Whispers of Faith in Exile
I remember a police officer once telling me about a strategy that he used to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations on the job. While others are involved in an altercation, which inherently means loud, he would enter into the conflict and purposely speak in a markedly lower register. It would take a minute or two, but invariably those in conflict would have to lower their voices and even stop speaking in order to hear what the officer was saying as he spoke in a whisper. If we have ears to hear it, a similar thing is happening now in the midst of the clamor surrounding COVID-19. Indeed, while a seemingly infinite number of news reports, infection and death toll updates, and complaints on social media about people having to spend their days at home with their family members are quickly becoming white noise to which many are becoming immune, another change is also quietly becoming apparent among the people of God as we face days of uncertainty.
In increasing expressions of thankfulness to the Lord, the people of God, whom we define as those who have repented of their sin and placed saving faith in Jesus Christ, are recognizing the manifold blessings of God that we may have taken for granted. Firstly, there are whispers about the restoration of the centrality of the family in all that God has created in human society. Family mealtime, family devotional time, family game time, family prayer time, times with family, family, family, are being recovered and recognized for what they are: precious gifts from God that we have perhaps squandered or failed to appreciate for too long.
Secondly, there are whispers about the power and authority and ministry of the Word of God to the people of God. There seems to be a growing recovery of the infallibility, inerrancy, and immutability of Scripture that is encouraging, convicting, and strengthening the body of Christ. Truly, this oft-neglected book of all books is being discovered anew by believers who have mercifully had the necessary distractions of life removed, at least for a season. In sum, the Word of God is becoming precious again to the people of God.
Thirdly, there are whispers about the eternal sovereignty of God. While the world cries out for answers, the followers of Jesus Christ are expressing the deep and abiding rest that we have in knowing that the Lord our God is sovereign over all the affairs of human beings. It is not in ignorance that we may rest soundly as the coronavirus continues to spread around the world. Rather, our gentle rest is the result of hearts that find great solace in the truth that the Lord our God, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, sovereignly ordains all that comes to pass in human history, including these days of global pandemic. His perfect will continues to unfold for the blessing and benefit of the saints.
Finally, there are whispers about the love and appreciation of covenant partners for one another. While many husbands and wives may have lost each other in the hectic pace of life before the pandemic, now in the wake of required isolation, after the shock of seeing each other much more than they were used to, husbands and wives are now growing in genuine appreciation for each other, love and thankfulness for one another, and the desire to serve and bless their spouses. There is a realization and a restoration of the importance of covenant marriage among the followers of Christ.
In the final measure of this global pandemic, once the plan of God in this circumstance has unfolded, I pray that the ministry of the Spirit of God to us in this time will not be lost with the return of the old normal. If we are able to remember and hold as precious all that the Lord has taught us in these days, I dare say that we will find that His Spirit has been teaching us the entire time if only we have ears to hear His divine whisper as we live out our faith in exile.
by Garrett Starr
Pastor, Faith Baptist Church, Kaiserslautern, Germany