I was kicking myself after about 30 minutes had passed and I learned I would be needing a crown on one of my teeth. This past Sabbath before virtual church I had broken a tooth–I’ve known it was cracked since early December and my dentist had been encouraging me to get it fixed . . . but who has the time? So Sabbath morning the tooth broke, and today my doc told me to get into her office for an emergency appointment–which I obeyed . . . because now I do have the time.
But back to why I was kicking myself. I didn’t bring a book. I looked right at three books I’m reading when I was getting ready to leave the house and decided I wouldn’t be that long. One, there aren’t many patients going to the dentist in the season of Covid-19 and two, she’ll probably just throw some temporary fill in the hole and we’ll get to it when all this passes.
But no–things were too close to the nerve and so there I was wishing I had a book.
But since I didn’t I open the Bible app on my phone and I read the following (stay tuned after the text I have some thoughts):
After I read that text I wasn’t kicking myself quite as hard, because it started me ruminating.
Here were my thoughts:
Verses 1-2: There is food right now we need that is above and beyond physical food. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” -Matthew 4:4
In this time of Covid-19 while we are worrying about the economy and what we will and won’t have does the Lord have a plan to draw us to return to His Word and His instruction for our lives? Is He calling us to take our eyes off of the world’s economy and place them on the Lord’s economy.
Verses 3-5: Verse 3 begins with an imperative to “listen” and our “listening” to what God is saying will lead us to another level of living. And then there is an expansion on that promise in verses 3b-5.
Verse 6: My heart was touched as I read these words. I thought about the people that will die due to this virus. Maybe someone I know and love. Maybe someone you know and love. I think about the people that will die prior to Jesus returning that have not yet accepted Him as their Savior. This is their time that He may be found. But this is not just about others, this is about the time I have now to seek Jesus more deeply than I have previously. In fact those things that have often sucked-up my time have been removed. The things I would subconsciously and consciously allow to pull me away from Jesus time–an abundance of meetings–I don’t have those right now. Sports–I don’t have those right now. Kids school activities–I don’t have those right now. I have a lot more time–Chad “seek me in this extra time, while I may be found.”
Verse 7: When we truly seek The Lord we will see wicked things in our lives, we will see all kinds of levels of unrighteousness. But when we see those things we don’t need to despair! Jesus through His death on the cross has given us a better option than the wicked ways and the unrighteous thoughts, the option to turn away from the wicked things and live, because “He will freely pardon.”
Verses 8-9: I pondered how is God thinking about Covid-19. It didn’t catch Him off guard like it did the leader of our country and so many others. Is God working in a way through this horrible situation that we cannot even comprehend? In history when there are calamities, crises, and persecution the church grows. But what about when the calamity is forced isolation? The question has been in my mind, “how can a church grow when can’t “go”? I hear God saying to me, “my ways are not your ways.” Maybe God is preparing a people that will come through this Covid-19 time more convicted of the times in which we are living. Ready to put everything else aside and live only for reaching people for Jesus. I don’t know. But I do know God’s ways are not my ways.
Verses 10-11: My favorite verses in the entire passage. Verses 10 and 11 assure me even in this time of isolation, somehow God’s Word is going out and it will not return to Him void. Just in the last couple weeks the grass in our back yard that has lied dormant all winter is letting me know it is ready to be cut, and today as the rain fell I thought, “after the off and on of rain and sun all week our yard is really going to need cutting.” Just like that dormant grass bursts forth. God’s word I know will do that in people’s hearts! That is how His ways, whatever they are will be fulfilled. People open to God’s word, and God’s word doing the work only it can!
Verses 12-13: I had not thought about verse 12 and 13–I don’t think ever before today. But in my heart, there in the dentist chair I thought . . . well let me first say, I don’t mean for this to sound callous. I understand there is a lot of suffering going on in our world right now, and that some will die from Covid-19, maybe even us . . . but as I pondered this verse in the chair while I was waiting for the machine to finish making my new tooth (crown) my heart thought, “could there a people who spiritually come through this virus more joyful? Seeing the good things of God rather than the thorn bush?”
Those are my thoughts. I pray Isaiah 55 leads us in this time of Covid-19.
I believe it was a good thing I chose not to bring a book to the dentist today.
As I walked my dog on this humid night, I watched as the trees, bushes, and grass were illuminated by fireflies. And in the quiet, as my eyes followed the flashing lights my mind took me back to a June night 24 years prior…
June 1994 a dark humid night, the radio playing quietly in the background. On that night I wasn’t walking though, I was in the passenger seat of a car. My mom was driving, my two sisters and my older sisters boyfriend, Jeremiah, were asleep and I was looking out the window as we made our way into the Midwest and then on into Ohio. Ohio our new home. A home I didn’t want to go. A home far away from our real home in California. Far away from my friends. Far away from my school. Far away from everything. Ohio a place I couldn’t even find on a map.
As we drove deeper into the humidity and closer to Ohio I watched as the bushes became illuminated by–I didn’t know at first–then my mom said, “Fireflies.” They were beautiful. It was about the only beauty I saw in this move…it wasn’t beautiful to take a 16 almost 17 year old away from all his friends in the middle of High-School. My older sister she was just coming to see our new home, she’d be going back to California with her boyfriend for college. My little sister. She was young. She could adjust. But me, my heart was broken.
I thought about that tonight as I saw the fireflies illuminating the night, and I said a prayer of thanks to The Lord for “breaking my heart” at 16 because it saved my life.
In Ohio, the home I didn’t want. I found the home I needed. A home I only lived at for three years, but it became the home I still claim. The home where I made my best friends. The home I named my eldest son after (Dayton). Most importantly the home I met Jesus.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding….” -Proverbs 3:5
My name is Chad Stuart, and I'm a preacher. Inevitably, I spend a lot of time speaking from “inside” the pulpit, however, this blog reflects thoughts I have beyond, or “outside” the pulpit. It represents my own thoughts on religion, spirituality, the Bible, family, leadership, church growth, and some random other stuff.