Jul 19, 2022
Each test of life prepares us for the next. And failure is only failure if we don’t learn from it. With that in mind, would you join me to revisit a global test of faith, and more importantly, reclaim spiritual ground and then reload for the next test of faith. Stick around to the end of the podcast to find out about a couple gifts for you.
What is faith? Simple definition, trust and confidence in something or someone. Of course we are talking about faith in God, who He is and what He says.
Would you agree that fear is not necessarily the lack of faith but definitely the enemy of faith? Faith and fear fight for our heart’s focus, our sanity, and our influence. Fear is basically focusing on circumstances rather than God. Faith is focusing on God in spite of circumstances. The Bible talks a lot about fear, the testing of our faith and the power of faith. And it’s possible to feel fear but still act in faith despite the feelings of fear. Good news is God desires for us to win this battle and gives us what we need to do so!
One of the most noteable battles of faith and fear came under the label of Covid19. Many of my friends, myself included, found ourselves facing fear in a brand new way. We were already weary and agitated from the election chaos when this new test appeared.
Think about where you were when you first heard about it. I was waiting for surgery when I heard about the first case in the United States. And I remember listening to news and all they could talk about was how terrible this virus was and that it was going to kill just about everybody it seemed. At the time, Cindy and I were recovering from something unfamiliar and wondered later if that wasn’t Covid19.
Then things started shutting down and I couldn’t believe it. Colleges, businesses, schools, sports, churches. New ways of meeting and doing business evolved but isolation, loneliness and depression were huge side effects.
Another surreal thing was the silence. Cindy and I live under some of the flight paths of the Minneapolis/St Paul airport. It was eerily quiet. Seemed no one was traveling anywhere. Rush-hour didn’t even exist. Here in Minneapolis, you could travel the freeways at any time of day or night and not have any traffic to speak of. Kinda felt like the rapture had happened.
People were afraid to go out of their homes and go shopping. Do you remember? Many of the men I run with were wrestling with anxiety and fear. Seeing how it gripped them shook me to the core. I was both surprised at their reactions but also tempted to join in.
I have a dear friend and we would have discussions and he would say things like, “my” anxiety is at a higher level. Or “my” anxiety is flaring up. The word “my” gives ownership to something. I began to recognize the impact of ownership in these statements. When you own something like anxiety and call it yours, it’s very very difficult to give it up. But when you see anxiety for what it is, something that plagues you, don’t own it. Wow what powerful lesson for me, for him, for us all! Let’s recognize it, confess it and pray against it. That has been one of the biggest helps for me. Don’t own things you don’t want. Don’t own things that are not from God! It’s a new mindset for sure but I love it!
I remember having discussions with several of my friends about what a decent response would be to the Covid pandemic, what God would say about it. Thoughts were really all over the map. I did NOT want to live in fear and knew I needed to take action! I believe God was working in my heart a simple response. Inspired, I went into the studio, grabbed my guitar and wrote Nothin’ Changes That. I suppose this was my declaration, my stance, putting Jesus over all of this, over the fear and the divisiveness.
You are life, nothing changes that
You are peace, nothing changes that
You are hope, nothing changes that
You are Lord, nothing changes that
I find panic is one of the biggest deterrents to finding true peace in Jesus. I’m very familiar with panic. I’ve known what it’s like to feel frozen in place. Almost as if you were at the bottom of the ocean chained to a weight and looking up with no hope. That’s what I experienced in therapy when repressed memories suddenly came back. There seemed to be no way out and I felt frozen in place. I knew didn’t want to stay there, though. Tragically, many people do stay there. If that’s you, I’m begging you, don’t stay there! There is hope and help out there.
During Covid, the whole world seemed frozen, emotional alarms were going off everywhere and panic was rampant! The good news is that our spiritual eyes and spiritual ears allow us to experience a different reality!
The chorus says this:
Cause when I panic You bring calm to me
When I’m blind, You open my eyes and set me free
And when I listen to the world, my mind starts racing
But when I listen to Your word, my heart starts beating for You
So when I go to the Lord with my panic, He brings me peace and when I say to Him, “Lord, I can’t see; I’m too afraid,” He opens my eyes to His answer and He sets me free.
And obviously it’s much easier to know the truth when I saturate myself in the word of God and I spend time praying to the God of the universe. I find it true to this day that if all I listen to is the news, all they want me to hear is the fear. Fear brings ratings. And I…we… fall for it again and again and again. But when I spend time in the word and praying every morning, God brings a calm and a peace to me and I know He will for you also. He is the answer the world needs so desperately.
From Genesis to Revelation, “do not be afraid” is mentioned again and again and again. So why don’t we, and I put myself in that category, listen to the Word of God more. I’m afraid we spend more time saturating ourselves in the news which as was said earlier, wants us to be afraid, rather than saturating ourselves in the word of God and putting on the armor of God everyday.
“Well, I’m only human!” That’s the excuse that I hear from others and sometimes from my own lips. While that is true, we have an amazing God who is everywhere.
How did you grow (or fail) in faith under the “Covid test”? Are you preparing spiritually for the next test of faith that is sure to come along?
Obviously, there’s lots of things we can’t control but there are some that we CAN control. There’s SUCH power in knowing the difference AND having a personal relationship with God who CAN handle what we can’t!
Here’s three key areas of control I’ve found to be super helpful:
Let’s take control of what we can and, as the bridge of the song says,
I won’t let my faith fade
No matter what they say
The world may turn away
But in you, that’s where I’ll stay
Jesus is Lord, God is good, He will never leave us or forsake us…NOTHIN’ CHANGES THAT!
There’s a couple gifts I’d like to give you related to this song - a phone wallpaper to help you remember this important truth and a printable copy of the Serenity Prayer. Check out this episode on GGSSPodcast.com to get your free downloads.