By Phil Wood
Considering the sermon by Bruce Spear on May 24, 2020
Scripture Readings: 1 Peter 5:7-11
In Peter's day, Christians were dealing with persecution, and it was deadly serious. No Christian, anywhere in the Roman world was safe. Christians were "safer at home" than they were venturing out into the world.
In his sermon, Pastor Bruce noted that our situation today is similar. We're facing adversity that poses a threat to our lives. To protect ourselves, we're sticking pretty close to home, isolating ourselves from community, friends, loved ones. This is impacting us on many levels.
Bruce spoke of epidemiologists who have been researching these things for some 50 years, trying to find ways to help us deal with the impact of such a pandemic on our lives. Their research shows that people, when faced with such adversity, fall into three basic groups:
1. Those whose first response is anger
2. Those who turn inward and worry about all the bad things that could happen
3. Those who acknowledge the difficulties, resist the two approaches above, and work to overcome the adversity.
If you ask me, the epidemiologists could have saved themselves a lot of trouble simply by turning to 1 Peter Chapter 5. But let's humor them for the moment.
In which of these three groups do you think the epidemiologists would place you?
Which of these three groups do you think is most likely to emerge from these troubles in one piece?
Okay, that question was too easy. Let's look at what Peter had to say.
"Be alert and sober of mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
Take some time to meditate on that verse. Think about what weapons the devil might be turning against you during this coronavirus pandemic. How, exactly, does the devil go about devouring someone? What sort of things do we need to be watching out for with alertness and soberness of mind?
Resist the devil, Peter said. And he gave us some clues on how to do that by turning to God. I think the epidemiologists would agree these were some pretty good tips.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
Try meditating on that verse and turning it into a prayer. Be completely honest. Tell Jesus everything you're anxious about during this COVID-19 era; the people whose health and lives you fear for, the financial impact on your family and the world, the rising tide of divisiveness around how we're going to emerge to the new normal. All of it, whatever it is, put it on the altar. Surrender it into his hands.
And then prayerfully reflect on the second half of that sentence, "...because he cares for you."
It's okay to let it go. You can trust him because he cares for you. And your enemy the devil sure as hell does not!
In his message yesterday morning, Bruce was strongly calling us all to trust in the God who loves us and cares for us because, as Peter promised, "...the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
And all the epidemiologists said...Amen!
God be with you.