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April 8, 2020 6:00 am
Where is God in this coronavirus tragedy is happening all around us. How does a loving God let this happen. Or better still, how do we respond where's our hope that's today Living on the Edge. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge. I'm Jerry McCauley and I'm responsible for product development and communications here. Living on the Edge and were interrupting our regular broadcast today because we are living in unprecedented times were finding ourselves in the middle of this pandemic with bleak news with tragedy in the headlines with uncertainty and fear bubbling up all around us really and every circle of society and we've been getting a lot of questions were so thankful for all of you that listens so faithfully we been getting a lot of questions. It's clear that many of you may be all of you are struggling.
One way or another.
So Chip, I'm just wondering how are you doing at all this, how are you processing through this yourself. Well first I agreed. I'm so grateful for people that have emailed in text and written letters and are praying for us in a concerned about us with. We tried to reach out to people to help them and they been. It seems more concerned about us. So at the personal level unit treats Nayar well and healthy despite being at the rural core of what's happening in California with that the outbreak in the virus and I really have like everyone else, I would be the last to say that I have any kind of authoritative. This is exactly what God's up to it's it's clear from Scripture that you know God is in control of what's happening. He is a good and sovereign God.
After that, I see there's health issues and economic issues, and now were facing a mean death. People are losing loved ones and just uncertainties so I just tried to come back to what do I know for sure about who God is, about how he operates and then asking him to help me hold on to what is true and then to respond in ways that would be loving and helpful to other people will Chip I agree it's really clear that in light of where we are. Those concerns are at the forefront of concerns about our healthy economy facing death. In all these levels of uncertainty. What are you personally doing what are you doing as you approach these physical concerns. As you watch the news and you hear Dr. factories projections of the potential death toll well I'm I'm I'm literally doing whatever. What else is doing in terms of I don't know that I've ever taken things as seriously as I am right now and I and I think there's a calling to do that.
I mean, by God's grace. I happen to have a pretty good mask have a box of those gloves when I'm I'm doing grocery shopping right now my wife has not left our house were were both in that window of place of the people who who get this that the probability of it going very bad we are one of those washing my hands a lot.
I'm really working at not touching my face which is a bad habit that I have and and and I am I'm doing the physical distance and yet I'm really trying to say's socially connected lot of face time with with friends and coworkers and zoom calls and grandkids. And I'm not physically watching the news at every moment of every development. I live been pulled into that, like others, and it can get so discouraging and so depressing, you know, because the physical lead you right to the emotional chip. You mentioned that you're watching the news, but you're watching it less.
Can you tell me more about kind of the frequency or the rhythm and how your monitoring or how your governing what you're allowing in your mind. I guess let me confess first that what I know is best and what I do is not always the same and so what I'd say with people is before you go to bed make sure you spend some time in God's word. Turn off that TV don't let that thing be running all day. Yet you wanted plug into a briefing or read an article or two and then a lie. I literally because of that I turned off my phone. I mean, at about 6 o'clock and it was just like I can't take anymore. I have I have to put some good things in my heart and in my soul or I won't be any good to anyone and no matter how much I know it really doesn't change what happens to me knowing more about everything really doesn't have me anymore control it does feed my fear. However, when you talk about Nina reading God's word before bed. You have a specific passage or some specific promises he would point us to yeah I really do is one is Psalm 23. It is is a classic passage, a Psalm 37 is a is a very classic passage.
We aren't the first people to go through these things and then in terms of New Testament in terms of how we need to respond in and leverage this James chapter 1 verses 2 to 4 Romans chapter 5 verses one through five and then second Corinthians chapter I think it's chapter 4. Second, forgive me. Chapter 1 where he talks about the God of all comfort. Helping us so that we can help others. Those are passages that I wanted to keep in front of me, so that God could do something in me as well as then through me. That's great. And how do you how do you process this in light of here we are at the end of holy week. You know it's Good Friday and Easter's coming in and all of that.
