I told myself I wasn’t going to do this. But I have to because God won’t let it off my heart. This is unlike anything I’ve written so far, but I can’t be quiet any longer.
We hear about it everywhere. People are wearing masks. Schools are being closed. Churches are stopping services. Concerts and sporting events are being canceled. We’ve never seen anything like this before because many of us reading this live in what is probably the most sheltered country in the world.
Epidemics in the past have been the butts of jokes in America because they’re so far away, they’re not affecting us. They almost don’t even seem real. But this one… This is different. This is in our backdoor.
Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about Coronavirus, so the fact that I’m even sitting in a Starbucks listening to the keys pound as I type this will give away the fact that this is the God in me writing this and not from Hannah.
I have watered down Jesus and His Word for too long to be “acceptable”. I’m a recovering people pleaser, and I don’t like to make waves or be noticed in crowds, but what I’ve come to realize is that the people if God aren’t willing to make waves, there will be detrimental consequences to pay.
Besides, it’s not like Jesus didn’t make waves.
I want to start with this: God is not some big, far off entity in the sky that doesn’t see you, or hear you, or care about you. Jesus loves you! He is after you and He wants you. If He didn’t want your heart and your life, He wouldn’t have died with you in His mind.
I can say that from experience because God has made Himself absolutely known in my life, and I want to share one of my favorite testimonies of my life with you.
Broken Back Restoration Testimony
When I gave birth to Ella, it literally broke my back. My tailbone broke and I found out months later that it healed back incorrectly, which explained the constant back pain I had had nearly constantly since I had her.
I couldn’t sit right because my tailbone was two inches off to the left side. I couldn’t sit for too long at a time because it lit my back on fire and I’d have to lay down. I lived like that for about two years, and medically speaking, there was no cure.
I had prayed for my healing. I had had hands laid on me. I had gone forward in church numerous times. Until it all came to a head one night in the shower.
When Joey was on second shift, I was set free from anxiety and fear that would absolutely grip me from the inside out (that’s a testimony for another day). I got in the habit of praying in the shower when he was at work at night because it was the only thing that gave me peace. That carried over into the house we live in now.
I was in that shower one night, crying and praying over my back because I was sick of living that way, and something changed. A switch flipped. My faith rose to a level it never had before. It was like I was floating in a different dimension. My feet were still on the ground, but it felt like I was floating on air.
I said, for the first time, “Jesus, it’s just me and you here, and I’m not taking no for an answer anymore because You already said I am healed. I’m not letting doubt hold me back. I believe. So I’m just going to keep praying and we’re going to walk this thing out together. I’m not getting out of here until I’m healed.”
So I prayed. Then I tested it. I felt my tailbone. Still crooked.
Then again. Tested it. Still crooked.
I did this three times. On the third time, I felt for my tailbone, where it had been for 2 years, and friend… it wasn’t there anymore.
I will never forget when my fingertips drifted over to the middle, and there was my tailbone, in perfect alignment with my spine. Gratefulness and amazement and awe at my God racked my body in sobs and shakes.
God answers prayer.
Healing my back in the shower was and still remains one of the absolute coolest things God has done for me/through me so far.
So naturally, I refer to that a lot when I’m praying. “God, if you can heal my spine in the shower, ____________ (fill in the blank) is no big thing.”
I shared that because I wanted to set the stage a little bit.
God is big.
Did you know He literally knows how many hairs are on your head (Luke 12:7)?
Did you know He knows how many tears you’ve ever cried (Psalm 56:8)?
Did you know He calms raging seas (Psalm 64:7)?
Did you know He named every single star (Isaiah 40:26)? Stars that we don’t even know in our limited human knowledge that exists, He has them named. I have a hard enough time keeping the names of my three girls straight, let alone a couple billion stars. That alone is miraculous if you ask me.
Nothing surprises Him. He knew about this virus at Creation.
So what’s my point?
My second point is this: Fear is a choice.
I know that’s deep and it hits a different type of way, but here’s the thing:
God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). If it is not a good thing, He doesn’t give it to us, and if He doesn’t want us to have it, don’t accept it. Don’t accept it! Period.
So how do you do that? It starts with your thoughts. Every action, every act you participate in, everything your hands do; it all starts in your mind. Thoughts can run absolutely rampant, but the good news is God gives us the ability to control our thoughts by bringing them under the captivity of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Philippians 4:6-8 makes it so simple.
Not easy, it’s incredibly hard in practice. It’s easy to say; harder to do. We’re going to break it down (verses in pink):
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything.
Does it say worry about some things? Just worry a little bit? It’s okay if it’s “important”? No!! Don’t worry about anything. Any. Thing. Anything. Is coronavirus a thing?
But instead, pray about everything. Pray. Pray. Pray. Don’t worry. Pray.
