“Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.” Zechariah 9:12
Today is Palm Sunday. This is the day that marked the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry; the day He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and was greeted and recognized as King (Matthew 21:4-5). This very event was prophesied by Zechariah and Isaiah the prophets (Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 62:11). The people of that time were in desperate need of a savior, and it is no different today. In times like this we realize that we do not have control over our lives, and we need to put our trust in something greater than ourselves. We can make plans for our tomorrow’s, and think we have all the time in the world, but we do not know what tomorrow holds (Proverbs. 19:21, James 4:14). But we know a God who is in control, and He does hold our tomorrow’s. The biggest question among people in times like this is, “why would God allow all this to happen if He is in control?” It can seem like God is being harsh, but sometimes God allows things for our good. The enemy only has the power we give Him, or what God allows. When Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, they were given full control over it (free will). God did not force their decisions, and they ultimately fell because of the sin they allowed. They fell for Satan’s lies, but God showed them something important. That God’s way is always best.
When we want things our way, and not God’s way, and we put our trust in everything but God, we are given over to our own devices (Romans 1:24, Psalm 81:12). One might blame God for things, but the problem is that God is good. How do we know this? Because goodness is the opposite of evil. If you think evil does not exist in the world, you are even more blinded to the truth. How would we know what goodness is without its opposite? Atheist can say they don’t believe in God, but they would be foolish to say there is no God with 100 percent confidence. The world is very much in a battle between good and evil. God does not seek to steal and destroy that is the enemy. Jesus came so that we would have life to its fullest (John 10:10). We know that death is now a part of life, and it is ultimately viewed as tragic; and sometimes it is. But for the Christian, everlasting life precedes death (Philippians 1:21). This world is just a blip on our journey, a stopping point. Covid-19 Virus is not the first disease on the scene. This world is temporal, but heaven with Jesus will be eternal, as place with no more sickness or heartache; the way God intended His creation to be.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
While we are here on earth, God wants us to find Him while there is still time (Isaiah 55:6) and know that there are still blessings to be enjoyed, and great valuable lessons to be learned, amidst all the pain and sorrow. The storm eventually comes to an end, and the sun comes out. But during the time of storm, we need to ask and invite God to come into our situation, and our lives, instead of running from Him. In the garden God said to Adam, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). Gods very 1st question to humans. It wasn’t that God didn’t know where they were. God sees you exactly where you are and knows your struggle, but is He allowed in your struggle? God was simply showing humility to Adam and Eve, and the type of relationship He desired with them. Adam and Eve may not have fully known Him yet, but they must have known His sovereignty if they feared Him as they did. God walked and talked and meandered with His two new friends every evening. Too often today we ignore God and fail to recognize His prompts.
I am here to tell you that Corona-virus is not from God, it is very much a result of the fallen world of sin we live in … BUT! There is a big BUT in the equation. God will take what the enemy means for evil, and He can and will use it for good, but it is completely up to us to accept His offer of salvation (Genesis 50:20). The people recognized Jesus’ sovereignty even while He traveled on a humble donkey (no chariots or guards etc.) They threw clothing and palm branches on the street in a form of surrender, preparing the way shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!” Hosanna means “Lord save us!” (Matthew 21:9). God wants to save His people, not just outwardly, but inwardly. He’s more concerned with our soul and our eternity than simply getting us out of a bad situation (Matthew 10:28). Jesus came for all, not just for some. It matters not what you have done thus far, He simply wants you to look up and call on Him! Call on the one who saves! There is nothing we can do to earn His grace, He made the sacrifice and died on the cross for all sin and disease (2 Timothy 1:9, John 3:16). There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
Jesus came to set the captives free. What has you bound today? Many are in government ordered lock-down situations where you feel very shut in and limited. But could it be that we were more captive before than we are now? How many are saying they now have more time with their families, they are catching up on sleep because of the crazy demands they used to place on themselves with work, all for the sake of money or power. Have we forgotten what is truly important in life? I think this perhaps is a wake-up call to the nations. We are safe at home, safe when we are shut in with a God who is in control. Our prison is usually in our minds. Paul and Silas took on an attitude of worship and thankfulness in their prison, and not only were they set free, many others were saved (Acts 16:16-40). They were prisoners of Hope. The apostle Paul wrote many letters of Hope during his imprisonment for God, and we have them to read today. These times may seem unfair, but they could be opportunities in work clothes depending how we look at it. We have no choice but to stop and be face to face with the world, and our lives. To reflect on what is truly important. Some Christians are still in a period of lent, which is a period of fasting, prayer, reflection, and thanksgiving; how fitting. Let’s take time to sit back and reflect on what is truly important and hold onto the hope God gives us in His word! (Proverbs 29:18) We will come out of this better and stronger than when we went in! Noah and his people came out of the ark with a fresh slate, could it be that God is giving us a fresh start and a new perspective? God says, “I am doing a new thing in the land, will you perceive it? He will make a way where there seems to be no way (Isaiah 43:19). The King has heard your cry, and the cries across the world. The answer is clear when the bible says:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
We need to seek the Lord! The woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:42-48, was in a hopeless situation for years. She reached out and touched the Lord in faith, and she was healed and restored. Sometimes we think well what good is faith if we can’t see it. A virus is so tiny you cannot see it, but it is quite powerful. God is invisible, but His attributes are also clearly seen (Romans 1:20). His power is known to those who allow Him in their situations. God was still active in Adam and Eve’s life; showing them mercy, even after they sinned. He brought them through many trials and His will was fulfilled. He wants to do the same for us. Faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). What are you hoping for today? We are all held captive by our hopes, but there is only one true hope; our hope is in the Lord (Psalm 121). Oh, prisoner of hope gets your hopes up! Your king is coming! It may seem like you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death right now, but He is with you! (Psalm 23:4). When we come through our trials God promises to restore double to us! (Joel 2:25, Zechariah 9:12) Just call upon the Lord. Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!
“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:15-16