But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
United We Stand In Christ
It is certain the apostle Paul could never imagine the impact of a virus upon the church but he understood something of a greater magnitude than anything facing the church today. The COVID-19 virus has turned the world upside down. Economies are struggling with the impact of businesses closed or learning to work within a masked and social distancing mandate. Society has shifted with a new normal that find children wearing a mask to school, churches reorganizing assemblies to accommodate audiences, medical facilities heavily regulated with strict guidelines, grieving families unable to hold funerals for loved ones, and a political tsunami sweeping the nation with an odious rhetoric of division. These are troubled times.
Paul lived in troubled times. It was not a virus. The main problem that hindered the apostle to the Gentiles was the persecution from the religious zealots of Judaism and the oppressive hand of the Roman government either politically motivated or by the false gods of idolatry opposing the preaching of Christ. He faced a world divided, confused, and rebellious and filled with tyranny no generation today has ever experienced. Pundits of fear try to convince the present world that things are worse than ever before. They do not realize how well they have it. This can be especially true for the people of God who believe the present crisis is more than they can handle. The truth remains there are periods of history that are worse than others and no generation has the market cornered for the most troublesome times. It is not such much the events that shape the world but the way men react to events of the world. This is true with the COVID virus.
Do you feel hard-pressed on every side and perplexed by the present distress? Some may feel persecuted under the social conditions imposed by the government. With all the mandates and restrictions a person can feel knocked down all around. There can be an overwhelming feeling of despair and downtrodden in spirit. The apostle Paul appears over two thousand years of history and asks the people of God, “What is your problem?” The world the apostle lived in was filled with many troubles but he was not crushed. Why? He did not allow the troubles to trouble him. There were times of perplexity and confusion and again the apostle Paul was not driven to despair but taken to the throne of God. He knew who was in control of the chaotic world he lived and it was not the Jews or the Roman government. Christians were hunted down and yet they did not abandon their faith. The conditions the early church faced did not destroy them.
Change the channel to the modern-day – why has COVID caused problems in the lives of God’s people? Has their faith been challenged? Are the troubles of our day making it hard for the people of God to remain faithful? God’s people are not crushed, they are not in despair and forsaken and nothing should destroy them because God still reigns, rules and His will continue to hold the world together. If there is a time for the church to be stronger – that time is now. This is a time to be united. There is a need to gather as one united with a common purpose and single cause. The virus will end one day but the church will not. Let the church of Jesus Christ let the world know that God rules and His kingdom is the house of God filled with devoted and faithful people. We shall see the King one day. Let the King see His subjects brave and true. May the Lord see His people united as one under the banner of courage.