And can I tell you another secret about worry? It doesn’t help anyway (Matthew 6:25-34). All it does is cause you torment and take your peace.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Tell God what you need. He knows your needs and you are valuable to Him (Luke 12:24-28).
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
This is the money part! THEN, after you have given up your right to understand, after you have given away that worry to the One whose burden is light to bear (Matthew 11:28-30), after you have given Him your anxieties because He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7), you will experience peace that doesn’t make sense.
It doesn’t make sense to be in peace when everyone around you is panicking and buying up enough toilet paper to TP the whole Midwest.
It doesn’t make sense to be at rest when schools are closing and gatherings being shut down.
It doesn’t make sense. Sense doesn’t matter. Logic doesn’t matter. Our minds are too human to get God and Who He is and what He is doing.
God is not logical; He is mind-blowing. Stop trying to make it make sense because it won’t. Stop depending on what you understand. Just trust God and seek Him fervently (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Remind yourself of who God is and put Him at the center of your life so you can have peace that doesn’t make sense.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Give it to Jesus as many times a day as you need to. There have been days I’ve had to do it 50 times. “God I love you and I trust you. I give you ___________ (fill in the blank) and I refuse to worry about it. Thank you for taking care of it.” And He will.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keeping putting into practice all you have learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
This is the final piece. After you’ve cut off worry at its roots, told God about it, and given it to Him in prayer, to stay in peace, you have got to fix your thoughts.
If it isn’t true (doesn’t line up with the Word of God because that is the ultimate truth), if it isn’t honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if it doesn’t bring you joy, bring God glory, raise your faith or fill you with peace, don’t think about it!
Period. Stop. Cut it off. If it wasn’t possible, God wouldn’t have told us to bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ.
If it doesn’t feed your faith, it’s feeding fear, so check what you allow to enter your mind and heart (Proverbs 4:23). Faith comes by hearing (Hebrews 10:17) and doubt and unbelief come the same way.
It doesn’t matter what the world is saying. God’s people are in the world, but not of it (John 17:15). Fix your thoughts on Jesus.
When fear tries to come at you, and it will, pray and He will free you from all your fears (Psalm 34:4).
Change the narrative. Be different. Fix your thoughts on Jesus and on things above (Colossians 3:1-4), because one day, all of this isn’t going to matter. The only thing that is going to matter is whether or not Jesus was the King of your life.
My final point is this: God’s people are heard when they pray and protected from disease.
Jesus wouldn’t have said we can pray for anything, and if we really believe it, we would receive it, if it wasn’t true (Matthew 21:21-22; John 14:13).
God doesn’t have favorites (Romans 2:11). God doesn’t care who prays the prayer. If you have a willing heart and you draw near to God, He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Literally all we have to do is try because He is just that good.
Psalm 91 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.
I pray it and declare it often over my family.
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety. He is where I run. He is Who I trust. He covers me. He protects me.
Though thousands are dying around you, it can’t touch you. If you make Him your shelter, no evil will conquer you, no plague will conquer your home, for He orders His angels to protect you wherever you go.
He will rescue those who love Him. He will protect those who trust His name. When they call on Him, He will answer (that’s straight from God). He will be with us in time of trouble. He will rescue us, honor us, give us a long life, and give us His salvation.
That was Hannah’s translation and it was in first person on purpose, and you can read it that way, too.
Is Coronavirus a plague? Yes.
Can it come at God’s people? No.
It can’t touch us.
It doesn’t matter what’s going on.
It doesn’t matter how many have died around you.
Stay the course. Keep your eyes up. He has His kids in the palm of His hand and I tell you with confidence when He is the King of your life, you have nothing to worry about that. We already learned that worry doesn’t help anyway, right (Matthew 6:25-34)? Right.
God never said we Christians wouldn’t have to go through anything. No; He said many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
Romans 5 was written by Paul when he was living through great persecution as he preached and ministered. We’re talking beaten, stoned, and left for dead, thrown in prison every 20 minutes, shipwrecked, and worse. Far worse than anything we could ever imagine.
And through intense persecution, he wrote in Romans 5 and told us to rejoice in trials because they develop endurance, and endurance strengthens character. Our hope will not lead to disappointment, because God dearly loves us and He has given us the Holy Spirit (who is our Comforter). We can rejoice in a wonderful relationship with God because Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5:1-11).
God doesn’t forget about us. He will not forget us. He will not abandon us (Hebrews 13:5).
He loves us too much to leave us alone and helpless, on our own somewhere. God loves you and He has not forgotten about you.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. It gives us assurance about what we can’t see (Hebrews 11:1-2).
We can’t see Coronavirus. Don’t be shaken. Don’t be moved by what you see (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Everything here on Earth is small and won’t last. Fix your gaze on what you can’t see. Things around us will soon be gone, but the things we can’t see will last forever (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).