God Never Failed You Yet
God is shaping the future for good right now. He is doing great things. Does this seem impossible? There are an estimated 3.4 billion people under mandatory quarantine. An invisible disease runs rampant. The news is filled with stories of death and economic loss. What is worse, there does not seem to be any end in sight. Questions about the viability of a vaccine and a second wave of the Coronavirus can leave you struggling to see a way out. The darkness in front of you seems so deep and overwhelming, it may be hard to comprehend how God will come through it. You may be left asking:
“How is this good, God?”
This doesn’t mean you are a bad Christian. You know the promises of God intellectually. You know He is good and will not leave you. You can recite all the great Bible verses about God’s faithfulness. You are just human. The world has just never experienced something like this before, at least in living memory. Things just seem so bad! You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and your hope deserts you.
How do you find hope when it seems like the Coronavirus has taken over the entire world for the foreseeable future?
This is when you need to look backward in order to walk forward in your faith. You can search out your own personal monuments of God’s faithfulness in the past to find your reason for hope. You cannot live on yesterday’s faith. It needs to be constantly refreshed and be presently powerful and active. Yet, it is helpful to look at God’s past faithfulness when you are struggling with figuring out the future.
When you fully see all God has done for you, despite you, in the past you realize the truth.
God will certainly come through again…even if you can’t see how yet.
Build Monuments to God
God commanded the Israelites to build monuments to Him in the Old Testament. God does this for their benefit, not His. The Creator of Heaven and Earth does not need even the most ornate creation of man to remind Him of His greatness. The Israelites need these visible structures to constantly spur our own memories, on the other hand. They are constantly losing sight of God’s love and His blessings on them. So God tells them to build visible reminders.
One example is when Joshua leads the Israelites into the Promise Land. God parts the Jordan to allow them to cross on dry ground through the river bed. It is a miracle of God. It is also a sign of God’s blessing on the Jewish people. You would expect those present to remember this forever. Yet, these are the same people whose parents complained against God days after He freed them from Egypt. Their memories are short and their viewpoints limited. So God has them stop while crossing the Jordan to build a monument. God places it in the middle of the Jordan to signal the meaning to all who see it.
God parted a raging river to bless His people.
God is faithful even when it seems impossible.
How this must have encouraged generations of Israelites in the years that followed. They only needed to look on the monument built on dry ground in the middle of a river when times were hard.
He Will Do it Again
Mary travels from her home in Nazareth to visit her cousin, Elizabeth at the start of the Gospel of Luke. It seems to be an oddly timed visit considering the circumstances. Mary just learned she is pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth is also pregnant with John the Baptist but their situations are very different. There are huge storm clouds on the horizon for Mary. She is young, unmarried, and pregnant with the Son of God. There is a lot for her to process without adding a long road trip to her agenda. Yet, this trip exposes her to the clear evidence of God’s faithfulness to His people. This is exactly what Mary needs in a time of trial.
“God delivered His people in the past. He will do the same for me.”
A Journey of Faith
Mary lived in the northern portion of Israel in Nazareth. Her journey took her almost the entire length of Israel.
What an inconvenience, right?
Yes, unless she is walking by faith.
Mary just experienced a huge shock. She was an unmarried virgin about to give birth to the Messiah. Can you imagine being told you would be the mother (or father) to the Son of the Most High…as a teenager? The news was wonderful. It was also extremely challenging.
How would she tell Joseph? What would people say? Would she be stoned, an outcast or welcomed? What would life be like with such a responsibility? Would God see her through this?
A million questions likely raced through her mind.
God answers them by taking her on a trip overflowing with meaning. Mary’s journey leads her through the heart of God’s land, Israel. She encounters many of the places and monuments you read about in the Old Testament as she travels. Each location testifies to God’s faithfulness.
Mary walks past Mt. Carmel where Elijah took on the prophets of Baal. She sees Mt. Tabor where Barak and Deborah defeated Sisera’s fierce army. She passes Jericho, where God destroyed the walls of the Canaanite city on behalf of His people. There is Bethel where Jacob saw his ladder and Dothan, where Joseph was sold into slavery before being redeemed by God.
Mary even travels past where Boaz redeemed Ruth in an Old Testament picture of the baby in her belly. She likely saw the Temple of God in Jerusalem shining for miles around as a picture of the glory of God’s blessing on Israel. She may have even seen Joshua’s altar to God in the middle of the Jordan.
God took her on a tour of the many testaments to His faithfulness in a time filled with apprehension and worry for the future. God has her look back on her people’s history while she can’t understand her future.
God spent 2000 years showing His power on behalf of His people. He is not stopping now.
Taste and see God’s past goodness and trust.
Remember God Delivers
You never want to live in the faith of yesterday alone. It takes a daily relationship with the Lord and filling with His power to be a joyful disciple. You don’t want to rest in the works of God in the past. But, a grand tour of God’s past faithfulness in your life can be just what you need to encourage you in the pandemic.
Are you scared about tomorrow? Me too! I think everyone who is thoughtful is questioning how the future will play out. God responds by telling you not to worry – He has it under control. Looking for evidence?
Closely examine how many times God has delivered you in the past. What are your monuments to God’s faithfulness? They are not piles of rocks or carved stone but they are no less amazing.
I bring to mind the moment God saved me from alcoholism when I am struggling. I was totally lost. I was drinking every day. I spent most of my time while not drinking thinking about my first sip of the day. This is bad enough but what made it even more serious was I knew I couldn’t stop. I lived most of my life dominated by addiction up to this point. I tried to quit before and always came back. I knew there was nothing in me that could overcome this on my own. Then I got down on my knees with my wife and submitted myself to God entirely.
“God, I can’t stop this but I know you can. Please help me and my family!”
I stood up minutes later healed. I knew I was free almost immediately. I haven’t craved alcohol or thought about drinking since then.
This memory will not power me in Christ tomorrow. It does act as a gigantic, beautiful monument to the greatness of God in my life. It provides hope for the future. He saved me dramatically when I was totally lost. He is not going to abandon me now. This and many others are the memorials I think about when I am fearful for the future.
God saved you. God loves you. He has been working in your life no matter how long you have been a Christian.
What are your monuments? Have you examined just how good He has been to you through the years?
Whether it was destroying an enemy army or freeing us from addictions, God did it before. He will do it again. He stands powerfully for His people today just as He did yesterday, the day before and 1000 years ago.
So if you are struggling today, take a journey through your own monuments of God’s power and faithfulness.
God has not let down the millions of faithful believers who came before you. He came through for you in miraculous ways. He saved you from sin and death. He did not leave you or forsake you.
Why would He start now?