After this week of what has been termed “hard lockdown,” I want to speak some positive words to you all today. Whether you agree with the way our government here is handling this or not, and I do not, we still live in this community and need to be team players, which means being obedient to their requests, unless they contradict the Word of God.
Romans 13:1 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
This latest lockdown has been easy for some, but tough for many. If I spend too much longer in lockdown, the buttons on my shirt are going to start social distancing. But spare a thought for the employers, especially restaurants and retail, losing thousands by being forced to close, and the many employed on a casual basis who have no income. Lockdown is deemed necessary, but it is really bad for many.
So I wanted to take a positive look at what lockdown could and should mean for us as Christians. And let me say, no matter what the media says, 2 facts remain…God is still in control, and He is still in the throne, and He loves you!
Psalms 47:7-8 (ESV)
For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
Isaiah 40:28 (ESV)
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
If you are open to God’s Holy Spirit, this difficult time of lockdown has an incredible up side. So instead of getting down about the lockdown, let’s get up and see the up side of the lockdown… all starting with R
If nothing else, lockdown has given us a chance to rest. Not allowed to work, not supposed to leave our homes, just our family, Netflix, the olympics and 50 rolls of toilet paper.
When the disciples had been busy ministering, Jesus advised them like this…
Mark 6:31 (ESV)
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
I’m a busy guy, and frankly, I have trouble resting. But Jesus said to me through this lockdown period,
Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
After the first lockdown a year or so ago, I promised myself that I would rest more, stop and smell the roses more, stop rushing and overworking and striving and stressing. I made changes, pulled back on my Optometry work, set more time aside for family, and started pretty well. A year on, the pressure to be busier and busier is stronger than ever, and now, through lockdown, God has given me another chance to rest. The thing is,
Psalms 127:1-2 (ESV)
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
The first up side of Lockdown was and is a chance to rest. Take it, rest in it and live it!
As we rest, we gain a chance to recover. Elijah is a good example in 1 Kings 19. He’s come off a huge triumph on Mt Carmel, defeated the 400 prophets of Baal, seen God rain fire from heaven, and broken a 3 ½ year drought. Then a woman called Jezebel threatens him, and he falls apart and runs.
He’s tired, he’s overwhelmed with life, he even wishes he could die. Some of you have been there, but you need to realise that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, whatever the problem is.
So what was God’s prescription?
1 Kings 19:4-5 (ESV)
But he himself (Elijah) went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.”
God prescribed sleep, rest, and some descent food. Did it work?
1 Kings 19:8 (ESV)
And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
The next up side of lockdown, after rest, is recovery.
Lockdown let’s you stop and reassess life, your life. Our time on earth is so short, as the Bible says,
Psalms 39:4-7 (ESV)
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
I urge you to stop in this lockdown and reassess your life. Are you happy, are you satisfied, have you done all you can do to reach your potential in life? The next Up side of Lockdown is the chance to reset your life.
Lockdown is a chance to reset. It’s is a chance to stand back, hit the reset button and start afresh. I reckon this is one of the most important positives of lockdown.
As life goes on, and gets busier, we can feel overwhelmed, and often ungrateful. Resetting gives us the chance to reassess, and to be grateful for the many blessings we have.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
One incredible up side of Lockdown is the opportunity to reset, and then…
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The Greek for conform is sy-schema-tizo, which means to conform to a pattern. The world is trying to squeeze you into a pattern, so they bombard you with fear and hopelessness.
But when you rest, you don’t have to conform to their mold? This is your moment, your opportunity to conform to God’s pattern for your life.
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Psalms 33:11 (ESV)
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
Another up side of Lockdown is the chance to realigned your will and your life with the plans of God, so let His Spirit guide you into the destiny He has for you.
Through all of this lockdown, indeed through the whole of COVID 19, one upside we have that others do not have is hope. The Lord has blessed us in this nation, and we should always rejoice in His provision for us. You need to be reassured that God loves you, and protects you.
Psalms 91:4-6 (ESV)
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
Be reassured that God holds you in the palm of His hand. He loves you and will care for you. You can be reassured and you can trust the One who gave His life for you. Be smart, careful, be obedient to what is required of you, wash hands, wear those darn masks, socially distance, but above all, reject the climate of fear created by the media and be assured that God loves you.
7. RELAUNCH FROM LOCKDOWN
Finally, the last incredible upside to this lockdown gives you the incredible opportunity to relaunch your life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Getting saved is a whole new start, and every time you come to Christ, you can have a whole new start. The old is gone, the new has come, and lockdown just provides an excellent opportunity to relaunch your life in Christ.
THIS IS OUR MOMENT
Life is full of pivotal moments, moments in history when things align. The Bible calls these kairos times. In the Bible there is the Greek word chronos for time, and this is seconds, minutes hours etc. But there is a special kind of time called in the Greek kairos time. This is when God steps into life, into history, and does something amazing.
I believe that this moment in history, this COVID time is in fact a KAIROS time. And this is your kairos moment too. This is when you have the unique opportunity to step into your destiny in Christ. COVID 19 is not an accident, it’s not a surprise to God, it is an incredible opportunity for you to step in destiny.
And we can do this together… as we look to move into city, it’s no accident that it is happening at this moment in history.
Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.