So, when did this become real to you? When the NBA ended the regular season? Was it the delay in opening day for major league baseball? The closing of Disney World? For me, it was when March Madness was called off. I knew then that we were in uncharted territory.
As we endured school closings, the cancellation of sporting events, celebrations being rescheduled, and even churches closing, we gradually came to the realization of what an unprecedented occurrence this is in our lifetime. We have also been humbled by the awareness that our perceived independence and control over the events of our lives have disappeared like a puff of smoke, all in the scope of just a few days. Vacations, travel plans, going to the movie theater, and even worship series all suddenly vanished with no real input from us.
Do you remember, when we were kids, hearing the old folks say, "Lord willing," or "if the Lord wills." We likely didn't realize that they were quoting the apostle James from the New Testament. James wrote, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.' Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that'" (James 4:13-15).
Just last week, there were things we thought nothing would keep us from doing. Now, all of a sudden, we won't be doing them. The old folks knew what they were talking about when they said, "If the Lord is willing."
Christian recording artist Kirk Franklin sings it this way: "No matter what you're going through, I know that you can stand, for your life is in His hands." The coronavirus may be dominating the news today, but as with all bad things, eventually it will subside and go away. When it does, God will still be sitting on the throne of heaven, and God's plans and purposes -- for the Christian movement on earth, for Imagine Church, for your life, and for mine -- will still be accomplished. We believe that's what the Lord is willing.