April 5, 2020

A Global Reset

In the modern digital age, we have become accustomed to rebooting or resetting systems as a standard solution for many of the software glitches we encounter. Usually our devices run multiple programs simultaneously, and corruption in one of them can have ramifications that result in a total system failure. Once the problem has spread that far, a reset becomes necessary.

Some events in world history could be viewed as a “global reset”—a time when society as it was known came to a stop and then restarted. The first such event, as recorded in God’s Word, was the Flood described in Genesis 6-7, when all life on earth was destroyed except the few who escaped with Noah in the ark. Other global resets we could point to include the Black Death, the two World Wars in the twentieth century, and more recently, the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The worldwide pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could certainly be considered a global reset. A virus that cannot be seen with the naked eye has brought the entire world to a stop. As nations withdraw unto themselves, closing borders, transportation, businesses, and public and even private gatherings, the effects have reached all “systems”—financial, political, social, emotional, mental, and even spiritual. This is one of the most far-reaching global resets the world has experienced, a rebooting of nearly all facets of life.

We can say on the authority of God’s Word that God is in control of every detail of this situation—from the global level down to the individual level—and He has only good intentions for humanity.

While each global reset impacts the world differently, one commonality is that they cause society to enter into a new norm of behaviors. The world is forever changed by these types of events; life will never again be as it was before. There is inherent stress that comes with this. People wonder what the “new normal” will be, and whether it will be worse, or perhaps much worse, than what they had previously known. Accordingly, individuals cope with the uncertainty in different ways, but believers are in the best possible position because we can say on the authority of God’s Word that God is in control of every detail of this situation—from the global level down to the individual level—and He has only good intentions for humanity. Those who will seek Him at this time truly have nothing to fear.

In this period of widespread uncertainty and anxiety, let us take a moment to consider what God would have us to do, and what good He can accomplish through our current global reset.

What Christians can do

Pray. In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 God promised, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” In view of the current worldwide pandemic, we now qualify specifically for this promise, and we know that if we do our part in humbling ourselves, praying, and seeking God’s face, He will fulfill His part of forgiving and healing. Even more than the healing of the COVID-19 pestilence, we want to see the forgiveness of the sins of our people. Let us pray that these times of uncertainty will inspire many to turn to God in repentance and receive salvation!

Fast. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and the most powerful spiritual recourse we have is prayer coupled with fasting. It worked for the people of Nineveh when the judgment of God was impending (see Jonah 3). It worked for the Children of Israel when Haman had convinced King Ahasuerus to annihilate the Jews. It worked throughout Scripture whenever the hand of God was the only hope for salvation, and it still works today. For those who are not able to fast from food, something else could be given up instead, with the simple aim of devoting more of ourselves to prayer. If ever our world had a need for believers to unite in fasting and prayer, this is one of those times.

Trust and obey God. The thought of an invisible virus bringing the whole world to its knees reminds me of the words in 1 Corinthians 1:27-28, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” Although the context of these verses was to convey the simplicity yet greatness of the Gospel, they point to the mindset of the unbelieving world who are wise in their own eyes.

Consider Noah at that first global reset, and how God revealed to him that the means of deliverance would be a massive ark—a structure that had never before been seen or even imagined, and in a location where there was not even a body of water to support it! No doubt he faced stinging ridicule from people who considered God’s ways to be foolish, but Noah chose to trust God and to obey.

Perhaps this pandemic is our opportunity to demonstrate Noah-like faith and obedience, and to see God’s mighty deliverance!

Sadly, humanity is still learning that the foolishness of God is wiser than they are, and that His weakness is stronger than they are (1 Corinthians 1:25). There will be some who say prayer and fasting accomplishes nothing. Many people seem to think that hoarding food and supplies is the way to have peace of mind, without making an effort to stay close to the Savior. Perhaps this pandemic is our opportunity to demonstrate Noah-like faith and obedience, and to see God’s mighty deliverance! We cannot know how God might work as we look to Him, but we know it can only be good.

Potential positive outcomes

Our greatest hope is to see souls saved through this crisis, and we pray that will happen for many. In addition, there can be a variety of other positive results, on a personal level and even a global level, if we respond to it well. Here are just a few to consider.

Better character. We read in James 1:3-5, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” The difficulties of life that try our faith are the very way that God perfects us. Therefore, this reset can be our pathway to spiritual maturity, building such character values as patience, cooperation with others, and self-control.

Most people have been restricted from gathering in churches for worship, and some are also unable to work at this time. No doubt many had taken for granted the ability to worship in God’s house, but no one is taking it for granted now. Those who are still employed will not be as likely to complain about their jobs going forward. May the losses that we have suffered develop gratefulness more than ever before.

Better personal habits. All that we have has been given to us from God, and we are to be good stewards of what He has given. This includes our bodies, time, resources—everything. Attention to cleanliness, proper nutrition, physical activity, and rest all have a huge impact on our health, and it is our responsibility to do our best to maintain good personal habits in these areas. God’s Word advises moderation in all things (see Philippians 4:5), but the responsibilities and cares of life can subtly draw us away from behaviors we know are good for us. The pandemic has caused many of our daily schedules to slow dramatically, if not come to a full stop. This is an opportunity to assess personal habits and make adjustments as necessary. When schedules eventually resume, we can be refocused and living better than we did before.

This is a chance to develop a more vibrant prayer life and draw ever closer to Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, and Friend.

Perhaps most of all, this is a time to consider our personal habit of prayer. We may have felt we did not have time to pray before, but for the majority of the world, that excuse has been taken away. This is a chance to develop a more vibrant prayer life and draw ever closer to Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, and Friend.

Better communities. Traumatic events have a unique ability to bond people together, reminding us of our common humanity and inspiring us to support each other. This is beautiful. For many, these sentiments will fade after the time of crisis passes, but we can ask God to let this be a lasting lesson in our lives. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). May it be said of us that we are our brother’s keepers.

Better leaders. Leaders are accountable not only to their constituents but also to God, the One who grants promotion. Some leaders may not feel they need God’s help in their roles, but a calamity like this can quickly change their minds! The stability of a nation rests on the twin pillars of prayer and godly leadership. That is why we are instructed that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We pray our leaders will learn from this experience, and most of all that they will learn to humble themselves and look to God at all times.

God is in control

It must not be lost for a moment that God always has been, continues to be, and forever shall be in complete control of world events. He holds the solution to the pandemic in His hands, and He will use this global reset to accomplish His purposes. Scripture tells us, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), and truly we have no reason to fear when God is with us. Though we will suffer losses during this time of testing, there is also much we can gain as we keep our trust and hope anchored in God. May He give us wisdom and strength to grow in relationship with Him, and bring glory to His name.

apostolic faith magazine