Francis Chan has suggested God might be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to “humble” humanity and connect with His people and encouraged Christians to view the time of rest as a “gift.”
“We were created to have a deep relationship with God,” the former megachurch pastor, who recently left the United States to become a missionary in Hong Kong, said in a recent message posted on the Crazy Love YouTube page. “God made us relational beings, that's the way we were designed.”
“In fact, Jesus said, ‘I and the Father are one. So if you've seen me you've seen the Father,’” he continued. “He talked about this oneness they had, but then He says, ‘I want you to abide in Me and I will live in you.’ This is what I was made for. This is why you and I were designed to have this deep walk with God, our Creator.”
Despite this, “so many of us have the tendency where we want to control our own lives,” the pastor said, adding, “We don't want to spend our time in this intimacy with God we have things to do. And so we go and we run, and we try to control things.”
“How's that working out for you?” Chan asked. “I bet in January, you had projections for this year. How's it going, man? God says even when you try to control your life you're not in control. Don't you understand that there's something about how right now, He just caused every single treadmill to stop? And it's driving us crazy because all we know how to do is run, run, run, and now suddenly, I got to fix this machine. I’ve got get back on it somehow. I'm losing ground.”
While God wants “to humble us and show us, look, you can't control your life, you can't control tomorrow,” there’s “something even deeper” going on amid the coronavirus pandemic, Chan said, adding that Scripture says God “yearns jealously” for His people.
“Maybe this time of isolation has a purpose,” he suggested. “And the purpose is He wants to be with me. He's saying, ‘Stop running. I'm just gonna stop you for a while because I want to because I, Almighty God, want to be with you. I want to connect with you.’”
“The worst thing you could do right now is get frustrated and stressed out and try to fix everything so you can get back on that treadmill,” he continued. “This is a gift to you. You have a loving Father in Heaven. Almighty God, the one who decides whether you keep breathing for the rest of the day. And He's saying, ‘I want you right now.’
“It's a big deal to look at Him and say, ‘No, I've got something better to do. And once I fix this thing, I'm gonna get running again,’” Chan stressed. “Don’t do it. This is His gift. It's a time for you to look back at your life and go, ‘Why am I just running aimlessly?’ God wants you to get off this machine and get deep into a relationship with Him.”
Communion with God leads to joy and peace, Chan said, “but it starts with you stepping away from that treadmill and having the core of your being connected with Him right now.”
“Don't waste another day,” he concluded.
The coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, has affected over 587,357 people in the United States as of Tuesday and led to 23,649 deaths, the CDC reports.
Previously, Chan encouraged the Church to view the coronavirus pandemic as “one of our greatest opportunities to reach a lost world and show them we haven’t lost our love, joy, and peace” instead of succumbing to fear and anxiety.
“There needs to be this resilience in us as believers. I think that is what the world, in the church, is being shown right now is how vulnerable, how volatile we are that one little thing could mess things up.”
Chan stressed that for seven years, he’s been exhorting Christians to prepare to live out their faith and “thrive in their walk with God” regardless of the circumstances surrounding them.
“That’s been our heart for you guys as elders in the church,” he said. “There's going to come a day when we won't have the luxury of all the leaders being together with all of the people, and you need to be ready for that. It's kind of crazy. I've been preaching that for seven years. And then two weeks after I leave, you're living [that]. And the whole country is having to live that.”
“I believe it's God's grace on us to show us: ‘Am I prepared? Have I lost my love, my joy, my peace?’” he continued. “This is the fruit of the Spirit, guys, take advantage of this time. Don't miss this opportunity. This is one of our greatest opportunities for reaching out to a lost world and showing them that we haven't lost our love, joy, and peace.”
“Even at this moment, the enemy can't take that away from us,” he concluded. “We love the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Church is alive and well.”