Abundance and Angst
This pandemic has taken much from us. Lives and livelihoods have been lost. We can't overstate the global and local impact. It is right to grieve with those who are grieving. It is also right to be reminded of how good God is even in the midst of such adversity. Jesus told us he came to give us life. He actually used the word abundant to describe the type of life he wants for his followers. How do we live abundantly when we are surrounded by such angst? The answer to that question matters now more than ever.
Throughout history suffering has been a very real part of Christianity. We've faced persecution since the first church of Jerusalem. Today in countries throughout the world Christianity is still outlawed. Yet in those very countries an underground church is growing quicker than the evangelic church at large in America, which many (wrongly) believe to be a "Christian" nation. Why is that trials and tribulation often spur on a sense of revival among Christ followers?
Nero intended to put an end to Christianity through the torture and execution of Christians. The opposite happened as Christ followers dispersed which would cause the gospel spread throughout the known world. China is predicted to have more Christians than anywhere else in the world by 2030, despite government sanctioned imprisonment for faith leaders outside of the "state church". Over the last decade attacks and violence against the church has intensified in India, making it one of the top 10 most dangerous countries to be a Christian. However, the church has more than doubled throughout the entire country.
Christians facing persecution have made the choice to thrive instead of survive. While we are facing a global crisis, we have to make that choice as well.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
The way we suffer matters. Our response to difficulty should demonstrate the goodness of God. A sense of abundance should accompany our angst because of "Christ who gives me strength," not because of Christ who grants my wishes. People in your life should become curious about Jesus as they see his sustaining power demonstrated through your difficulties.
May we learn through this COVID19 crisis that our abundance is not found in our economy, resources, or circumstances. Abundance, peace, and purpose are found only in Jesus Christ.