By Randy C. Davis
TBMB President & Executive Director
One of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board ‘s very best servant-leaders has some hearing loss in one ear. If he and I are conversing, he will position himself so he can hear me with his good ear. You might say he “inclines his ear to hear.”
In John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” I sense that the God of this universe is speaking to the inhabitants of Planet Earth through the current COVID-19 pandemic. What is He saying to you? Are you listening? Have you positioned yourself so you can hear God with your good ear?
I recently tweeted that very question. Here are some of the responses people gave about what the Lord is teaching them as they listen to Him.
“The Word is so important for your spiritual journey.”
“Learning to ‘be still and know!’”
“Freedom in Christ.”
“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”
“He can allow everything to change in the blink of an eye.”
“It doesn’t matter what your state is, He still is in control.”
“I have a lot more to be thankful for than I have to complain about.”
“Why did I waste so much time on things that really do not matter?”
“Life is fragile.”
“When people are vulnerable, they turn to God for answers.”
It appears the Lord has positioned us to hear from Him, and we need to position ourselves to listen. Personally, my mind is blown, and my heart is full, at what the Lord seems to be clearly speaking into my own life. Here’s what He’s teaching me.
(1) Jesus is Lord. That is a point of great comfort. I remember I was around 16 years old when I came to a fresh understanding of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He really is the God of the universe. He has the right to do all things and everything He does is right.
Through this pandemic, He has quashed the gods of sports at all levels, education as the cure for man’s ills, the stock market and our worship of wealth, and even religion where churches have relied more on slick marketing rather than the Holy Spirit.
Above all things, Jesus firmly asserts, “I am Lord.”
(2) Things cannot return to “normal” — not in my personal life and not in how I serve Jesus. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this hungry to see Jesus work in my life. Like Isaiah, I want to hear the Lord tell me, “See, I am doing a new thing.”
I not only want that for myself, I want it for our churches. This pandemic has forced churches to consider, and do, ministry in new ways; and some old ones. Pastors tell me they are busy calling every member of their churches just to check on them and pray with them. How long since that’s been the norm?
This pandemic-induced stretching is causing us to be more dependent upon the wisdom and the direction of the Lord. The church in North America hasn’t been this spiritually broken, mission-focused, ministry intentional since WWII. Now is the time for boldness greater than at any time in our 146-year-history as a network of Tennessee Baptist churches. God, please deliver us from returning to “normal!”
(3) There is a longing for the church family. Prayerfully, we will return with a renewed appreciation for worship, small groups, discipleship, missions, ministry and observances of the Lord’s Supper and baptism. My hope is our churches will be marked by a deeper unity, sweeter spirit, greater generosity and a greater affection between church members and pastors.
(4) There is a reprioritizing of life as we’ve known it. I believe years from now, when my grandkids are asked about the coronavirus, they’re going to respond it was one of the most fun years of their lives.
The quality and quantity time they’ve had with their parents without so many scheduled activities, trips, ballgames and homework is giving them the unusual gift of their parent’s time. Intimate family time, like meals together regularly, story reading and prayer time have become routine in homes where it wasn’t the norm before.
Don’t miss this moment in history. God is clearly speaking to us. Are you listening? What’s He saying to you?
Have you positioned yourself so you can hear God with your good ear?
Now, more than ever, it is a joy to be with you on this journey.