If the coronavirus pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that God’s ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Sometimes it takes strange seasons to teach me biblical truths. This year has undoubtedly been a strange one. Who could have fathomed all the changes and craziness we’ve experienced since March? Yet, through it all, God has remained the sovereign ruler of the universe.
Though this year has caught us off guard, it was no surprise to God.
Despite my knowledge of His sovereignty and trust in His plans, I found myself asking God some slightly accusatory questions. Chief among them were: “what are you doing and where have you been?” It has felt like He’s been absent.
Like so many other people, I entered 2020 with several goals. I even had plans in place to achieve those goals. Let’s just say, things have not turned out the way I thought they would. On top of that, my striving to keep the wheels turning distracted me and caused me to fall asleep to the things of God. After fumbling about for months, I’m beginning to realize that I’ve been the absent one, not God.
I have not trusted God as much as I should have. I falsely believed things would blow over quickly and life would be back to normal by now. I also failed to discern God’s purposes because I was too busy watching my own plans crumble.
I still don’t know what God is doing, but I’m certain He’s at work.
As far as my absence goes, I’m thankful I’m not the only disciple to fall asleep during trying times. When Jesus was betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane, his first disciples were found sleeping. Not just once, but several times. The Lord commanded his closest friends to “pray” and “keep watch,” yet, they couldn’t resist their temptation to sleep (Matthew 26:36-46).
We can drift from Jesus because of drowsiness. Many of us have closed our eyes to eternity because the cares of this life have worn us out. Our shattered expectations have left us weary.
To make matters worse, our flesh tempts us with sin and the devil seeks to destroy our devotion to Jesus by lying to us about our role in the kingdom of God.
Now is not the time to fall asleep. We need to keep watch.
Watch and Pray
God is at work in our midst. There is never a moment when He is not fighting for His beloved, redeeming His creation, or drawing people to Himself. Whether we find ourselves in a pandemic or a season of plenty, God is at work.
Therefore, like soldiers preparing for battle, we must diligently train and develop spiritual stamina so we can properly respond to our Lord Jesus and keep the lanterns of our faith burning, especially during difficult seasons. Our watchfulness will keep us in tune to what God is doing today and prepare us for what God has promised to do tomorrow.
We should take great care in discerning how God is working in any particular moment. If we are to be faithful servants, we desperately need to hear from our Master.
After Jesus found His disciples sleeping, He warned them, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Take a moment to reflect on that last verse. We must watch and pray. These practices are vital if we hope to stay in tune to God’s heart and God’s ways. The quickest way to fall into temptation or, as it were, fall asleep, is to cease watching and praying.
I get sad by how much time I have invested in securing my comfort this side of heaven. When I lose sight of eternity, I lose the ability to make decisions that impact the kingdom.
I know this for sure, Jesus will return in power and glory. He’s coming to issue in a new age. The current things will pass away and the desires of this life will vanish. It’s foolish of me to do anything without these truths in mind.
Regarding His second coming, Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).
I’m currently in a restful season where my daily goal is to get alone with Jesus. I want my eyes to be watching and my lips to be praying. I believe a posture of watchfulness is needed for every Christian alive today. I pray that as a collective body of believers, we would slow down enough to watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation.
The Lord will return soon. Are we ready?
Jesus himself said, “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes” (Luke 12:37).