Read Acts 16 vs 16 – 34 ESV
‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and SUDDENLY there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And IMMEDIATELY all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.’
Acts 16 vs 25 – 26 (ESV)
Here is a story of where the great apostle Paul finds himself, along with Silas, in a lock down. Ok, yes, theirs was a literal prison cell, but nonetheless, it was a lock down. These two were in a lock down for the good things they were doing for the kingdom of God, and similarly we are all in a lock down around the world.
Anyway, nobody asked for it, but here we are, in a lock down.
It’s an uncommon and uncomfortable place for sure. However, if God is Sovereign over all, then this is truly the best place for us to be right now. And so for that reason, we ought to count it all joy (See James 1 vs 2 – 4 ESV).
Disclaimer: I understand that many will have questions about the Sovereignty and Justice of God but I will not be addressing that here and now. Rather I want to encourage us all to get practical and purposeful in such a time as this.
In the text above, we read that it was at midnight, the darkest hour, that Paul and Silas were making the biggest noise. They weren’t complaining, but rather… they were praying and praising. This was their mandate. Even in lock down they looked up!
At this time of lock down, LOOK UP! Pray, praise, pray, praise… And don’t stop.
God is not wanting a church that complains, but one that remains. A church that remains faithful in praying, praising, praying, praising. It is at the darkest hour now, that our prayers and praise will unlock the hardest of hearts.
People are listening to you, as were the prisoners around Paul and Silas.
Surely Paul and Silas believed the following:
‘“…And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be TERRIFIED at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and LOOK UP, for your salvation is near!”’
Luke 21 vs 25 – 28 (NLT)
I see there is a drawing, a calling, a working and a wooing taking place in the lives of those who are anxious, uncertain, fearful and faithless. There are a multitude of people lost and looking, so may the church help them see.
While they are looking down in a lock down, let the church be looking up. They are to see where we are looking. They are to grasp what we are doing.
It is while the world is full of fear and are terrified, that we are to be full of faith and make sure Christ is glorified.
And how this happens is by our prayers and our praise. Our praying and our praising will get others to ‘Look Up In Lock Down‘. Doing this will effect change to the world around you. Will your lock down, cause others to look up?
Not only that, I also see there is a cleansing, an adjusting, a shifting and a revelation of church that is coming to pass, for those within the church and those who aren’t yet either.
There is a new normal taking place. And this new normal is not about online, but in-house. The church will come out more focused on fellowship in-house than on the Sunday sanctuary and the secondary online service (Not that these are wrong, so please hear what I am trying to say).
I fully believe that God is using this global pandemic of Covid-19 to strengthen the church and purify his bride even more. He is ridding the church (his precious bride) of the unnecessary impurities that have warped what He intended for her to be and how she is to live and operate.
He is removing many of the things, the ‘stuff’, that most leaders have relied on in order ‘to do’ or ‘be’ the church.
For there is a rock of truth that cannot be refuted and it says:
‘…I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”’
John 13 vs 34 – 35 (NLT)
Living this out is the heart of what I see God is doing in His people at this time. It is not about who has the best online service, the biggest sound system, the fanciest building (and the list goes on)… It is about who loves according to this commandment.
God is okay with us being socially distant from each other in order for us to be radically intimate with Him so as to have the prison doors of our own hearts and lives, as well as others, fling wide open as we pray and praise.
And of this I have no doubt, the church will unite with a love like never before, proving to the world that we are His disciples once and for all.
It’s in this time of lock down, that God says, ‘Look up! I am doing a new thing, and it is going to be normal.’
I pray that this lock down will cause you to look up in a way you never have and when you do, may you gaze upon the beauty of Jesus and be thankful for the salvation He brings.
Look up in lock down!
Jarrod is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, who is fully devoted to the Word of God. Jarrod is married to Tamzyn and together they have one awesome boy, Malachi Josiah.