I was at a checkout recently in a large store, which was filled with empty shelves, when the checkout man asked the usual, “Did you get everything you need?” His question made me laugh out loud. He should’ve said, “Did you get anything at all?”
In a matter of a few days, the whole world has been brought to a standstill. Including me. Almost every Saturday for the last 14 years I’ve preached in the open air at Huntington Beach, here in California. But I went there a few days ago just to interview a few people on a one on one basis (from 6-feet away of course—using two cameras and two microphones). When I got there, it looked like a crime scene. There was yellow tape everywhere, and hardly a soul to be seen let alone interviewed. I turned around and came home.
Then I went to a college that I’ve been going to twice a day for over a year. There was nobody there either. Not even on the sidewalk. When I gave a sad-looking lady a couple of gift cards to try and cheer her up, I noticed fear in her eyes as she took them. I felt terrible that I had caused her stress. It seems that almost every avenue for the gospel has become a dead-end overnight.
“The Bible doesn’t say that God was our refuge and strength. Or will be. He is our refuge and strength.”
The irony is that a busy and sinful world has been primed to listen. They have been brought to a standstill. They are like the children of Israel at the Red Sea—who were told by Moses to stand still and see the salvation of God. Sin-loving sinners will often listen when they’ve lost hope.
There was one bright light in the darkness, that greatly encouraged me. A friend sent me short video of him and his family dropping off 200 Coronavirus tracts around their neighborhood. The key was that they went out at 7:00 am when there wasn’t a soul on the streets. You could hear his kids giggling with joy as they dropped them on a doorstep, and ran to the next house.
All 200,000 of those tracts are now gone, but we have another tracts that’s even more applicable—not only because of its content, but because of its weight. It’s a small booklet called, “How to be Free for the Fear of Death.” It’s heavy enough so that it doesn’t blow away from the doorstep, and it sure does address the need of the day. You can get that booklet here:
For the last week or so I have been soaking my soul in Psalm 46 and finding great comfort in the Scriptures. It begins with this bold statement:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
The Bible doesn’t say that God was our refuge and strength. Or will be. He is our refuge and strength. And He’s not just our refuge—a place to hide in the storm, but He is our strength. We are not weak and trembling. Nor is He merely a “help” in trouble, or a “present help” in trouble. He is a very present help in trouble. As a loving and concerned Father, He has us by the hand.
The Scriptures then say:
Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…
“A faithless world is fearful. But the faithful will need not fear.”
And it is because of these promises that we will not fear. A faithless world is fearful. But the faithful will need not fear. This is because our faith is completely in the God who is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble.
Verse 10 then says:
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
This virus has suddenly exalted God among the nations. This world has been brought to its knees and left hopeless at the edge of the Red Sea. God is their only hope of deliverance. But our message is that this isn’t a mere deliverance from a deadly virus, but from death itself. But how can we reach them when almost every avenue has become a dead end? There is a wonderful answer.