am adrift on a sea of uncertainty and I don’t know how things will work out. And ultimately I am headed for the reality death and I have nothing to give me certainty and security in that day. I need help. In such a state you begin to realise that there is a God who does control all things. As you push further in to the awareness of that God you realise your instability is caused by your sinful rejection of Him. This God, though, has not left us to self-inflicted extermination because of our sin. Wonderfully He has sent a Saviour to rescue us. Acts 4:12 reads there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” He bears the Name Jesus which means He has come to save us from our sins (see Matt. 1:21). And when we embrace Him as the One who has died for our sins we become part of an unshakeable kingdom with and everlasting King.
Oh may the giving of the coronavirus and all the consequent shaking lead you and many others to stability, security and unshakeability in Christ.
For us who are believers. We need to afresh enter into all the the glorious certainties that we have because we are in Christ and a part of this unshakeable kingdom. We are not exempt from the shakings of the world in terms of our health and our wealth and our general circumstances and situations. However, we believe in the God who is creator and sustainer of all. We are the ones who can live in the reality of the beginning of Psalm 40 which goes as follows:
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord (Ps. 40:1-3).
This is our position in the God of our salvation. May we be a people who are continually putting our trust in the Lord now and forevermore.
As we finally return to the teaching in James 4:13-16 let us realise that we need to acknowledge that all our plans and activities need to be made and undertaken with an “if the Lord wills” attitude.
If the coronavirus leads to a diminishing of our arrogance then much good will have been accomplished through it.