Pandemic: God’s Plan A???

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”                                                                                                                                                               Jeremiah 29:11

A while back I wrote a piece encouraging people to stay flexible when seeking divine perspective on their lives. “Your ‘Plan B’ (or ‘Plan C,’ or even ‘Plan D’) might just be God’s Plan A.” I recently heard a couple of good examples of this concept unfolding.

A radio pastor announced in his on-line service this morning that since the pandemic and the enforcement of “social distancing” that his audience has gone from about 30,000 to over a million. For his ministry a good 3-day crusade might result in 10,000 people indicating decisions to follow Christ. Since not being able to hold crusades, their taking the ministry to the internet has resulted in over 36,000 indicating decisions.

Another favorite ministry of mine is the “JESUS” Film Project. The movie that was made several decades ago telling the story of Jesus, taken word for word from the Gospel of John, is by far the most translated film in history. It has been produced in over 1,800 languages and used to reach largely illiterate people in tens of thousands of villages in remote parts of the world. The ministry teams would bring equipment and copies of the film into these remote areas, often on foot, and after getting permission to set up their screens or to show the movie on the side of a building, they would present the gospel to people who have never heard the Good News before – and often have never seen a movie in their own language, either. They would be so excited to hear Jesus speaking in their language, they would sit enraptured, hearing His teachings and watching Him heal the sick, feed the hungry, even raise the dead. They would weep as they saw Him being crucified, and they would cheer wildly at the resurrection.  At the conclusion, as it was explained to them that Jesus’ death paid the penalty for their sins, and His resurrection means all who believe will be raised with Him to eternal life, most if not all of them would respond to the invitation to place their faith in Him.

Of course, with the Corona virus pandemic and nations in lock-down, gathering people together for a showing was virtually impossible. In my daily prayers for the ministry I asked the Lord to bless this time of isolation and to help the ministry workers and planners come up with new strategies to reach people.

The answer to that prayer came when I received word that the “JESUS” Film Project had been granted permission to air the film on not one, but six secular TV stations on Easter Sunday, in a country that until now had seemed very hostile to Christianity. I was so excited, thinking of how many millions of people might be watching and learning about the gospel for the first time in this nation that is 98% Muslim and only 0.2% Christian.

Realizing that Easter was still eight days away, and with this new vision of what was actually possible, I prayed even harder that more doors would open up in other parts of the world.

My prayers (and no doubt the prayers of many others) were answered “exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) Two days later I got an email with a world map and a list of all the countries that would be airing “JESUS” on Easter.

All 72 of them.

These countries included Communist, Islamic, and Hindu nations, many where Christians had been persecuted the most. I was incredulous, wondering, What were they thinking?? – But I had no complaints!

So, as far as I know, in the absence of being able to take the gospel into little villages the way it’s been done in past decades, recently the gospel has been proclaimed in nations all over the world, to literally billions of people.

(Could this have been God’s “Plan A” all along?)

In the first century the Apostle Paul was a key figure in the evangelism of the civilized world. He was well educated, multilingual, and able to travel from one Roman province to another to preach the gospel. People from every ethnicity were being saved, and churches were planted and growing everywhere Paul went. But then something happened that was unexpected by many, although a few had had an inkling of what was coming. These followers had begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem, where he would be arrested and handed over to the Gentiles (Romans). But Paul proceeded and indeed was arrested, as expected.

So ended his followers’ “Plan A.”

Confined to prison and “house arrest” (quarantined), Paul could not travel to visit the churches, he could only write letters and send them to the churches by way of his good friends. The early believers so esteemed Paul that his letters were kept and treasured.

And this is how we got roughly 28% of the New Testament. I firmly believe that as Paul trusted and obeyed God, his situation was God’s “Plan A” unfolding.

So, instead of sitting around waiting for this pandemic to be over, let’s be in prayer and ask how we can be part of God’s Plan A, even when the rest of the world sees it as a major holdup. How might He want to use you during this time?

Prayer: Lord, You reign supreme. You are infinitely wiser than we are. Help us to be a part of Your plan, even when Your plan doesn’t conveniently fit into ours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

54 thoughts on “Pandemic: God’s Plan A???

  1. Tremendous post. I agree that this is part of God’s Plan A, and that believers should not be wallowing in grief and worry, but should be on the front lines as bold soldiers for Christ. Thank you for the great insights.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Very good post. I had read elsewhere that when we face inconveniences, pray and insert yourself into God’s bigger plans.
    Love how you talked about Paul quarantining- I had mentioned a similar thing in my latest post, God is surely pointing Paul as an example. 😊.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amen! He’s the one who wrote while under house arrest, “I have learned the secret of being content, whatever the circumstances,” and in Romans, “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, thank you! That’s saying quite a lot.
      I didn’t share this earlier because the JESUS Film Project asked that it not be posted on social media (before Easter). But I would think that now that Easter is past and the film has already been aired, it should be OK.
      What is the name on your Facebook page?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen!! Your post pairs up so perfectly with the Perspectives class I just finished. Perspectives focuses on our mandate as Christians to fulfill our part in the Great commission, taking His word to the ends of the earth…if we don’t do it then who will??
    Your post is sweetly encouraging and motivating!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…if we don’t do it then who will?? Who indeed, Alicia!
      I don’t remember who said it, but someone has said that when deciding where to make donations they make evangelism priority. Not that feeding the hungry and curing diseases and housing the homeless aren’t important, but there are many compassionate unbelievers doing those things. But unbelievers aren’t going to give to the cause of evangelism.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats soooo right, what an excellent point! It’s saddens me that I’ve heard of many younger people in their 20s going off to seminary school these days HOWEVER they’re going because of the motivation of learning how to better serve others BUT NOT for the purpose of faith in Jesus…heartbreaking…praying somehow their hearts would be captured and redirected to Him through their ventures.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. As Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
      I tried to explain this to the rep on the phone when I found out that my letters to the children I was sponsoring through this “Christian” organization were being censored, because they didn’t want to “offend” the parents. After many unsuccessful attempts to get them to either change their policy or change their name, once my sponsored children were grown, I started sponsoring children through Compassion International.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow to “offend” the parents, goodness that upsets me…Christianity has never been about being too safe..just look at the testimonies of the apostles (messengers) from the New Testament…if we get “too careful” we risk not fulfilling God’s mandate for us…good for you for trying to open the other organizations eyes, I don’t blame you for switching over❤️

