Essential Faith: Spiritually Surviving the Second Wave

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Essential Jesus


“I just expect people to yell at me for no reason right now.”


When my coworker spoke those words on our latest Zoom call, I reached for my pen to jot down his quote. After all, he was spot-on. As the coronavirus drags on, more and more of us seem to be losing it. By “it,” I mean our patience, our kindness, our gentleness, our peace, our joy, our trust, our love, our faith.


I’m not throwing stones here. The first Sunday I wore a mask to church I was struggling to deal with the warmth (and smell!) of my own breath. Feeling my blood pressure increasing, I jotted down in my journal: “Mike, stop complaining and start encouraging,” calling myself out for the anger bubbling up from my heart, which I was prepared to spew out during my next socially distant conversation.


But my personal pep talk didn’t work. By the final song of the service, I was sick of my mask sucking into my mouth as I drew in deep breaths to hit those higher notes (Chris Tomlin, you’re killing me!). My head ached, and my soul was as bitter as Passover herbs. So, being the amazing child of God that I am, I decided to flip out.


“I am so over this,” I grumbled, as if grumbling about everything would fix anything.


You with me? 


Back in the “good ol’ days” of early 2020, I was grateful for some of corona’s blessings—the forced time with family and the chance to reset my personal schedule. But now, as the second wave is drawing closer to the shore, I have decided to un-like this pandemic. 


If corona and I were dating, I would end the relationship and post pictures of me and my friends, maskless and hugging, just so the virus would know that we are officially over.


Unfortunately, my feelings won’t change the facts. The virus is still here (unless you are reading this in a COVID-free future), which means I have to figure out a way to deal with it. You do too. Without a plan, the devil will devour us. The tsunami of negativity is claiming new victims every day, stripping Christians of their spiritual fruit. Without a strategy, we will be left with only bare branches too.


That’s why I wrote this devotional plan. In times like these, our faith is essential. So in the days to come, I want to help you remember some essential truths so you can spiritually survive this second wave.


Here’s the first essential—Jesus.


(I know. I know. Big shocker, right?)


But the writer to the Hebrews knows the power of fixing our eyes on Jesus: “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:1-3). Notice a few things from these famous words:



  1. This is your God-given “race.” The God who created you “marked out” your place in human history. He decided the date of your birth and, thus, chose your lane to run through a global pandemic. Isn’t that a fresh thought? Before we complain about the latest mandate or a cancelled sports season, we remember that this is no accident. We are here for a reason. God has raised his holy people up for such a time as this.

  2. Jesus is our focus. When driving, we tend to drift toward the place where we put our eyes. So fixing your eyes on Jesus draws your ears close enough to hear his promises. Remember how Jesus ran his race for your salvation. Recall how Jesus persevered even when waves of opposition crashed into him on all sides. Recollect his stubborn love that led him to march his way to the cross and not stop until forgiveness was yours.

  3. Jesus is running the show. He “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,” in a position of power and authority over viruses, air particles, and global economies. What frustrates you is totally under Jesus’ control. What you fear is totally under Jesus’ control. What you will read in the headlines tomorrow is totally under Jesus’ control. And, if Jesus is your Savior and Lord, then his total control is good news.


The result of fixing your eyes on Jesus? “You will not grow weary and lose heart.”


During this crazy time in history, I’m tempted to grow weary. When our pastors and leaders and school districts are trying to manage this mess, you might be tempted to lose heart. Therefore, whenever your heart starts to freak out, run back to this essential—fix your eyes on Jesus


Set your sights on the drama of this world, and it will drown you. Fix your eyes on the love of your Savior, and it will save you.


Choose wisely, child of God. Your joy depends on it.