Times That Test Our Faith

Times That Test Our Faith

2020 | Week of March 16 | Radio Transcript #1351

These are the times that test our mettle. Better said, these are the times that test our faith. I suspect I’m not much different from maybe millions of Americans in my reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s kind of surreal walking into usually well-stocked stores and finding various aisles absolutely empty. Having church via livestream this past weekend was more than a little different. And we have the constant news updates—not just from media outlets but from banks and stores and more as schools are closed, events cancelled or postponed and places of businesses curtail hours and number of people allowed.

Adding to the unreal atmosphere, we have President Trump declaring this past Sunday as a National Day of Prayer. To the best of my recollection, it’s been since 2001 that we’ve had a president declare a day of prayer for a national emergency. I hope churches and individual Christians did as our church did and took this declaration to heart.

If you haven’t read the president’ Day of Prayer Proclamation, here are the most salient parts:

“In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty.  As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are unable to gather in their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship.  But in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones.  I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.

“As your President, I ask you to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle.  We should all take to heart the holy words found in 1 Peter 5:7:  ‘Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.’  Let us pray that all those affected by the virus will feel the presence of our Lord’s protection and love during this time.  With God’s help, we will overcome this threat.

“…I now encourage all Americans to pray for those on the front lines of the response, especially our Nation’s outstanding medical professionals and public health officials who are working tirelessly to protect all of us from the coronavirus and treat patients who are infected; all of our courageous first responders, National Guard, and dedicated individuals who are working to ensure the health and safety of our communities; and our Federal, State, and local leaders.  We are confident that He will provide them with the wisdom they need to make difficult decisions and take decisive actions to protect Americans all across the country.  As we come to our Father in prayer, we remember the words found in Psalm 91:  ‘He is my refuge and my fortress:  my God; in him will I trust.’

“As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help.  Luke 1:37 promises that ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible,’ and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.  As one Nation under God, we are greater than the hardships we face, and through prayer and acts of compassion and love, we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before.  May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America.”[1]

Much in this proclamation is commendable. To me it has strong overtones of earlier presidents who in times of national crisis called for a day of prayer and issued similar proclamations. I have asked myself several times during all this what would be happening if the 2016 election had gone differently than it did and what the election later this year might give us and how such a crisis would be handled by any of the candidates currently running. Those, by the way, are legitimate questions.

We should be, at a minimum, grateful for a president who has the courage to call for a day of prayer, quotes Scripture in his proclamation and acknowledges that we are one nation under God. Beyond that, we rest in the very real truth that God is in control and that these times afford us incredible opportunities to show the world that our God and our faith in Him are real—and that they too can know this great God if they are willing to accept His Son Jesus Christ as their Savior.

For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling, reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-national-day-prayer-americans-affected-coronavirus-pandemic-national-response-efforts/

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