It is terrible to hear of thousands of people dying, including a bishop, pastor and elder in the same city. It is terrible to hear of millions of people losing their jobs. It is terrible to hear about so much suffering, grief and turmoil. Yet in the midst of this crisis, God is at work. In fact, He has a plan. A redemptive plan. It is imperative that we get a divine perspective on the current crisis.
On March 18, I sent an email to my primary publisher with the subject heading, "A Crazy Idea?" The "crazy idea" was this. Since I had been feeling so stirred to write, speak and preach on biblical themes related to the virus, should I try to put together a book to get out immediately? Could it be?
My editors said yes—they had been sensing the very same thing. And eight days later, I had completed the manuscript. The book is due out on April 15 with the title, When the World Stops: Words of Faith, Hope, and Wisdom in the Midst of Crisis. Less than one month to write and publish a book. This does not happen every day.
But I share that here to say this: God has much to say to His people in this hour. And if we will step back and hear His voice, I believe we will hear Him say this: "Redeem this for My glory!"
One of the chapters of my forthcoming book is titled, "Seize the Moment!" In that chapter, I relate the account of Jesus healing the man born blind in John 9. It reads:
"As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But it happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. I must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world'" (John 9:1-5).
Do you see what happened here? The Lord never told His disciples how this man became blind, other than it was not the result of personal sin. How, then, did the man come to be born blind?
Jesus doesn't tell us. He doesn't say, "My Father did it." He doesn't say, "The devil did it." He doesn't say, "This is a purely natural phenomenon." Instead Jesus says that the man "was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him" (John 9:3b, NET)—meaning, through his healing.
Please note that carefully. The Lord didn't say this man was blind to the glory of God, but rather, that his blindness would be an occasion for the glory of God to be revealed. The man's terrible, difficult, lifelong condition was an opportunity for the Lord to be exalted. That is the Jesus mentality. As He said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).
The darkness is the divine setup for the light. The sickness is the divine setup for the healing. The current crisis is the divine setup for the church to arise, shine and make a difference. We must seize this moment before it passes (and then, in the aftermath, once it passes). We must milk it to the full for the glory of God. Does your heart bear witness to my words?
I also have a chapter in the book titled, "Who or What Sent the Virus? (And Does It Really Matter?)"
I focused on this question because we are endlessly wondering about the cause of the virus. Was it entirely natural? Was it manufactured in a lab? Was it a combination of the two? Is it an attack from the devil? Did God send it as a judgment?
I have heard numerous "prophetic" perspectives, with Christian leaders offering their viewpoints. And I have heard numerous "secular" perspectives, with political pundits and scientists offering their viewpoints.
And while these are certainly important questions to consider, the biggest question for us is this: What does God want to accomplish through this crisis?
It's just like the man born blind. Jesus didn't see his blindness as the direct result of personal sin, even though in the Bible, sin and sickness are often connected. And Jesus never explained directly why the man was born blind. He only stated that this was a divine opportunity. The blindness was an opportunity for healing.
That is where we find ourselves today, and I believe God wants us to seize this unique moment in history. To recognize how things can turn on a dime. How, suddenly, non-praying Americans are praying. How the table has been set for a massive harvest and awakening.
So, let's step back and ask the Father for His heart. For His perspective. As Jesus once said to His disciples, "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Listen! I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest" (John 4:35).
America today is a ripe harvest field, more than we have seen in many years. Let us seize the moment. Let us redeem the crisis. Is it not time?
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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