What is it look like for you in light of in light of this time of this may sound super old school but I don't know of anyone in Scripture that went through more difficulty and needed to find hope for a prolonged period of time.
David was running for his life and was attacked from Saul from partners from his own people and and I think this passage that so often gets relegated to all this is what you read. I mean I wasn't a Christian and I knew Psalm 23 just by going to funerals and he says the Lord, Yahweh, the God Almighty is my personal Shepherd and shepherds protect you. They provide for you and they never leave you and he says I is a declaration us in the future tense eyes shall lack nothing, and then physically he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters. And that leads to. He restores my soul. One of the things I'm processing is not allowing my soul to get divided or my soul to get covered in fear and and to know that I don't know the future, but he guides me in paths of righteousness for his namesake, and I don't know that I've awakened in the morning for the last few weeks without walking literally through Psalm 23 physically and then there's emotionally you know. He says I will not I shall not fear. That's a choice because why even in the midst of the darkest valleys difficult circumstances. He's with me and it's it's an Old Testament picture the rod in the staff or a picture of one is of protection against your enemies and others to help us to get out of a jam, you know that long staff he would pool those sheep out of crevices when they fell down into them and then to know that spiritually, you know, even in the presence of my enemies. Jerry, the presence of things I don't understand in the presence that God's presence. I can have joy and I can have peace in the midst of that in his goodness and mercy.
His kindness is pursuing me, and I think the ultimate hope especially you ask me about holy week is I will dwell in the house, the Lord forever. Sometimes you have to push your processing out worst-case scenario and I've been there before. You know with cancer in our family and some other situations to just face the worst that can happen is death and for those of us that know Christ to know that this world isn't all there is and I don't mean that like spiritual platitudes. People are living with the reality. What happens if I die what happens if I get this and Friday Saturday of this week will remind us that our sins are paid for and Sunday reminds us that there's hope.
Jesus rose from the dead, and a defeated sin and defeated Satan and defeated death. I love how practical that passages you know and it is one that so many of us know in the picture of us like sheep who need a Shepherd and then the, the power of this weekend right Jesus payment for our sins. And I think Terry people get lost in that for years and years and years you know or you have an Easter egg for the kids in, and it's a celebration time and yes it's resurrection, and I think somehow we get intellectual assent to all of that that happened at a time in history where brutality, cruelty, injustice, the average lifespan was about 35 or 40 years old. The infant mortality rate was off the charts in infanticide was just commonplace.
Women were treated as subhuman beings all those things because God is holy. It makes him mad and angry but instead of pouring out his anger and his judgment on the world. He ported out on Jesus on that Friday.
That's why he cried out my God my God why have you forsaken me, and in that moment he took our sin and then he declared victory and and I think like never before. There is hope and there's hope that this life isn't all there is hope is such a beautiful antidote to fear right and as were facing all these uncertainties on a perfect week for us to be reminded that Jesus death creates victory for us over fear victory for us over death. Jerry I know you still have the three children at home and you're sheltered like the rest of the world.
What are you doing and how are you processing this kind around the table as things are just really difficult. It is really hard and you know we've been focusing in on the mealtime conversations that you may just put together and they been so helpful.
You know the other night we went through one of them and there's those three parts to it will be getting it past the first one because he went around the room and we all shared something kind about each other and then everybody wanted to go again. I wanted to go again. We ended up all in puddles of tears just rejoicing in how much we love each other and how this moment of time, has created a space for us to be more presence, more aware of what we need or what each other, needs, and it was a really beautiful moment and then we worked on memorizing Isaiah 4110 which I just think it's it's the power over fear to know that God is bigger that God wins and so that's one thing, then you know it's interesting this year we've had this family tradition where these have all girls and every year it's a big deal when we go and pick out their Easter dresses and you know that is not a thing this year and I do think there so many shifts for all of us right. How do we how do we adjust how do we shift our focus. But here's what I think is so powerful this year. Yesterday caught my 18-year-old writing out Philippians 2, three and four in her own words and I thought wow she she listened a little live with Chip.
