21.5% of Non-Christians Say
Coronavirus Pandemic Has Led Them
to Start Reading the Bible.
Wow! I had to read that headline twice. It says “of non-Christians”! 21.5%?!?! There’s a real hunger!
Last week in my Easter sermon, I said, “If you’ve watched about as much Netflix and read about as many books and played about as many games on your screens than you ever thought you’d be playing this year, are you ready for something deeper?” I said, “Maybe it’s time to turn to Scripture!” But I didn’t know the whole nation would be listening to my advice!
Now, I know why I encouraged you to turn to scripture. I said last Sunday that …
Easter removes the tombstone
of current events and opens
the gates to God’s provision.
How many of us, indeed, are plenty tired of current events … and the illness, fear, and economic hardship that’s been going with all the current headlines? Obviously that’s why people are turning to Scripture. They want a safe port in the midst of a turbulent storm. And Scripture is obviously a remarkably good place to turn … because how many Bible stories and Psalms begin with the current events of trials, troubles, enemies, wars, famine or plague, yet end with God’s help and provision?!
- God’s provision is bread in the wilderness for the Israelites – manna!
- God’s provision is shutting the lions’ mouths to save Daniel.
- God’s provision is the oil jar that kept pouring for the widow of Zarephath.
- God’s provision is Gideon’s victory over 135,000 Midianites at the hands of his little band of 300 men.
- God’s provision was Jesus … and …
- God’s provision is the lame walking, the blind seeing, and the dead (like Lazarus) rising.
Each of these stories and a hundred more started with a current event – hunger, lions, enemies, desperation, and death – yet ended with God’s generous provision.
So why are even non-Christians turning to the Word of God? My answer: They know two things:
- First, they know that the “normal way of doing things” is letting them down, and maybe we’ve been fooling ourselves; maybe we do actually need to turn to God and rely on His provision.
- Second, I think many individuals know that they need something deeper. Indeed, I think many are beginning to realize that we (as a nation and a world) need something deeper.
That’s my answer, but the study revealed this too: “44% of Americans polled said they see the global coronavirus pandemic and economic meltdown as a ‘wake-up call for us to turn back to faith in God.’”
And therefore, you have a mission! For weeks the “curve” has been going up and up, along with a lot of anxiety. And so my messages, sermons, and devotions focused on a lot of hope and encouragement. I think I’ll continue with a lot of hope and encouragement! (Is that okay with you?!) But I think I’ll also start encouraging you to put that hope into action.
Wait! What does that mean? Well, do you remember 1 Peter 3:15? The Apostle tells us: “always be ready to give an accounting …for the hope that is in you”!
Not since 9/11 has the nation clamored for the answers that God and faith alone can give. Do you remember? People flocked to the churches, and when the churches didn’t provide satisfactory answers, the world turned and went away after just a few weeks. I’m confident, this time, that we have the answer. In fact, I’m confident that you have the answer … for at least one friend in need. Indeed, all you have to do is give an accounting for the hope that is in you!
Someone is going to say to you in the next weeks or months, “It’s good to see you again. How’d you do weathering this pandemic?” And here’s your chance! Maybe you have an amazing testimony of how God’s provision removed the gravestone of current events and whelming anxiety. But, you know, even if you worried a lot through all of this, you’ve still got an amazing testimony. (See if you remember this from recent sermons …) “I can’t imagine how I would have done this without my faith!”
“Really?” the searching person might say, “How did that help?”
Be honest, even if it’s something like, “Well, you know I’m a worrier and these are the very real reasons why I was particularly worried, 1)____, 2)____, 3)_____ and 4) _____. But whenever I turned away from the news and turned to God, I began to find perspective and peace.”
And maybe you could add, “In fact, do you know what I learned? I learned that Easter removes the tombstone of current events and opens the gates to God’s provision.” And when they ask what that means, talk about how God provided and got you through. And then tell how God has a habit of doing that throughout Scripture, throughout history, and throughout your life!
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who occasionally
drives up Providence Road,
remembering to thank God
for all the ways He provides