Humans don’t like change. Christians don’t like change. I don’t like change. But, so often, God puts up huge road blocks in our way because He has a better plan than ours. From the beginning of the Christian church, God used circumstances beyond human control to spread the truth of the Gospel. About thirty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, persecution of Christians began in Rome. The persecution intensified and eventually the Roman Christians were brutally forced to leave Rome to survive. If I had been alive then, I feel like I would have been devastated and think this couldn’t be God’s plan. Christians were drastically dying, having to leave fellowship with one another, and start over in a foreign land. However, this dispersion of the Christians is what grew and spread the life-saving message of the Gospel. In Genesis, Joseph realized that what had been devastating to Him had resulted in the salvation of many -
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:2
It is hard to imagine that the early Christians would have seen immediately that running for their lives and seeking refuge in a new and remote land could possibly be beneficial. But, it was this hardship that enabled more to hear and believe. Would I have even heard the Gospel if this dispersion had not occurred?
As I have thought of this, I wonder if God may be doing something in my lifetime that would allow the Gospel to grow in a transformational way. COVID-19 has drastically changed our world. I serve in a Gospel-centered ministry where we usually do face-to-face ministry and outreach. We aren’t able to do that. The way we function in ministry is changing as we adjust to this roadblock. Could this perhaps be our Rome event? Could God be asking us to pivot in our approach to sharing the Gospel and change our perspective? Although this change is uncomfortable and not my preferred way of engaging with others in ministry, I believe God could be opening the door for ministry in new ways and techniques. I think part of this perspective change may involve us being more intentional with ministry that would speak to Generation Zers who usually has electronic communication as their primary means of communication. Instead of my husband and I engaging in ministry ourselves, I believe God is calling us to challenge more of those we usually invest in spiritually to becoming bolder in sharing the good news and investing in others. In the military context where we serve, this could perhaps lead to much more effective evangelism and more hearing about Jesus and coming to Jesus. Could this be the way God is growing the Gospel? When life returns to normal about COVID-19, could there literally be an explosion of those who profess Christ by what God could have grown during the COVID shut down? God, help me to see what you might be doing from Your perspective? How do you think God might be asking you to pivot? Ponder with me today, how do you think God can use this crisis and huge life change to expand the Gospel?