HOW IS YOUR PANDEMIC PROGRESS?

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HOW IS YOUR PANDEMIC PROGRESS?

The COVID-19 pandemic brings a global occasion to move from thorn-tree living to fruit-tree living (Jeremiah 17:5-9). Because God ordains all things to magnify His glory and our joy in Him, God infuses even the dreaded Corona Virus with these purposes. As in every trial and trouble–whether a general life hardship, the sins of others against us, false teaching that seeks to draw us away, the direct work of the devil, or a bodily illness–we can examine ourselves handling of the current moment by asking simple questions like:

Is this virus working God’s purpose in my heart and life? Am I bearing fewer thorns and more fruit because of this difficult situation, which God has designed for me?

God’s glory-magnifying, joy-increasing purposes in the world enable us to examine our spiritual progress in unique ways. Thinking about this in my own life, I started a list of pandemic purposes for which God may have designed this time for me and you. We can attend to these points (and others) so as to leverage this difficult season–in all its uncertainty, hardship, death, grief, boredom, and the rest–for His glory and our joy. Spend some time thinking about your life in light of the following areas of change.

God designed COVID-19 (in part) to:

  1. Grow our humility and shrink our pride
  2. Increase our kindness and lessen our meanness toward people
  3. Build our trust in God and reduce our trust in man
  4. Cultivate our patience and kill our impatience
  5. Soften our hearts toward our opponents and harden our resolve to love
  6. Teach us to resolve conflicts not fuel them
  7. Instill us with compassion for the weak and steal our preference for the strong
  8. Make us long for church community and crush our consumeristic tendency
  9. Intensify our interest in others and dilute our love for Self
  10. Heat up our love and cool our anger toward the lost
  11. Strengthen our respect for authority and weaken our autonomy
  12. Fuel our evangelism and snuff our apathy ministering the gospel
  13. Hone our stewardship and reduce our materialism
  14. Mature us up and out not collapse us down and in
  15. Deepen our love of neighbor and reverse our reluctance to protect others
  16. Unmask our love of controversy and squelch our vain speculations
  17. Display the surpassing value of Christ and turn our hearts from false hopes
  18. Test our actual commitment to His Church and prove the sincerity of our brotherly love
  19. Reveal the limits and common grace blessings of modern medicine
  20. Prepare us for future tribulation and foreshadow ways we might falter
  21. Comfort us with grace for today and point us toward future grace
  22. Startle the unbelieving and grow a despair which leads to life in Him
  23. Awaken our awareness of God’s judgment and lay to rest our own vengeance
  24. Swell our sense of His sovereignty and shrink the counterfeit power of our little kingdom
  25. Bend stubborn necks and comfort broken hearts
  26. Provoke questions about the world and betray our sense of security
  27. Calm those who quietly wait for God and correct those who have zeal without knowledge
  28. Refine our priorities by fire and remove the slag from our lives
  29. Strip us of the extras and feed us with daily bread
  30. Slow down our lives and speed up our prayers
  31. Can you add more?

As you read these 30 designs, which can you celebrate as growing marks of your life? Which of them beg for more of your attention? Pick a couple of points and commit them to God by prayer, then decide what steps will cultivate them in your life.

By the grace and mercy of Jesus, we examine ourselves with hope. In covenant love, the God who rules in the pandemic spares no expense to draw His people out of themselves and into His soul-satisfying purposes. We can’t avoid what God designs, so ignoring these things won’t do. Instead, we know God wills and works for His good pleasure, and we ought to join Him every way we can (Phil 2:13).