God is in the Midst of Trouble & Chaos
GREAT COMMISSION WEEK - DEVOTIONAL #3
It is not an overstatement to say that our whole planet is in turmoil today. Not that the world has ever been peaceful, but especially since the beginning of the twenty-first century and with the explosive expansion of the internet, the means of communication, and the various social media venues, the spiritual and moral deficiencies of this world order have been more and more exposed relative to the biblical teachings that we believers cherish.
When we add on top of that the fear from the Coronavirus’ health risks and death toll and the damage that the virus has inflicted so far on people’s businesses and livelihoods because of shutdowns and social distancing, we begin to see how devastating 2020 has been for ordinary folks throughout the whole world. The choice has unfortunately become for many either to face COVID-19 or to face want and hunger.
In the country of Lebanon where we serve as missionaries, we began facing a catastrophic economic collapse four months before Coronavirus turned global. The pandemic simply made it worse for the Lebanese people. It is estimated that 40% of the population, a number that is close to two million people, are now living in poverty. And with the Lebanese banks failing and the politicians fighting, matters are expected to get even worse in Lebanon.
My wife, Mimi, and I serve with a local church in a suburb of Beirut. To many Lebanese people and Syrian refugees who live in our area, our church is their refuge. Above all, we preach the Gospel and we point people to Christ. We are also, as a church, striving to assist those in need with food parcels and some financial assistance for housing and medical needs.
In the midst of trouble and chaos, the message for us who follow the Lord Jesus Christ is to fully depend on the Lord. It is crucial to heed Christ’s teaching in Luke 11, to keep coming to the Lord in “persistent” prayer (verse 8) presenting our requests to Him and seeking above all the presence of the Holy Spirit in us (verse 13). This is the only effective line of defense we have in this fallen world. Jesus taught us that “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).
In the midst of trouble and chaos, we not only have to seek the Holy Spirit, but we must also obey the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). We absolutely cannot accept the norms of this world, which are becoming more audacious in their rejection of the Word of God. We need to be bold in affirming our complete allegiance to the Scriptures, by word and deed, striving to live holy lives by loving God and the people around us.
Before the Lord Jesus left this planet earth, He promised to send us the Holy Spirit. Let us seek the Holy Spirit’s presence and obey Him. The Lord will answer our prayers (verses 9-10). And so, we find the strength to rejoice in Him (Philippians 4:4-7) awaiting the day when he comes back to take us home.
National Alliance Church, Lebanon
*Update - Nabil and his family are safe following Tuesday's explosion at the Port of Beirut. Nabil and his son heard it very loud from their place, a few kilometers away overlooking the explosion site. Please pray for Nabil and his church as they have been directly impacted by the explosion and are serving those in desperate need; pray for all those injured and recovering; pray for families who have lost loved ones; pray for the city of Beirut and the country of Lebanon, already in crisis and now compounded by the explosion.