Where does my help come from? A note written in March 2020.
Updated: Feb 7
In this day of pestilence and fear, where will our help come from?
Will it come from the government? They are trying their best, but they are still human, not God. Can they stop the sun rising each day? Can they set a boundary for the sea and say, ‘Come no further’?
Will our help come from medicine? The doctors and researchers are doing their best to understand this virus and come up with solutions and strategies for containment. But they too are human. They are using their intelligence and skills but who formed them in their mother’s womb, bestowing brilliance and purpose and drive?
Will our help come from the church when meetings are banned? If its focus is social support it offers little more than many other community groups trying to help their members. How is the church any different?
We are different purely because of our belief in Jesus and the Lord of the Bible. But do we believe the God we believe in? Do we believe that God hears our prayers?
In the movie, Unplanned, Abby Johnson, former director of an abortion clinic says that whenever people pray outside a clinic attendance rates drop as much as 75% on that day. ‘It is the great secret that the abortion industry does not want you to know,’ she said.
This is the power of prayer.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with optic nerve damage from undiagnosed high eye pressure. The eye specialist showed me the ominous black patch on the scan.
‘Will it get better,’ I asked.
‘Optic nerves never heal,’ he said.
The Glaucoma Foundation agrees there is no treatment or cure for optic nerve damage. I prayed to the Lord for healing – that He is the God who saves me from all my sins and heals all my diseases. I asked others to pray also. A few months ago I had another optic nerve scan. It was normal and so was my eye pressure. This was not psychosomatic. It was not coincidence or good luck. It was a fact on a scan and the specialist could not explain it.
‘Could you say this is a little miracle?’ I asked him, not wanting to scare him with a loud ‘Praise the Lord!’
‘Yes,’ he said in a slightly stunned voice.
This is the power of prayer.
These past months Australia has suffered its worst bush fires in decades. No rain was forecast to fall until autumn. Thousands repented and fasted and prayed to the Lord for rain. And a cyclone came out of the blue and quenched most of the fires. Record breaking rainfall dealt with the rest.
In one town, the flames raged towards the townspeople trapped on the beach. Suddenly a strong wind came out of nowhere and blew back the fire.
This is the power of prayer.
The Lord is most certainly alive and well and at work in the midst of this virus crisis. This is a time to lift our eyes to the Lord – the maker of heaven and earth.
Pray for our leaders. Pray for our doctors. Pray for our communities.
This is our unique calling as followers of Jesus; something that no other community group can do. Do not under-estimate the power of prayer.
I lift my eyes to the hills
In Psalm 121 the people lifted their eyes to the hills and saw great sacred stones and carved wooden poles – altars on the high places to the gods of this world. It was entrenched in their culture providing income for many – women wove fabrics for the god Asherah; craftsmen supplied the temple with articles for Asherah, Baal and all the starry hosts; each home had their household gods. But when they ascended to Jerusalem, they could lift their eyes past these hills to the true holy mountain, the place that Abraham named, The Lord will provide.
In this time when our world has changed and circumstances are beyond our control we cannot rely first on our worldly idols – things we turn to before God – things we have made by the work of our hands – medicine, money and friends.
As in the psalm we can lift our eyes higher, to the Lord who will provide.
Dwell with the Lord
Being stuck in self-isolation is not fun. Social contact is important for our health. Regular exercise is important for our health. Self isolation deprives us of these things but it does not deprive us of the most important thing for our health – an opportunity to make the Most High our dwelling. If we dwell with someone, we spend time with them; we don’t just pop in to visit when we need something.
It is a simple process: pray and read the Bible. No special breathing, no special position, no special place. Every word is alive and active and sharper than a double-edged sword. It is useful for teaching, rebuking and encouraging.
No fear; no doubt
We have no need to fear – the Lord does not give us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. Pronounce this scripture frequently through the day. It is like spiritual medicine – soothing and strengthening the soul.
Do not allow doubt to come in your heart. Do not allow the enemy a foothold – from this he will reap havoc in your heart and mind. Think only of the Lord. See how the enemy steals away even the thought of the Lord. This is his plan – to distract so much that he seems only a distant, weak and frail god, if He is considered at all.
Sunrise in Jerusalem
The Lord pours out his blessings day after day but we cannot see them if we are weighed down with worry. Lift up your head. The Lord has not lost control of the world or your life. He knows every hair on your head and every thought in your heart. He is a God of compassion and power and love. He loves you.
A more deadly virus
Amir Tsarfati, an Israeli believer in Jesus, says on his website, Behold Israel, that there is a virus more deadly than Covid19. A virus that no self-isolation, no hand washing will shield us from. A virus with a death rate not 3.4% but 100%.
Its name is sin – and we are all born with it. No amount of healthy eating, exercise, good deeds, virtuous living, self-sacrifice can cure it. There is only one remedy – and the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth has provided it: the work of Jesus on the cross.
This is where to fix our eyes. Not on the TV or internet or prophecies or predictions.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight – even in these troubling times.
May the Lord Jesus wrap you in his arms and fill you with his peace.