By: Dr. James Noble
My wife asked me how I was handling the current situation with the ongoing pandemic, stay-at-home order, and self-quarantine. I gave her my best Christian answer. I responded without hesitation, “I am doing well. I’m reading God’s Word and keeping my mind stayed on Him.” Immediately after the conversation with my wife, I started making phone calls to members of the church to pray with them and to see if they had enough food and home supplies because of the shortages in the stores. I thought I was doing well until I made the next phone call.
This one member had a sister that recently died due to a head injury. Through her tears, she explained to me how grieved her family was and how they were not able to be at her sister’s bedside during her last hours because of Covid-19. Hospitals were not allowing family members to visit sick relatives in an attempt to keep the virus from spreading. Her family was angry and devastated. After the doctors removed the life support system, a nurse approached them in the parking lot of the hospital and said, “I’m putting my job on the line but follow me! I will allow you to see your sister.” The family received a moment of relief. They were able to spend the last 15 minutes together as a family before their loved one passed away.
After that conversation, the weight of everything came crumbling down on me. Consequently, I realized that I was not alright, as I had previously mentioned to my wife a few minutes earlier. Looking up at the blue sky on the patio of my home, I became quite emotional. As a pastor, I was supposed to be strong but I had a moment of weakness. Troubled times like these can mentally wear you down to the point of anguish and hopelessness.
At that point, I had to find strength and hope. Where would I turn? I would go to my source of solace, the Scriptures.
In the book of Nehemiah 9:18-21, we read some encouraging words of how God demonstrated His deep devotion and miraculous wonders to the children of Israel with they were living in desperate times. After they had left Egypt, they were in the wilderness for 40 years. God would provide for them in ways that would benefit us during the difficult days that we are experiencing.
GOD’S MAGNIFICENT MERCY
The children of Israel made a golden calf and claimed that it was the god that delivered them out of Egypt, (Nehemiah 9:18). Even in their rebellion, God did not forsake them. In Nehemiah 9:19, we see where God provided his “manifold mercies.” Psalm 136 proclaims how God’s mercy endures forever. During critical circumstances of our day, we can take comfort in the magnificent mercies of God. He will not fail us.
GOD’S DIVINE DIRECTION
While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God miraculously directed their paths. He led them with a pillar of cloud by day and by a pillar of fire by night. Additionally, He gave them His Spirit to instruct them (Nehemiah 19-20). When we have difficult days, it is hard to know which way to turn. When we put our trust in God, His Holy Spirit can lead us in the right direction. We have His GPS, God’s Powerful Spirit.
GOD’S CONSTANT CARE
For 40 years God sustained the children of Israel in the wilderness. They did not need a Chick-fil-A. He fed them manna. They did not need a water supplier because He provided water for them. Lastly, they did not need a doctor because their feet did not swell and their clothes did not wear out, (Nehemiah 9:20-21). God took care of them. He is Jehovah-jireh. God provides for His children. He knows what we need and He will sustain us during times of uncertainty.
I am so glad that troubles don’t last always.
“This poor man called out, and the LORD heard him; He saved him from all his troubles, (Psalm 34:6.)