Echoes From the Campfire

Oh, well, nothin’ alarms him—not even refinement.”
              –Owen Wister  (“The Winning of the Biscuit-Shooter”)

    “When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.”
              –Numbers 10:9 (NKJV)
Today I want to give you a few things to contemplate.  Take time and examine each thought, let them seep into your soul.
    Many have questioned why a good God would allow a “pandemic” to come upon the earth.  I would imagine that people through the ages have wondered the same thing.  When the world’s largest pandemic came upon the world in 1917-1920, the influenza, people must have wondered “why?”  The many times the “Black Death–the Plague” showed up, I am sure that believers wondered why God was not with them.  Tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, polio all took their toll upon mankind.  Add to that wars and famines.  “Why”?  
    Instead of asking why God allows war, perhaps we should ask instead, “Why does God not allow the world to destroy itself entirely in its iniquity and its sin?” (Lloyd-Jones)  Man is evil, look at the streets of the cities and see if that is not true.  Why doesn’t God just let man destroy himself with his sin?  To answer that perhaps is too simple:  God has amazing patience!
    With this let me interject here something from one of my favorite writers, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “God permits and allows such things as war to chastise and to punish us, to teach us and to convict us of our sins, and above all to repentance and acceptance of His gracious offer.”  Read that a couple of times, and instead of war, add “pandemic or covid-19”.  
    Notice first that He permits and allows.  He does not cause, though at times in history He has, but He allows it in His patience to do several things.  Often He needs to chastise and discipline us.  You cannot read very far in the Bible where there isn’t some pestilence or sickness that bring the people to repentance.  Therefore, that is good.  The soul is more important than the physical body.  Second, he allows things to come to bring us to repentance.  Repentance brings restoration and healing.  Repentance and acceptance of Christ is the most important thing that a person can do.  Lastly, He allows things to come to teach us, to develop our character.  

         “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
                   –James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

         “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character hope.  Now hope does not disappoint…”
                   –Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)

    The question now, are you a person of character?  More important, are you a person of godly character?  Is this pandemic or any other issue you find yourself in making you a better person?  Is it drawing you closer to God?  Remember, they are to develop us; they are to teach us.  We must make sure that we are learning the lesson that God wants us to learn.  We need to be in an attitude of repentance so that we can believe and trust in the hope that the Lord has for us.