The numbers worldwide continue to rise: 181,377 cases, 7119 deaths, 78,085 recoveries. Worldwide reactions are dramatic: airline flights cancelled, large numbers of quarantined populations, countries with closed borders, bans on gatherings over 250 people, schools closed, colleges reverting to online classes, sports leagues cancelled, plummeting stock markets etc. Behold a pandemic! The cause of this chaos is a virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes is called “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
Joe works hard at work and by the time he gets home he is exhausted. Too often he is impatient with his children and snaps at his wife. When he loses his temper and yells at her it is not because he wants to be a jerk or to act in such an unloving manner. The fact is his willpower is nearly sapped. Unfortunately, because of this, he is also insensitive to the fact that his wife, Alice, is also exhausted from watching high-energy children and operating at the tail end of being sick. Her willpower and ability to understand his feelings is also at a low end.
Jesus in the final hours before getting arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane asked eight of the disciples to sit while he prayed. Then He took Peter, James and John with him further into the garden. Disclosing His anguish to His three closest friends, He asked them to stay awake with Him. Then He went a little further and fell face down on the ground to pray. When He returned to the three he found them sleeping. He confronted Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour?” (vs. 37)
Revelation 3:2—Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God.
In 1915, Rabbi Jeremy’s grandfather as a teenager recognized that if he stayed in Russia he was likely to be persecuted and deprived of basic freedoms. So, he left his family and walked—all the way to Israel. It took him one and half years to reach the port of Jaffa. I would imagine it was a dangerous trip full of excitement, fighting cold and hunger as well as numerous other challenges. With a group of men touring Israel (including my two sons and son-in-law), we listened to Jeremy share life lessons at Yad Hashmona Country Hotel.
On several occasions, I have read or heard amazing testimonies of people who experienced God’s deliverance via angels from an enemy intent on their destruction. God’s Word extensively teaches us about angels with over a 105 references to them in the Old Testament and more than 170 times in the New Testament. The Bible teaches that angels:
The Deschutes River in Oregon is 173.4 miles long. It runs through rugged forest and deserted desert sometimes cascading with terrific roar, sometimes ambling like some peaceful toddler. It is a great river to fish for steelhead and salmon. On the lower Deschutes people often come to whitewater raft. And for that experience, my son, Stephen and I, joined 17 folks from Southwest Hills Baptist Church.
An amazing transformation took place in my three children after one of them was knocked down by a sneaker wave. They each became exceedingly alert to the size of the ocean waves coming in. They left the Camp of Careless for the safer land of Lookout. And one in particular became a watchman. We could all safely fly our kites knowing he would cry out if the Pacific chose to menace our positions.
Along the Oregon coast are posted signs warning people to beware of sneaker waves. Children playing on logs in the sand have died because a large wave has come in and rolled the huge timber over them as if twirling matchsticks. Others have been knocked down and pulled out to deeper water only to drown.
Readiness means much more than having our bags packed. Quite frankly, there are many Christians who seem to have made the necessary requirements to obey God’s call. They have the knowledge, the equipment, and the backing of others. Yet God will not bring into service those He sees as unready. They will never sit foot outside their own encampment. He will leave them not because they didn’t prepare but because of the attitude they project.