Meditations for Troubled Times
A Means of Escape
Pastor David recently explained that, as believers undergo times of distress, we can be assured that God is at work, alert to the needs of his children, and supernaturally "working things together for good" (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 1:7-8; Hebrews 12:6-12). What the Lord is seeking to accomplish in the lives of people and nations through the coronavirus may not be apparent to us, but scripture makes clear that God is faithfully at work in some way (1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Corinthians 4:7-18).
One aspect of this truth is the Lord's promise that, even in times of "tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword," we will be "more than conqueror." (Romans 8:35, 37). That is, he will provide his children some means of escape.
We actually see this principle expressed in Paul's word to the Corinthian believers where he assured them that "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Of course, when we think about the ramifications of the coronavirus and its impact on our flock, this otherwise comforting word from Paul to the Corinthians may not seem relevant to our current circumstances. Even though we recognize that God will use the virus to reprove and rebuke many, it sweeps too broadly to say that the virus is the product of all his children yielding to temptation.
However, the Greek word translated as ''temptation" (peirasmos) in 1 Corinthians 10:13 may also be rendered as ''trials" or "testing," as in 2 Peter 2:9. In this passage, Peter used the identical Greek word to warn the believers in Asia Minor to be aware of false teachers and their "destructive heresies" explaining that "the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials." That is, God will guard the Word as it is proclaimed, not permitting it to return void (Isaiah 55:11).
The word of encouragement to each of us is that, even in our trials and testing, God is working in a supernatural way to protect all his children while bringing glory to his name. As each of us experience some degree of isolation, fear, sickness, and hardship, our comfort and assurance are that we are not alone. We may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but his abiding care is ever present as he provides a supernaturally-timed means of escape.
For example, not long after Paul reached Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, a group of more than 40 Jews, angered at Paul because of his ministry to the Gentiles, "made an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul" (Acts 23:13). But, even as the details of that conspiracy were being finalized, in God's providence, Paul's nephew overheard the proposed ambush, reported it to the Tribune, and Paul was taken safely from Jerusalem to Caesarea (Acts 23:16, 23).
How the Lord brings a resolution to the coronavirus crisis is yet to be determined, but we can be confident that he is at work among all his children.