Author: Tommy Waltz
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To all of you who read our articles here at GGM this article is a little different just because I have had more time to sit, think, and pray. It may be long. I will try not to rant and get on my soap box but simply discuss nine points that God is working on me through this time. I hope my transparency will help you and will show you that you are not alone. Here we go!
You have been closed up in home long enough lets go on a road trip. Thanks for joining me for this proverbial ride in my car as we view the landscape of our world, media, church, Christianity, and politics. This ride may be a little bumpy at times, but that is the reality of life. The first road we find ourselves on is the road named “Repentance.”
1. I need to repent and renew faith in Jesus.
The Lord has shown me clearly that I have taken the gift of my family for granted and have not taken the time to be with them more. This Covid-19 pandemic has allowed me the time to reconnect with my girls, and connecting with them is not easy because they have the responsibility of school assignments and tasks that are required of them. However, the change in pace has allowed me to see I have work to do, and I have been forced by this slow down to see my failures in places in my parenting, not delegating responsibilities at GGM, and in not loving my wife well. This has been a time of confession and repentance.
Not drive-by repentance, but repentance that puts the car in park and really takes time to stop on this street and go before the Lord and ask Him to give me brokenness for my sins. This stops needs to be longer so I can get out of the car to look at the side roads that I so easily drive down during my day. I have a tendency to generalize sin and not to ask myself the specifics. Why did I get angry? What was I thinking at that moment right before I exploded over the question. I am not going to share the specifics here, but will challenge you to ask the questions just as I am asking myself. Become a student of yourself during this time of being off the normal road of life. Here are the three major side roads that I found I travel down and that allure me off the road of repentance and faith in Jesus, which gives me victory over sin.
The side road of anger. I am an angry man at times. Being honest helps me see where the struggle is in my heart. Why do I hit the gas pedal and turn the wheel down this side road during the day or in specific conversations with people – usually the ones I love the most? Then, and only then, can I apply the brake of love to be patient and kind and to keep the steering wheel straight so I won’t rejoice in wrongdoing but will rejoice in the truth. Letting the truth of God direct how I speak and how I think about every situation is vitally important.
The next side road I frequent is doing too much at times. This overwork only leads me into fooling myself because when I try to do too much, what I do is not done well. I also rob the people, who God has put in my life to delegate things to, of an opportunity to go and mature in certain areas. Thinking that I am the only one that can do something is a form of pride- I just gave away my last side road, but back to the present road. Over-packing the car will only cause things to fall off and get lost, as I travel down this road of life. Spreading out the load also helps me to fight pride and grows trust in the people that God has put in my life. Seeking help from others also grows humility, as I learn to trust God more rather than taking things into my own hands and trying to rush something. God allows me to see others gifts. Let me be honest- as I hope you are with yourself- there are people who God has put in our lives who can do certain things better than we can, and being surrounded by people more proficient than yourself is a good thing. However, it takes humility to understand this benefit and to accept it, but in this acceptance, there is a freedom to focus like a laser on what you are good at and on the things that are necessary for you to do. The final side road off the road of repentance, as I alluded to earlier, is pride. I am not proud of admitting this; this confession humbles me.
Pride is like thinking my car is really awesome and looks really cool, but in reality, the car’s bumper is falling off with tons of dents all over it. However, because of my pride I can’t see what shape the car is in. My pride blinds me to my sin, but God has been gracious to me to give me a loving wife and three amazing daughters to hammer away at that pride and to show me the reality of the shape of my automobile. I can either deny what is obvious to everybody else- as you can as well- to my spiritual detriment, or humble myself- as you can as well, if you know Christ- and get to work on my car. Over the past few weeks God has been exposing to me these three, anger, doing too much, and pride. As you are cruising along with me in my ride, what is God exposing in you? Is it anxiety, fear, frustration, or lack of trust? It’s there. Just be honest and let Him show you.
You decided to go on this ride with me; now you are seeing some things about this old clunker called my life that you did not see at the beginning. We are back on the main road, and it’s too late to get out now. Oh look! Here is our next exit, “a renewed trust in God.”
2. I need to have a renewed trust in God.
During this time of Covid-19 God has given me a renewed trust in His care and sovereign work in His world. Yes, please remember it is his world, not our world, not President Trumps, not China’s; it belongs to no one but the Lord God Almighty. Let this time on this road refresh you. Let’s roll our windows down and let in the fresh, cool air to refresh our tired, weary souls. The same God that brought you from the protective womb of your mother is the same One that will see you through all the uncertainty of the coming days and months. He knows our frame, He knows all our fears, He knows all our needs, and He knows everything about us. Let’s rest in Psalm 46:10 which says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Really, reading the whole psalm everyday would be good for our souls. Our next exit is coming up. What is the exit named? It is “Pray more than ever.”
3. I need to pray now more than ever.
One of the biggest things about times like these is that we are totally out of control. All we can do is stay put, trust, and pray. Prayer shows our dependence upon God. Prayer is work because we have to focus on something other than the natural tendency to worry or to binge watch something on Hulu or Netflix. It takes discipline because we have to quiet our souls with God’s truth in order to intercede for others. Here is a list of things you can pray for: healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, surgeons, and lung specialists. Pray for government leaders that they would not take advantage of the citizens of their countries. Pray also that if there is anything crooked and evil going on behind the scenes that it would be exposed and brought to light. Prayer for these groups to have rest and endurance during this time is a need too. I think you get the picture. Many people try to get off this exit, but end up on some back road. If you are a Christian, it is your duty to pray because you are praying to the God who hears and works through the prayers of His children. This is probably one of the great mysteries of life, that the prayer of a righteous man avails much. Oh wow! The next exit is going to be a blow to any remaining pride in us. It is labeled “not as independent as we think we are.”
