by Tan Lay Leng
The coronavirus is little but its impact is huge. The “Stay Home” instruction is simple but its implementation is critical. The space has been freed up for us. But how will it be filled up?
By now we would have heard and resounded with the message “Pause and Pray”. Yes, we have paused or rather we have been “forced” to pause, but what does it mean to pause? What do we pray about? How should we prepare ourselves for the “play” after the “pause”?
In a timely exhortation, Ps Henson gives four points to remind us how not to waste the space in this pause but be postured rightly that we may consciously prepare for the coming play.
Reiterating the importance of not wasting the space, Ps Henson shares, “Suddenly we have time on our hands. We have space on our hands. We don’t want to waste the space. More importantly, what is God saying? As people of God, how are we to respond?”
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.Ephesians 5:15-17
Drawing from Ephesians 5:15-17, Ps Henson directs our attention to the phrase “redeeming the time” (in other versions, “making the most of every opportunity”); in particular, the word ‘time’.
The word ‘time’ is translated from the Greek word ‘kairos’. ‘Kairos’ is a season, an opportune time, a time that God has instituted. We may be surprised, inconvenienced and disrupted by the virus outbreak but God is not. As people of God, we must make the most of this ‘kairos’ and not miss this opportunity.
1. Collective Pause
First, recognise that God has pressed the pause button globally. More than the world coming to a standstill, this collective pause is also for the people of God. Remember that some of the first cases in Singapore broke out in churches. In hitting the pause button for the Church, God is getting our attention and we need to turn and hear what He is saying. This isn’t quite like the awakening we expect from God, is it? In fact, Ephesians 5:14 calls for the sleeper to awake! Having awakened, we now check that we walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise. As we pause and pray, we must go beyond prayers for protection or prayers for this virus to end. We must adopt a correct posture.
2. Correct Posture
Have faith in God. Faith, not fear. As much as we receive and read updates on the situation, read more of the Word of God and pray. Faith has to start with God. Our faith must be placed in Him. Our life is in His hands. Whatever happens, however it turns out, we have a living hope in God. As fear threatens to creep in, keep going back to the start point: faith in God.
Are you having faith in God or are you….hoarding?
As we keep going back to God, we will then focus on the kingdom.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:33-34
The Lord says to seek first the kingdom and not to worry. Yes, the economy is badly hit, many have lost jobs and income. The words of Jesus are in this very context: Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)
As people in the kingdom, we set an example of what it means to look at the kingdom and stand together. We look not to preserve self but we look for ways to help one another. Be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Be a blessing.
Are you focusing on the kingdom or are you focusing on self?
As we have faith in Him and focus on the kingdom, God begins to drop fresh ideas and revelation for ourselves, our families, our communities, our churches. These ideas may be for the immediate future or for the days ahead. Whatever they are, keep our focus on aligning with God and He will do the assigning. We cannot plan too much beyond a day, take one day at a time.
3. Conscious Preparation
Out of this correct posture we maintain, when God drops things in our heart, we begin to prepare. We now have time and space to prepare. Watch out for the distractions. Do not fill up what God has freed up. We may be disrupted but we must not be distracted. As much as we do not worry and take one day at a time, a conscious preparation is needed. We need to look beyond the crisis. The ideas God downloads to us, personally or corporately, require a deliberate preparation.
What are things you need to prepare?
What are things God wants to prepare in you?
Does God have His way in you?
4. Coming Play
When God releases the pause button, the play button comes into operation. When it plays, things move! We are in the final days. What number would come to your mind when you look at the pause button? Ps Henson is reminded of the number ’11’. We are in the 11th hour. The days are evil. Redeem the kairos. When God hits the play button, the kingdom will move at a different pace. Whether it will be better days ahead or not, no one knows. What we know is that God will shake whatever can be shaken so that only that which cannot be shaken will remain (Hebrews 12:27-28). Are we standing on kingdom foundations? Or will we be shaken?
Do you need to change the way you think?
Are you ready when the play button is pressed?
Cheering you on, Archippus! May we emerge ready to join the ranks in the army God is preparing!