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Calm Amidst the Storm

Calm Amidst the Storm
By Jonathan C. Brentner

If you are like me, you are sick of hearing about COVID-19. I think that’s why I have delayed for so long in writing a post about it. I do not have new information to share about what to expect and I hear the same conflicting information as you do.

I thought perhaps the panic buying would have already ended by now, but having recently from the grocery store I know such is not the case.

As believers, we have a place of calmness away from the frenzy of the stores, the angst we feel from reading posts and comments on social media, and the inner turmoil we feel each time we hear the latest political and health developments.

Here are a few steps I find helpful in returning my heart to a place of inner calm amidst the storm that rages around us.

Mediate on God’s Word

I know this seems obvious to many of you, but I treasure my times alone with the Lord and His Word as the most important part of my day. Although we cannot trust much of what we read these days, we can trust Scripture, which God inspired and protected for thousands of year just so we could have an unfailing and inerrant source of needed comfort and wisdom for times such as this.

Psalm 27 is a great place to start. I remember a time almost three decades ago when I was alone, panicked over my future, and unable to pay all my bills. I read Psalm 27 every morning for months and at one point I memorized it. I held on to verses 13-14 like someone holding on during a wild roller coaster ride, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

I waited a very long time but the Lord later provided far beyond what I could ever have imagined.

Music is also a great way to focus on the truths of God’s Word. I listened to songs about God’s faithfulness every morning before work for at least a year during my time of great need. I love many contemporary worship Christian songs, but these songs remain my all-time favorites: Great Is Thy Faithfulness and It Is Well with My Soul.

Pray

My next suggestion is to pray, pray, pray. Besides praying for loved ones and close friends, I would encourage you to pray for our President, Vice President, and those leading our country during this time. They need wisdom, strength and protection.

In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against “spiritual forces of evil.” This is absolutely true today with all that is happening with this virus. I am not saying that it’s not dangerous or that we should not take precautions, but many in the media and in government seek to use the COVID-19 crisis to bring down President Trump and destroy America.

The forces behind this push are precisely what the apostle wrote about in Ephesians and why we need the armor of God and to pray like never before. This is where the true battle of our time exists!

I pray that this pandemic will end soon and that the Lord will hold back the demonic forces seeking to destroy President Trump and the United States.

After the rapture, these forces of wickedness will prevail in bringing in a new world order through which the antichrist will rise to power. Until then, we should never underestimate the effectiveness of our prayers in limiting what Satan can do in our nation and in the world.

Maintain a Two-World Perspective

We also need a two-world perspective during these trying times. Of course we understand that this current world is not our forever home, but what I mean is that we learn to value the permanent things of eternity versus the fleeting things of this world, which can disappear overnight.

Paul wrote this in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

I know from experience that keeping such an outlook requires much prayer and meditation on God’s Word since we live in a world that never stops screaming for all our attention and devotion.

I have found Psalm 46:10 to be of much help, “Be still, and know that I am God. / I will be exalted among the nations, / I will be exalted in the earth!” The command to “Be still” assumes an inner feeling of unrest or agitation. The answer is to meditate on the coming time that God “is the King of all the earth” (Ps. 47:7). Let the words of this verse and Psalm 47 soak into your soul; it helped me.

Do not let anyone deceive you into with their denials of the coming tribulation and future, full restoration of a repentant Israel. Although some may aptly apply Psalm 46:10 to successful missionary efforts around the world, it will not be fulfilled until Jesus returns to earth, wipes out the kingdom of Satan, and establishes His millennial rule over the nations of this world.

The Lord’s judgment on this world will soon begin with the tribulation and culminate with His exaltation and righteous rule as King over all the kingdoms of this world.

Keep Watching for Jesus

I absolutely believe we are in the season of Jesus’ return for us. We cannot know the day or hour of His appearing and it would be more than a little foolish to speculate or set an end date for the rapture. But as the signs multiply around us, I cannot help but think it will happen rather soon.

I recently watched Before the Wrath, which is a movie about how the ancient wedding customs align with the pretribulation rapture. It is an excellent, well-done movie that portrays the Lord’s return for us as an act of love for us. (You can find the movie on Amazon.com.) Watching this movie provided an oasis of hope and calm amid the chaos of this world.

I believe the COVID-19 fits with prophecy in that it shows the dogged determination of the world to bring in the new world order and the power of news media to support such an effort after we leave this world via the rapture.

Who would have ever dreamed it would be so easy for a state governor to stop all church services in a state? I fully recognize the need for “social distancing” and for strict precautions during this crisis, but I must confess that alarm bells went off in my head as I watched governors temporarily take away the rights of those living in their states.

I believe these temporary lockdowns foreshadow the tribulation when the people left in this world after the rapture will face pestilences far, far worse than COVID-19 and watch their freedoms forever disappear in a heartbeat.

I know maintaining a calm spirit in these troubling times requires a battle. I feel it inside me even as I write.

But please remember that besides the Holy Spirit who resides in us, we have Scripture available like never before and many great theologically sound hymns of the past and worship songs of today to help us focus our thoughts on the Lord’s sovereignty over all things and our eternal hope!

God’s Word assures us that Jesus will return to the earth someday and establish His righteous rule and we will be with Him as He parades across the sky on His way to Jerusalem and puts an end to all the forces of wickedness we see at work today.

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