The trees have budded and the Texas bluebonnets are beautiful.
Sometimes I look out my window and forget about the fact that I’m stuck behind it.
I love this time of year, usually.
I wish we had never heard of COVID-19, and I wish it could have come to Texas in January rather than March and April.
I’ve always tried to view the happenings in the world from the perspective of the One who created it. And, I think one of the best ways to find God at work is to study his timing.
Why is America dealing with COVID-19 during the Lenten season?
How will our Easter season be transformed this year because of a virus?
February 26 was Ash Wednesday, a day of repentance and preparation for the Lenten season. If we had known the Lord would ask us to give up all that we have been forced to give up during this Lenten season, would we have prayed with greater resolve?
We should be asking God, “Why now?”
If we had realized our Ash Wednesday commitment this year would include these difficulties, worries, fears, and inconveniences, would these days seem more like a sacrifice to God than a nuisance to us?
We didn’t know, but God did.
Maybe it’s a good time to revisit our Lenten commitments and remember the verse that says, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
This Lenten season is not a normal one. We should ask God why.
Could it be the sacrifice we are called to make this year is a sacrifice of praise?
Most of us have a great deal to praise God for during these days.
While the rest of the world speaks words of fear, we can speak words of hope and peace.
While the rest of the world speaks words of blame, anger, frustration, and opinion, we can all “offer up a sacrifice of praise to God” which is “the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
Did you decide to “give up” something on February 26?
Was it what God asked you to give up or what you decided to give?
Our answers will come by asking God, “Why this?”
For a nation that has been abundantly blessed, these seem like difficult days.
Granted, they are absolutely more difficult for some than others. At the time of this writing, none in my family are sick, hungry, or suffering, so I don’t have that level of worry. This blog post is written for the circumstances most of us are living with.
Are you becoming news-weary? Family-weary? Work-weary?
One of my favorite Facebook posts contained the words: “And just like that, prayer and spanking are back in schools #Homeschool 2020.” As a former school teacher, I had to laugh. I agree with the person who said, “Teachers should be asking for a raise right now.”
Apparently, we shouldn’t plan on hearing a lot of good news for the next several weeks. But there is good news that people should be hearing, especially from us.
The word gospel literally means “good news,” and Christians don’t have to wonder how to define our “sacrifice of praise” during this Lenten season. Scripture defines the “fruit of our lips” this way: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
Our news isn’t just for a season, it’s eternal.
When we have the opportunity to share the gospel, let’s say, “Why not?”
Romans 12:1–2 are favorite verses for most of us. Read them today with a corona perspective.
Those cherished verses say, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
If you look at those verses from the perspective of our current times, what is God asking of you for this Lenten season?
If you had known on Ash Wednesday what you know today, how would you have prayed?
You can pray that prayer now.
You will know on Easter Sunday what you can’t know today.
What can you be completely certain of now? You can share those certainties now.
A sacrificial life, nonconformed to this world, will be spiritually blessed.
You can be transformed by a mind that has been renewed. And you can know the good, perfect, and acceptable will of God.
That is why we present ourselves to God as living sacrifices.
Ask God Why
We can ask God why, but we will never fully understand. We see through dim glass and we will have to wait for our eternal lives to gain full knowledge of God.
In the meantime, we know enough because we have what we need to know.
Let’s pray the ancient words that have strengthened God’s people for countless generations: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33–36).
Those sacrificial words of praise can be ours.
Maybe that is the most important answer for our whys.