What Ebola, Sermon Notes and Moses Have In Common

Thursday, October 16, 2014

At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, can I be honest with you for a few minutes? Ebola freaks me out. Even when the disease was seemingly eradicated, it would cross my mind from time to time. Maybe its because I was too young when I saw "Outbreak" and the images of those bright yellow biohazard suits burned an image into my mind, or it could be that I'm a pessimistic hypochondriac (but still a really fun person-ha!). But whatever the reason, it scares me. And I almost feel silly typing that because I know the statistics. Believe me. I know them. I've read and re-read every article that comes across my home page or Zite list having to deal with the subject. Despite this knowledge, the fear remains.

I also read another news story today about the subpoenas that over 400 pastors in the Houston-area received from the City, requiring them to hand over any and all sermon/lecture notes having to deal with 'homosexuality, gender issues or the Houston mayor.' Apparently there is some new anti-discrimination law they are trying to enforce, which is really just fancy talk for advancing their liberal agenda while marginalizing and stripping those who hold differing views of their right to free speech & religion.  As the wife of a pastor, this initially made my skin prickle at the thought. If a pastor can't speak the truth in his own church, where can he? And what does that say about the society we live in? The constitution our nation was founded on? The beliefs and rights so many men and women have lost their lives for? Its happening more and more, this pressure on Christian speakers and preachers, to water-down their belifes. Pressure to fabricate politically-correct loop holes in the Gospel, to paint grey on the black and white. (And for the record-- there are no loop holes in the Gospel. Just the truth- That Jesus is the only way to salvation. It doesn't get any simpler than that.) Just looking around the courts in our country and seeing some of the rulings that activist judges have wrongly passed could frighten and discourage many Christians.

These things were swirling in my head as I put my girls to bed tonight. When they were finally down, I sat on my bed to begin my quiet time, studying the life of Moses. I had to both laugh and praise God at the irony of where I am in the study. Just starting Exodus 11. God has already sent 9 plagues on the country of Egypt and her people... water to blood, frogs, flies, gnats, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness. And we begin Chapter 11 with Moses telling Pharoah that God is going to kill all the firstborn sons in the land, as well as the first born of all the livestock. Its strange that in all of this death and destruction in these chapters I can find peace and comfort from the Word. What I find comforting is the absolute Power that God has over earthly things... natural things like water and weather, living things like reptiles, insects and livestock. And the power that he has over things that affect his people... sickness & death. Studying these chapters have oddly reassured me that I don't have to fear Ebola. As silly as this may sound- its true! When God sent the plagues to Egypt he was proclaiming that HE IS GOD, and challenging the multitudes of gods in Egypt. Where the Egyptians prayed to their gods for rain, food, healing, etc., God showed that He alone is the One true ruler over everything. 

And then, I've been studying about Pharoah. God allowed Pharoah to harden his heart toward Him- and God even hardened Pharoah's heart Himself so that he would not let the Israelites out of Egypt. But God did all of this for a purpose-- that God's people would know He is the LORD (Ex 10:1-3), and also so that the Egyptians would know He is LORD (Ex 14:4). As difficult as some people find this set of circumstances to be, I again find comfort in knowing that God is ultimately in control of the rulers of the land. God is the same God today as He was when He was bringing the Israelites out of slavery. And Pharoah was a heck of a lot more powerful than any Houston mayor, radical judge or Obama (sorry, dude). Time and time again God demonstrated His power and sovereignty over Pharoah and I can take comfort in knowing that still today, He is sovereign over the injustices of this world. 

So is Ebola still scary? You bet. But I don't have to let it control my thoughts because I know the ultimate Healer- the One who created my temporary being and is in control of even the things that may ail our physical selves. Is the idea that a City can subpoena a preacher's Sunday sermon a bit unsettling? Sure. But its not outside the reaches of God's hands. I know that God's word never returns void, but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it (Isa. 55:11). Perhaps someone will be moved towards Christ in reviewing all those subpoenaed sermons. Just studying these few chapters in Exodus have reminded me that God loves His people tremendously. And He is a God who has is sovereign and just and if we trust in Him, in His perfect plan, it will all work out in conformity with the purpose of his will (Eph 1:11).

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