When we are hit with a crisis, it can turn our lives upside down. Suddenly we discover that the things we prioritize under normal circumstances have no real value in the light of eternity. Pastor Lutzer explores how God can use crises to get His message across to us and to help us see what lasts. Originally Published: Feb 1, 2021
Here are all of the ways that you can follow along with 5 Minutes With Pastor Lutzer:
Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again as we continue this series entitled, “Pandemics, Plagues and Natural Disasters: What is God saying to us?” If you were with us last time, you know that we emphasized the sovereignty of God. Perhaps you heard me say (and I’m sure you’ll hear me say it again) that if Covid-19 is out of God’s hands, then we are out of God’s hands, but thankfully, as believers, we are in the hands of God. Today we want to move on and talk about various lessons that we can learn from natural disasters or a disease like Covid. You know, it’s interesting that Jesus knew that we should learn from nature. I mean He talked about the birds of the air—He talked about the lilies of the field. We can also learn from the book of Job that God sometimes sends natural disasters as a blessing, by that I mean when the sky gives a great deal of rain, but also there are disasters that are sent as judgments and we’ll talk about that next time. But for today I want to quickly delineate three lessons that are very obvious that Covid teaches us.
The first is this: the uncertainty of life. The fact is that people who are very healthy—some of them who got the disease, died very unexpectedly and remember in the book of James we read that life is like a vapor. It’s here for a moment and then it’s gone. I like what David Miller said, “Human existence on Earth was not intended to be permanent. Rather the Creator intended life on Earth to serve as a temporary interval of time, in which people are given the opportunity to attend to their spiritual condition as it relates to God and His will for living. Natural disasters provide people with conclusive evidence that life on Earth is brief and uncertain.” Interestingly, last night, I spoke to someone who thought he was dying of Covid. He actually said he saw light and he thought it was Jesus. Well, it wasn’t Jesus coming to call him home yet. And thankfully he has recovered. But all of us know those kinds of stories. And we don’t know—you know, you’ve heard me say perhaps that this disease is so contagious that everybody I believe, ultimately, will be exposed to it. Some will get the disease and a few will die and we need to recognize that. As the saying goes and I saw this on a sign: “Jesus and Covid are everywhere.” What a reminder that life is uncertain.
There’s a second lesson and that is our values are clarified. I’m thinking here of Katrina actually. Max Lucado made the statement during that time that nobody was running around saying “Where are my new golf clubs? Where’s my plasma TV?” Suddenly, everybody realized that the most important thing, the most important valuable possession that we have are people. And so, let’s keep in mind that often times, in times of tragedy our values are clarified.
But there’s another lesson and that is that money cannot keep its promises. Perhaps you’ve heard me say that money makes all the same promises as God. “I’ll be with you during difficult times.” “I’ll be with you during trying times.” “Good times, bad times, I will be here for you.” But in Covid, the rich have died—some of the rich have died along with the poor. I frequently mention the fact that a number of years ago, I toured the cemeteries here in Chicago with an expert and he pointed out that here are these wonderful mausoleums to the rich people, and, buried in the same cemetery, are people who are totally unknown. But you know what? They share in this, they are all dead and we must recognize that money cannot keep us alive. I love to tell the story about some miners—gold miners up North caught in an early winter, found in the spring in their cabin. Really, they had starved to death, but there was gold left on the table. Ultimately, money cannot save us. As a matter of fact, James warns us and if you notice what James has to say he talks about the rich people and he speaks about how temporary riches really are and how we must prepare for eternity. In fact, Jesus said essentially the very same thing.
You say “well, Pastor Lutzer, what’s the take home?” Well, I’ll give you the words of Corrie ten Boom—maybe you’ve heard me say them before when she simply said, “we have to trust an unknown future into the hands of a known God.” So let us learn from these experiences and at the same time recognize that God is with us through them. No matter how hard the time, God remains faithful to His people. Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope that you join us again next time as we continue this discussion and as for today, just go with God.