She's watching the videos and she's learning something about humility and servant hood and faith in a really dark time and so I do think that this shift away from Easter baskets and Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts and Easter dresses and Sunday best might just give us the focus that we need in this time to really look at the hope of Jesus, the hope of God and his faithfulness and his love for us. So I think that's an interesting may be redeeming at this time for a family you know there's been there's been some times where tree so I have just even this morning we just paused and you know sometimes people think because you teach God's word that you sorta have like this spiritual Teflon then and I bet Chip and Tracy just get up every day. You know I was go conquer the world and you know and we miss our kids in it. We think about the implications and people that we love and you know this morning I knew I was going to be talking to the Living on the Edge family and and people are asking you know there's some really hard questions like where is God in you. We started the program by saying hey, where is he, and I'm I'm thinking some people are wondering are you are you guys can address that and and yes we are but I walked in this morning. I said would would you would you pray with me honey and she is will he, of course, what about I said well you know there's there's an a million people or so that are really wrestling and struggling, and I'm a very ordinary person and you know, by God's grace and I studied the Scriptures a long time and they they look to us for clarity and in spiritual direction and honey that's a huge responsibility and I think the Bible is very very clear about some things right there some things I know for sure that I wrote them down this morning but how presumptuous for anyone to say this is what God's up to me, his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts and you know yes he had a very unique relationship with Israel and we and we can get some principles from the Old Testament and we see Jesus making some very clear declarations about unit of the birth pangs as the world comes to a culmination and there's certainly things to learn from that. But just praying together and feeling overwhelmingly an adequate other than to say I'm going I'm to anchor my soul on the things that I know for sure are true and I'm going to choose to act and believe and respond both to God and to other people. Based on that because there's a lot of stuff out there. You know there's sort of an agenda and a narrative that the left has an there's a narrative of the right and and there's a lot of Christian narratives out there is as well that I think a lot of people just flat out confused and we want to be a help, but we would do it with the humility. I think to say, here's some things we know the Bible says for sure and there's a lot that we don't know and what are those anchors that you hold onto usage are anchored in the truth of God. Can you give us a few of those you know what II actually if you if you can imagine just little bullet point number one was God has authority over all the nations. He in fact judges the nations he rises up kings and he puts them down and that's from Daniel chapter 2, where God literally threw Nebuchadnezzar says you know this is what I do. I know for sure number two that God is slow to anger that he's long-suffering. I know number three that is a just God and that he allows distress at times to awaken people so that they get their attention and I know that the message during times like this is to repent and that that word is to have a change of mind about yourself and God and am I okay yeah and is your life what it ought to be an and Jesus said you like why should repent or you too will perish and and so I know there's this message but I it's not the message. I know for sure it's not the message Jerry of an angry God who's pouring out his wrath and is mad at people, the biblical picture of God, and I always go back to if someone snatched your two-year-old and started abusing them.
If you didn't get really mad. There's some deeply wrong with you and when there's actions that just hurts and kill and marginalize people God who is perfect and just.
It makes him angry and and yet he's loving and he is holy and so what that means today is that we have a father that is in this times it's much more like seeing people that say God we don't need you God we don't need you. You know, we don't want. We don't want to follow what you say about morality would want to follow what you say about money or relationships or anything and it's like the parent who is gonna paid for his son or daughter in rehab six or seven or eight times their heart is bleeding and then at some point part of God's judgment in massive times like this.
Is he allows the consequences to to occur in such a way that we would if you know anything about the 12 steps are people and addictions people never change until they hit bottom and I think there's times where that happens in a massive way and and it it's it's not out of a parent's heart that is angry or mad or get with the program. It's out of this continued behavior and what I know. Historically, Jerry is that it's the same old stuff. Its power. It's greed.
It's idolatry. It's marginalizing children and women in the less fortunate.
