Jesus' Word that Sustains the Weary (Isaiah 50:4)
Today's Devotion from Pastor Merrill Thursday, March 19, 2020
"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:26
Monday afternoon the word came that President Trump in a speech had recommended that Americans stay away from crowds having more than 10 people. "Great," I thought, "this is going to make it real difficult to do anything here at church." Sure enough, word came Tuesday morning from the Iowa Governor's office. A declaration of a Public Health Disaster Emergency. All gatherings of more than 10 people, including religious gatherings, were prohibited, at least through March 31.
So began a new detour on this strange journey you and I are on, and at this point we are unsure when it is going to end. This unfamiliar virus that so far has effected only a handful of Iowans has sure caused a lot of disruption in our lives.
Monday afternoon as I was discouraged from the rapidly changing social landscape, I looked out he glass doors of the church lobby and saw a robin hopping around, looking for worms, or maybe just out for a stroll. I thought, "That robin has no concern about coronavirus exposure or 'social distancing.' He's just going about his day-to-day life."
Then these words of Jesus came to mind. "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Later on in Jesus' sermon He says, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear? For... your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:31-33)
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly caused a lot of anxiety, even to the point of people buying and hoarding supplies and creating temporary shortages for those who may need them. Brothers and sisters in Christ, there is no need for us to panic. Listen to what Jesus says, "You are worth more than birds!" The birds are living in this coronavirus world and they are fine. Don't you think your heavenly Father will take care of you?
Certainly we need to stay safe, take precautions like washing our hands and even avoiding close contact if it will help stop the spread of this virus. But above all we need to remember our heavenly Father and His love for us in Jesus Christ His Son. He tells us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness--the righteousness God offers through the forgiveness of sins Jesus earned for us on the cross--and all these things will be ours as well. Food, clothing, health, community--God will provide. He does it for the birds. He'll do it for you. Next time you see a robin, remember, God will take care of you!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your words and Your love are our comfort in trying times. Thank You for reminding us that You died to make us Your own, and that we can trust in our heavenly Father's care. Amen.