From: Mr. Brent Fischer
5 Practical Helps for Trusting God in Quarantine
O Joy, that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
–George Matthewson, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”
Over quarantine, Selah (3), Piper (20 months), and I have spent a lot of time snuggling and rolling around on Mommy and Daddy’s bed.
But, our bed has been one of our favorite spots for fun and games as well. There’s been a mixture of jumping on the bed, falling on the bed, pillow fights, and tickle fights—all accompanied with fits of heart-warming giggles, as you can imagine.
Sweet times for sure.
But the best part has been “Daddy toss.”
Admittedly this hasn’t been too radical for Piper. I’ve usually just picked her up, hung her upside down by her feet for a few seconds, then flipped her back down on the bed. And she’s thought it’s the best.
But Selah has really gotten into it. She’s wanted me to launch her as far and high as I can. “Higher, higher!” she’s squealed.
But there’s been a twist. Because Selah has had to get down off the bed to come to me to launch her each time, she realized it was quicker to just jump into my arms from off the bed. That way the “reload time” was less, and I could launch her with a faster “rate of fire.”
She was nervous at first. She kind of half-jumped into my arms—extending her uppy body towards me while she kept her toes on the edge of the bed.
So, after I noticed her doing this a couple times, I backed away before she started leaning into me, forcing her to have to jump to me and trust I’d catch her.
She did. And this has quickly become part of the fun: flying onto the bed, then flying into Daddy’s arms, then back into the air!
Trusting God during these crazy Coronavirus times can be just like this. It’s hard and even scary. Does God really have this under control? Will He really catch me? But this is precisely when we need to trust Him.
Just like my little Selah, apart from jumping into our heavenly Father’s arms, we’ll never experience how truly safe we are, and the peace (dare I say joy!), that comes with resting in His strength and love.
So that’s what the last post was about. God’s arms and activity symbolize His sovereignty. They mark His “absolute right and freedom to control everything.” God does as He pleases (Ps 115:3), and nothing and no one can stay His hand, including the Coronavirus (cf. Dan 4:35).
Hence, the sovereignty of God is like a “Sour Patch Kids doctrine” to many. First it’s sour, then it’s sweet. Like Selah having to trust whether I’ll catch her, God’s sovereignty (that He can withdraw His hand a bit if He pleases), is a bit scary. But then, once we trust Him and jump; we realize our truly safe we are.
God’s sovereignty during these tumultuous days may be incredibly difficult and even painful. But, because of Christ, we know God has infinitely wise purposes behind what He’s doing. He’s not just working all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11), but for our good (Rom 8:28).
And ultimately, like Selah, for our joy.
Some Practical Helps
But what does it look like to trust God during these uncertain times, especially when you’re home-bound?
I think it looks primarily like “waiting on God.”
The call to “wait on God” is right up there with one of the most oft repeated commands in the Bible. (The top one is “fear not,” by the way.) Over and over again, we hear exhortations like, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Ps 27:14); and promises like, “...they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isa 40:31).
Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
But though this is “good,” it’s not easy. In fact, this can be the hardest part.
Nevertheless, God is working in our waiting. He has not forgotten us (cf. Jer 29:11). “The Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men” (Lam 3:31-33).
So how do we “wait on the Lord?” Here are 5 practical suggestions:
- Cling! Cling to the promises of God, friend. Preach them to your soul—and to the souls of your family. Speak Lamentations 3:25-26 and verses 31-33 over them. Recite Psalm 46:1-3 outloud. Declare Psalm 62:1-2 to your spirit. Wrestle with your heart to hope in God by rehearsing David’s words in Psalm 42. Here’s a great example of how from a sermon-jam by Matt Chandler.
- Sing! Sing, “Day by day and with each passing moment...;” sing, “No matter what may come my way, my life is in your hands;” sing, “Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us. You’re with us in the fire and the flood;” sing, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from every fear;” sing, “It is well, it is well, it is well with my soul!” And don’t just sing to yourself, play these songs in your home for all to hear and get stuck in their heads, so they would sing too!
- Bring! Bring your cares before the Lord in prayer (1 Pet 5:7). One of the most dangerous lies Satan ever gets us to believe is that prayer is impractical and doesn’t really do anything. "Why pray for something when you can make a call or write an email or use your two hands to make it happen?" he whispers constantly in our ears.
We forget that there is such a thing as “laboring in vain”—that all our working is only fruitful in the end if the Lord is in it (cf. 1 Cor 3:13).
Consider Psalm 127:1-2: “Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builder labors 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.”
Sometimes, the most Christian thing we can do when everyone else is panicking, is to take a nap!
We also can forget the result and benefit of the command to, “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6)—namely, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:7).
4. Bless! “Waiting” biblically does not mean sitting on your hands doing nothing. It means having a disposition of your soul that is quiet and patient, resting in God, so that your heart’s not squeezed, your mind’s not racing, and your tongue’s not snapping. This can be done while still being generous and serving others in incredible ways (cf. Acts 2:44-45).
So we also bring blessing to others in clever and creative ways that glorify God while still obeying our earthly authorities insofar as they don’t call us to sin (cf. Rom 13:1-7; Acts 5:29).
In particular, consider how you may be able to bless those around you by potentially providing:
(1) Childcare - for those who can’t do it, and don’t want to risk grandma...if you’re healthy (NOTE: depends on the government regulations in effect, of course!)
(2) Food and medical supplies - for those in need (consider pooling resources with other Liberty families). Generosity should be a huge mark of Christ’s Body during this time that sets us apart from the world. Consider John’s words: “...if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18; cf. 1 Tim 6:17-19; 2 Cor 8:2; 9:7; 1 John 4:19).
(3) Prayer support - praying for those around you, even if you can’t meet their needs, that God would, and perhaps He would bring to mind someone who He has in mind to be His hands and feet (cf. John 6:9).
(4) Sacrifice - and when it really comes down to it, our love should overflow for others just as Christ’s did for us. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16).
As an illustration of this, consider these 5 lessons from C.H. Spurgeon’s moving example when he faced the Cholera epidemic in 1854 in his first year in ministry (at 20 years old)!
5. Watch! Waiting also means watching—watching for the Lord’s deliverance, for His answer to prayer, and for Him to fulfill His promises (cf. Ps 130:6). “...As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us” (Ps 123:2).
Are you watching for specific answers to prayer? Are you aware of specific promises you are waiting on God to fulfill? Are you expectant to praise Him when He does?
Waiting also means watching over those God has placed under our care, with a grateful and trusting heart that God will supply all our needs (Phil 4:19).
Faithful watchmen don’t panic, they prepare. They make sure the walls are strong, the torches ready, the people are not wandering outside the gates, but the hatches are battened down and everyone's secure inside. So here’s a balanced view from NPR on how to prepare at home.
This can be especially hard when you have to work from home and the kids have to do school from home now too. So, here’s a helpful article on how to do that. And here’s another on some quality home-schooling resources to support you (many of which are free)! (PS. on that note, for you ebook/audio-book affectionados, Scribd is now free for 30 days!)
I’m sure there are many other practical ways we can wait, watch, and bless one another during these uncertain times. And if you have any further ideas, please let me (or other leadership at Liberty) know!
In the meantime, may our sovereign Lord keep us in perfect peace as our minds are stayed on Him (Isa 26:3-4), and may we be strong and let our hearts take courage as we wait upon Him (Ps 27:4).
Waiting and watching with you,
In the next post, I'd like to give you six clear biblical examples that show we can indeed trust God specifically during plagues or pandemics and the suffering they may cause. Stay tuned!