Amazingly joyful but disillusioned. That may be how many people would have described my grandfather. It seemed that no matter what kind of chaos, tragedy, or negative situation would happen in his life, He would somehow respond to it singing a line from a hymn.
NEWS – “Grandpa, Grandma has cancer.”
Grandpa’s Hymn Reaction – “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.” and “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear. Oh what privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”
NEWS – “Your son, Brian has died.”
Grandpa – “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.”
NEWS – “You need to sell your farm.”
Grandpa – “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
Those are a handful of his pretty heavy and tough circumstances. What was a constant was what would come out of His mouth. He literally would respond with lines from hymns and remind us of how big God was in the middle of these trials.
Except one time. Betting on his past performances, without fear, I informed him of an incident that I had. “Grandpa, I just wrecked your riding lawn mower. “ Let’s just say… the hymn that comes to my mind is “That Fearful Day” when I think of the response I got.
While all of the above is true, what I completely admired about my grandfather was that he was convinced that God was bigger than any unbearable and heart wrenching circumstance that came his way. He had incredible trust in his Heavenly Father. So if my grandfather was considered delusional but joyful in the midst of overwhelming circumstances, I perhaps would like a double portion of what he had. His faith in God in spite of trial made me admire him greatly. He chose to listen to what God said about his circumstances…and to believe Him. We act out what we believe about any of our situations. He was no exception to that rule.
Fast forward to the NEWS on my laptop today…
World Battles Coronavirus – BBC
The World Health Organization Says It’s a Pandemic – BBC
NBA Suspends Season – NBA.com
Dow Ends 11-Year Bull Market as Coronavirus Defies Economic Remedies – New York Times
Trump Suspends Travel From Europe to US – BBC
School Districts, Colleges Announce Closures Due To Coronavirus – Eyewitness News
Ok people, I just need some toilette paper and hand soap for my sinks, and the shelves are empty at the grocery store!!! My son was supposed to be in a speech tournament over the next few days and it was cancelled due to the coronavirus. We have 15 documented cases in a state with the population of 28.7 million people. In February, there were a confirmed 41,000 cases of the flu in Texas…and we were living life as usual.
Are we being fearful or responsible? Is the Coronavirus too big for our God? Where is my focus? Maybe it is a legitimate concern that needs attention. But what is my response. What do I believe about God in this officially declared pandemic?
In the middle of this new found chaos and confusion in our world, I am reminded of a story in the Bible (1 Samuel 17) where a bunch of warriors were paralyzed due to a certain giant that stood in front of them…Goliath. Everyone, including the king, was afraid of the taunts and threats coming from the giant’s mouth. However, this puzzled David the shepherd, who was the cheese and bread delivery boy to his brothers at the battle front. “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” David asks in 1 Samuel 17:26b.
Why would a little shepherd boy not be afraid of what was making mighty warriors and a king cower? I can’t help but think that it had everything to do with who and what his focus was on. David spent hours, day after day, writing poems and songs with and to God. His walk with His Creator was so close that he fearlessly would kill lions and bears with his own bare hands. He continuously saw the work of God over and over again. This was the God he understood. He knew him personally and spent time with him. Of course God was bigger than any giant! There was nothing to think about or challenge beyond that. God had always come through for David. Why would it be any different now?
This greatly influenced David’s perspective of the situation. While the Israelite army thought Goliath was too big to fight, David saw that he was too big to miss with his sling shot. It was a guaranteed win. Didn’t the Israelites serve the same God as David? Well yes, but did they spend the same kind of time with God that David did? Both David’s and the warriors actions were a reflection of what they each believed about God and the time spent with Him. Both reflected what they were focusing on.
What am I fixating on today? What do I choose to believe about God in the face of global chaos? If I am reacting in fear, maybe I am spending more time paying attention to the news than I am in the Word of God.
I love what David (some argue it was Moses) penned in Psalm 91. We serve that same God who in this passage is described as the peace giver, protector, rescuer, refuge, healer, and shelter for those who dwell with Him. That is my God. He alone needs to be my focus and on whom I give my attention to. He is the same today as He was back them (Hebrews 13).
Thank you grandpa and David for living a life that points me to an unshakeable and unchanging God.
Some rules for me to follow to keep me in peace during this Coronavirus Situation:
- My time in the Bible needs to be greater than my time reading or watching the news.
- Play worship music in my home and vehicle to keep my mind on a very big God.
- Do kind deeds for people around me.
- Don’t stop living. Be responsible but not freaked out.
Psalm 91 New Living Translation (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.