By Elizabeth Prata
I thought this may help others who are beginning to be stressed about the current national situation (all the things…you know what they are.)
Quarantine, that’s such a huge part of the irritation with all this going on, isn’t it? I’ve begun to lose patience with it all finally. I have to work hard every day more and more, to dispel personal irritations, vaporize complaints, stay positive, and keep my eyes on Jesus – and not the world.
I have read or listened to two items lately that have helped me quell the frustration. I pass them along to you in hopes that they may give you comfort or help in any way in dealing with any of the unfortunate external circumstances that may be pressing on you and your work, family, and life.
First, I could not quite put my finger on why I had such vitriolic hatred of masks
…until I read this article. “Amanda suffers from CS- Do You?“
Second, every 100 years or so, the Lord seems to raise up just the perfect person to be
part of or to address the cultural happenings relative to religious matters. From
Wycliffe (1300s) to Martin Luther (1400s) to John Calvin (1500s) to John Bunyan
(1600s) to George Whitfield (1700s) to Charles Spurgeon (1800s), the Lord always
brings His will & plans forward using all people, but some more particularly than
others. In this era, it’s John MacArthur.
MacArthur is increasingly recognized (as he approaches age 82) as THE premier pastor-teacher of our day. He has been teaching at Grace Community Church since 1969. He has preached verse by verse thru the entire New Testament. He was instrumental in holding the line during several important controversies, for example, helping craft the Chicago Statement of Inerrancy and the Lordship Controversy in the 1970s. (Just as Spurgeon is known for his stance against the ‘Down-Grade Controversy’). He is stalwart in standing against the encroachment of the California governor’s attempted shutdowns, and he has led his church well in this pandemic season, comforting them and teaching them. And us, too. His sermons are online.
He said in all his years he has never seen such a time, and he feels that the Lord has left him alive for just such a time as this. He delivered some remarks this past Sunday of statistics and truth about Covid which I found comforting. First, because it is the truth about the virus and I’m tired of being lied to. JMac as he is affectionately known, cut through the clutter.
Second, because he re- orients us to the point of our existence. “Life is a terminal illness” he said, and by whatever means the Lord chooses to take us out, is how He plans to take us out. JMac went on to do a Q&A which was also comforting and charming, as his people asked a range of questions related to culture, the times, or doctrine. The music at the start is beautiful but if you want to skip ahead begin at 35:35, here.
His sermon earlier that morning “How to live among a twisted and perverted generation” (verse from Philippians), re-oriented me toward the Word and gave great comfort in how to live during times where nothing makes sense. I hope you find those two videos helpful, linked above.
I pray that in some of all this confusion that you, dear reader, will find some positives. We all point to Paul who was joyful in prison, but the reality is, even he struggled to maintain it. He got angry, he got frustrated. He was affected by all the ups and downs of his life. He was human, not a super-saint. He did what he didn’t want to do and wished he could do what he wanted!
Told he wouldn’t minister to the Jews he loved, but to the Gentiles instead…unaccepted at first by brethren suspicious of his conversion, having to live with the negative consequences of his violent reputation, his apostleship doubted by the Corinthians, frustrated by the demon harassing him which the Lord refused to remove…He evidenced frustration, disbelief (at the Galatians’ desertion of the Gospel), impatience (with the Corinthians’ overlooking an incestuous relationship, partying at the Lord’s Table), anger, disappointment (with John Mark) and even a holy sarcasm at times. He had to work at his famous joyfulness!
When I begin to feel those same things, I have to redouble my efforts to maintain my
equilibrium. I can’t imagine how hard it is with brothers and sisters who have aging parents and stressed-out children!
The compass needle is spinning crazily as the world is more and more shaken.
When I lived on the sailboat I always got seasick from the waves tossing the boat.
I was told to gaze upon the steady horizon line so the queasiness would go away.
Now, I have Jesus to look at as my horizon.
Hebrews 12:27-29 says, “This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let’s show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:27-29).
Looking away from Him brings queasiness. Look to the Lord to withstand the shaking. He never moves, He is the rock. You will not be shaken.