It's systemic things that push people down its corruption it it's idols, it's materialism it's it's things that that make the world. Not a good place that we would all agree, and yet in our blindness we all have some of those things going on and I think part of God. The message of our heavenly father.
It's the it's the Luke 15 father who saying to the sun. Hey just come back.
He says he delights to show mercy. He wants to forgive, and the final thing I know about times like this is that it always begins with his people with the household of faith and so are posture is not, you know, why don't people stop doing evil things out there are posture is search my heart, O God, what please show me arrogance or pride or immorality or greed or materialism.
Lord, do whatever you need to do first and maybe and then second, help me to model your kindness and your love. Help me to let people know that it breaks your heart and you care. It is so amazing to me Jerry how Jesus loved the very people that seem to be most hostile. Many seem to be the hardest on those who thought they didn't really have a problem and were hypocritical and religious, and so that's that's my struggle.
That's what I'm processing and I'm trying to say Lord first and foremost, what's that look like for me and Teresa in our neighborhood. Where were at an and then with what he wants to do with Living on the Edge.
How do you feel about in light of Easter you talked about Friday giving us the picture that the judgment, the judgment were not will never be the same upon us right was was taken by Jesus. As we as we walk through this week and we approach Easter Sunday. What kind of hope and what kind of glory and what kind of future to be looked for in the story of Jesus's death and his resurrection. You know I don't.
This is Chip so those listening, I wouldn't take this says anything from on high, but it struck me because I try to go to the historical context and think of those disciples. First, it strikes me that when God is doing his greatest work the disciples feel like it couldn't get worse than this. He's hanging on the cross and I think we need to remember we don't really know what's going on behind the scenes.
Second is that there's there's a season of time. Where is much as I want to know what's going on and give me the results and what are you up to. I bet from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning was a very long time and they and they were to wait and and and I think right now for some of us we demand God show me and I think right now it's trust weight be still ceased driving.
Trust me, do good to all men, and then I think there's this first on Sunday morning. That reminds us there is hope.
The coronavirus may kill me and I will be ushered in the presence of God. The coronavirus may kill people that I love very very very much. And as as followers and fellow believers as devastating. It can't put in and there is hope. I think what it does is it pulls me out of this right now on the the lie, Jerry of the world that you know if I'm a nice person or a good person and if God is loving everything should be smooth and I think about the early disciples in all were martyred, but one it didn't go very smoothly and they were in the center of God's will. There's hope, there's hope of her dad. There's hope over the power of sin and there is a God who is with us.
I mean, the disciples so struggled and on the last night it's I'm with you I'm with you I'm with you I'm going away to prepare a place and so I think we need to really focus on the reality that the worst absolutely is death, but it no longer has power over how we live in circumstances do not have power to determine our emotions.
Chip, as we wrap things up today.
Do you have a final word for us and and could you pray for us as we as we wrap this up today, I would be glad to Jerry henpecked.
My heart goes out to our Living on the Edge family in terms of a final word. I would say are next to broadcast. It's called hope for the hopeless of all the most painful difficulties I've ever experienced.
What do you do when life literally is falling apart are next to broadcast. We will get Jesus perspective on that hot once he do the people that he deeply loves that are going through her horrendous things, even death. And so I'd encourage people to listen and now father I would ask you and your great mercy to give us a high, clear, holy picture of who you are and that we could grasp your compassion that what is happening breaks your heart, Lord, would you speak to us about anything and everything that you would want to address in us first and foremost and then would you give us faith encourage to love people around us like never before.
Would we be the salt and the light of the earth with amazing compassion and tenderness. In Jesus name.
Thank you, Chip and think you Living on the Edge family for joining us for this special broadcast. Today our heart is for you and we want to just encourage you to go to our website LivingontheEdge.org in the middle of these uncertain times we developed some resources that are absolutely free to you that we really believe can help you find and grasp hold onto the hope of Jesus.
This Mr. Mitchell take us up on that.
Thank you again for joining us today