Pandemic, racism, and riots, "Oh my!" The past six months haven't exactly been easy. On the contrary, the world has been shaken to its core and everyone's lives have shifted drastically. We have gone from handshakes and hugs to masks (some are saying we now need goggles...really?), six feet, and air high fives; and don't even get me started on the racism and rioting that is going on (I am so embarrassed at way the human race is acting right now). Life has been weird and hard, it is still weird and hard, and only God knows when this weird and hard season will end (prayerfully soon).
I would like to say that during this season I have been rock solid in my faith but instead of being rock solid, I have been like the doubter that James talks about, "for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6)." Now, there have been some days when I have fully trusted God but for the most part I have fallen into many traps of questioning God, fearing for my life and my families lives, and worrying about what the future will bring. I have chased down news stories, followed the panic of Facebook, and spoken constantly of my fears of impending doom to my friends and family.
Today, like a ton of bricks the overwhelming question "what in the world have I been doing" has sunk into my soul. Friends, it has been six months. SIX MONTHS since all of this started. Like most parents say as their children graduate high school, graduate college, get married and have kids, "The days are long but the years are short"...this season has gone both slow and super fast. I have been reflecting on my reactions and my words for the past six months and I have to say, I have got to do better.
Two boys. We have two boys; two boys that will one day be men. They are the next generation that will influence the next generation, and they are watching our every move. They are watching my response to all of this mess. They are watching my husband's response to all of this mess. While watching us, they are taking mental notes of how they are supposed to act during seasons of fear, frustration, and fury.
Deuteronomy 20:8 says, "And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, 'Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest to make the heart of his fellows melt like his own." "Melt like his own."
Christians...family...what are we teaching the generations that come after us? Are we pursuing faith, chasing after it with every fiber of our being, or are we giving into the fear that society and the news presents to us? If we are not careful we will ultimately damage those who follow us. The next generation will grow up with a disadvantage, already having their faith legs swept from beneath them with how we lived and responded in our lives.
Now, am I saying that we should completely ignore what is going on? Absolutely not! I am not saying pretend like this pandemic isn't real. I know it is very real. I am not saying to pretend like riots aren't happening and pretend like injustice isn't happening in the world around us. All of these things are very real. I am saying the complete opposite. We are to acknowledge that these things are real, but in the middle of them, choose not to focus on them.
Goliath was very real. David knew that he was real. He could clearly see that he was 9 feet 9 inches tall. He also knew that the lions and bears he encountered were real. However, instead of focusing on how powerful the lion, bear, and Goliath were, he chose to focus on the fact that his God was bigger than ALL of them.
1 Samuel 17:37 reveals, "And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David knew who his God was. He knew that his God was strong and able to strike down the lion, bear, and the Philistine.
Gideon's army went from 32,000 men to 300. Judges 7:2, "The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: 'I did it myself.'" Sometimes less is more. Sometimes God does things when we are at our weakest so that we will absolutely know that it wasn't us...it was ALL HIM. Not only that but God used a focused, faith filled army of 300 men to defeat the Midianites. The 300 men could have walked away, but they chose to stay. They were FOCUSED. They were FAITH-FILLED.
Friends, the way we speak matters. Our actions matter. Our focus matters. Our respond to different situations...matters. Not only does it matter for the sake of our own lives but for those around us, who we are influencing on a daily basis. Are we talking about the goodness of God on the daily? Are we saying things like, "this pandemic is huge, but our God is BIGGER!" What kind of things are putting down for the next generation to pick up? Judges 2:10, "After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel."
Why didn't Israel not know who God was or what He had done? Because the generations prior to them quit talking about the goodness of God. Let this be both a warning and encouragement to us. Christians, family, we have to do better. Andy Stanley once said, "Stop talking about politics the way that you are talking about politics, you are scaring the children." Do we want to be known as a faith filled generation that our children and grandchildren can look up to, who teaches them about God, their defender? Or do we want to be known as the generation who implants discouragement and fear, running away from the enemy? I don't know about you but I know which one I want to be.
Keep speaking faith. Keep acting in faith. In the face of "armies and giants" that we are up against on a daily basis...let's remind them who our LIVING GOD WAS, IS, AND IS TO COME! He is on our side. He is our defender. He is fighting our battles. We can count on Him!