4. We are not as independent as we think we are.
This nation was founded by a people who wanted to be independent from a tyrannical form of taxation without representation, as well as tyrannical rule. What Covid-19 shows Americans is that we are not as independent as the majority of Americans want to be. This current scenario forces all of us to humble ourselves. This virus does not care either how much money you do or do not have. It does not choose who to infect by how much maturity and intellect a person has. It does not choose its victims by how famous you are or by how many people follow you on Facebook or other social media outlets. This virus makes us all equally susceptible because we are all humans who are dwelling in a good but broken world. People coming to a realization of their dependence on the One, true God sets the stage for revival and awakening.
May we pray that the flame of revival and awakening will again flood the cities and streets of America. This next exit is going to be a little bumpy so hold on to the handle to the right as we get on the exit ramp.
5. God can bring the world to its knees quickly.
God can at will bring the world to its knees quickly and swiftly anytime He wants. Read what He states in Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” He does what will bring Him the most glory. He is omniscient and omnipotent; He knows all and is all-powerful. To fight against His supremacy rather than to submit to Him is counterproductive for change.
Look how quickly this has come upon the world and may it wake you up as we drive down this road. This exit came upon us all so unexpectedly. On March 7th things were basically normal. I had my preaching and speaking engagements planned out for the year. Now it is April 14thth, and I don’t know when I can travel safely with my family outside of North Carolina again. May this drive us all to be in awe of this amazingly powerful God. Enough of this bumpy road, let’s travel down an interstate highway that is always traveled. I don’t trust politicians.
6. I don’t trust politicians. Sometimes I don’t know who to believe or how to process what is the best road out of this mess. This vulnerability throws me back into the lap of my heavenly Father. Sorry!
Most of the people I talk with and do life with really don’t trust politicians because of the decisions they make. I don’t want to be a politician, and I can sit here wagging my tongue all day long about how much I don’t like them without facing the fact that they have hard decisions to make. So, instead of thinking that they are communists sent from Russia to infiltrate our liberties or sharing the latest trending rant someone has posted on social media, how about let’s pray for them? Just stop! This is America, and although you have the right to post anything you want, is it really helping the matter? If they are really going to take our rights, there will be a civil war; be assured. America was founded on principles that the average American would die for – or at least I would because I see how vital they are to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Just take a chill pill for now and do a little more praying.
Let’s be honest. Most of us – well let me speak for myself- I can say, as I drive down this road, that there is a ton of random road construction everywhere. Every other person has a problem with the way the testing is being done or whether there is enough testing being done or whither we should even test at all. Some raise the question should isolate only the most vulnerable of our society or should we continue to shelter in place. Should we quarantine the entire nation for months, because of the virus, and send in the National Guard to make sure it happens?
No government in American history has ever tried to do anything on this level before. Is it the right thing to do to put the brakes on our economy and put millions of people out of jobs? Is it the right thing to do to require people to shelter in place to prevent the spread?
Let me be honest; the more I travel this road the more confusing the “road work ahead” signs become. I really don’t know what is best at this time other than doing what will stop the spread of the virus to the most elderly and to those who have outstanding medical conditions. Because we have a ministry of open-air evangelism, not a lot has changed other than my slowing down initially. We have a different preaching context that we find ourselves in, but the goal is still the same. Go to share and proclaim the Gospel that will transform a life.
However, I know it may be completely different for you. People need to get back to work. The majority in Washington do not have the interest of the people at heart so let’s pray God moves on our elected officials’ hearts to make the right decision. If not, time will tell and the people will demand them to do the right thing.
I don’t have all the answers for the way forward, but I do know that we can trust our great God with our lives and pray that God will give us wisdom when we go to the ballot boxes in November. Sorry I could not be more of a help in this area of our road trip. Let’s get off this exit; I am tired of all these flashing signs and road cones. Let’s get off an exit that will be a smooth reprieve before we get on the roller coaster ride of the last leg of our road trip. We will stop on this exit to take a bathroom break and to gas up our trust tank. This exit is labeled “I trust my elders” (leaders/pastors), and you should too unless they are leading you into sin.
7. I trust my elders and will respect them and their decisions unless they ask me to sin. Blogs and social media posts don’t trump that – no pun intended.
Let’s trust the spiritual leaders that God has put in our lives. Let’s trust they are being led by God in their decision-making whether they are choosing to meet during this time or not. Some think the best way to love our neighbor is not to potentially spread the virus by physically meeting together. Others are choosing to be creative and to meet in the open air and preach while the congregation is sitting in cars. Some are preaching their sermons via live-streaming on social media outlets. Some are still physically meeting together.
There is one thing I do know! I trust the churches’ leaders over your witty blog article or your catchy titled social media post. Nothing people post should trump – no pun intended- your spiritual leaders’ direction in your life. Let your elders influence in your life lead you. This will bring peace because it is God-ordained and prescribed. I think social media is breeding a discontentment with our spiritual leaders’ decisions. Why do I think that? I see it in what is being posted. Just stop. Yeah, we are at another stop light, the second one in our road trip. Stop, take some time in prayer for the spiritual leaders in your life, confess that you trust their decisions, and ask for God to give you strength to follow their lead unless they are asking you to sin.
These last two roads are:
8. I am going crazy-no-I am ok for now.
9. Some are refusing to humble themselves, and instead they are doubling down. They will find themselves fighting against God.
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