As I write this devotional, my country is battling the coronavirus outbreak along with the rest of the world. People are sickening and dying. Businesses are shut down and healthy people are told to avoid contact with others as much as possible. And it’s not getting better.
God calls us to not only pray in such difficult times but to praise and worship him which are powerful spiritual weapons. He also asks us to keep our focus on him and his goodness and power, not on the chaos around us.
At first, I found this easy. I kept the TV off and put on the praise and worship music. I read encouraging scriptures. But then my job fizzled. Prayers regarding the virus seemed to go unanswered. Thoughts about worldwide economic depression, loss of our retirement accounts, and various other fears bounced around in my head. I had to choose, sometimes hourly, to trust God and look to him. As time passed, I realized that faith is only real faith if it settles in for the duration and doesn’t back down.
Romans 5:3-4 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation (NLT).
Our faith cannot ground itself in our own strength, abilities, or wisdom. Our faith grows best when it is stretched beyond the quick answer, the easy fix, or what we view as fair or bearable. It is only when the road gets long and hard that we find strength from the Lord to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). And it is through difficult times that God teaches us the greatest lessons and accomplishes his greatest purposes.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I find your grace sufficient and may you strengthen my faith to endure through difficult times. Amen.