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  4. I do believe He will do His will and the gates if he’ll are powerless to stop it. This hellish pandemic will serve Him, one way or the other. Jesus promised His gospel would reach the entire planet before He wraps things up here. Love it! God’s grip – Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I so agree! Thank you, Annie, for sharing these stories with us. Yes, God has plans for our lives that we can’t always see, and sometimes he uses situations that we think didn’t work out so well to actually accomplish his purposes. Two of my own come to mind, and I will be brief.

    I faced a lot of rejection in institutional churches, and many doors got slammed in my face, and what finally resulted from all of that is that the Lord put me on the internet where what he has me write is going to people all over the world. That would never have happened if I had been accepted and valued in just one of those small churches and if that is where I remained. I might have ministered to a few women and that would have been it. Now I don’t even know how many people are being reached for Jesus through what the Lord has me post on the internet each day.

    The second is more recent. I have 14 grandchildren, but when we get together there is a room full of people and so one-on-one conversations rarely take place, at least not with any depth to them. So, since we were on lockdown one of my granddaughters started video chatting with me and it has been awesome! We are getting to know each other and I am sharing about my life and what I do with her and she is sharing about her life and what she does each day with me (with her parents’ approval), and this would never of happened without Covid-19. So, I am thankful for Covid-19 for that reason. And, now 3 more grandchildren are connecting with me via chat, too.

    And, that was brief. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome, Sue! I haven’t been “rejected” from any churches, but I am now in a church that I love that doesn’t have women teaching Sunday school or speaking in church, other than reading Scripture and occasionally saying a prayer.
      I have found that I’ve been a lot less frustrated by the “roadblocks,” “barriers,” and “obstacles” in my walk when I realize that God can remove them, OR He can transform them into boundaries, guardrails, and speedbumps ( 😉 ). In the case of the church I belong to now, I don’t have to be as conflicted about how I spend my time. I have plenty of ministry opportunities (like the blog!) without any invitations to speak or requests to teach a Sunday school – been there, done that, and it’s a lot of time-consuming work. I don’t necessarily believe it’s wrong for women to teach men, but here I see God’s hand helping me narrow down the choices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Annie, thank you for sharing all that with me. That is good stuff! I like the blogging world for I feel that, in many respects, it operates more like the church is supposed to operate, with each part doing its work and with each of us doing what God has called us to do, using the gifts he has given us, for the mutual edification of one another. I love your teachings! And, I love reading other blogs, too. And, I love that God has given me the opportunity to share with others what he is teaching me, too. I believe this is what the Bible teaches in Ephesians 4-5 and Romans 12-14 and 1 Corinthians 12, and in other passages of Scripture. We are helping one another to grow in Christ, and not one of us has to be over the other. We are equals within the body of Christ. And, if a man wants to read what we write, that is totally up to him. It is not us teaching men. The only authority here is the Word of God, not us. Again, thank you so much for all your encouragement. God bless you!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “I firmly believe that as Paul trusted and obeyed God, his situation was God’s “Plan A” unfolding.” Hmmm wow! Now that you’ve broke it down that way with the wisdom and revelation of our Father’s Spirit, I see it as His Plan A indeed for He is in total control of everything. Very blessed and eye opening message indeed. Thanks much for allowing God to use in this way to bless and open the hearts of other’s more concerning His word. Blessings and more grace in JESUS name! ❤ 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We all have neighbors who we can leave something for them on their doorstep whether you know them or not. Let us never forget the Great Commission………”Love the LORD with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Keep that in mind, we are then living within GOD’S plan A…….every single day of our lives! Loved your stories here about how the GOSPEL is spreading! GOD can use ANYTHING for HIS good!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing and for the reminder in your prayer..
    ‘Help us to be part of your plan” – So often we are praying and inviting God into our stuff.It’s his plan that matters really.

    Peace to you

    Liked by 1 person

  9. for me I view it a little differently we always get God’s plan A. Sin was never plan A therefore the result of sin, sickness and death, was the curse of not following God’s plan A – Enter Jesus, God’s Plan A in dealing with mans choice not to go with God’s plan A the Garden without sin. We in our sinfulness choose every plan but God’s plan A and yet God being all knowing introduces and new way to present plan A – just a perfectly designed as the plan before but working the outcome of the current events/sinfulness of man into the way He is presenting Himself. He allows choice then takes that choice and introduces His plan A through different means. Is the pandemic God’s plan A or is Him using the pandemic, something he allows to happen because of the sinfulness of mankind, to introduce his perfect plan of redemption and restored relationship with him (return to the garden if you will) which has been and always will be His plan A? I love what you wrote but I wonder if we need to be careful to make sure that we assign only good to God as His plan the rest is not as much His plan but rather His choice to use in His plan – it may be splitting hairs but how we look at this will determine the character traits that we assign God. Does God do evil to create good or does God use the evil that exists to reveal good – it is a question biblical scholars who have more smarts in their baby toe that I will have throughout my life time will struggle to understand. I guess we will fully know some day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, there’s a reason I had a couple of question marks in the title. 😉
      I’m saying that when our plans (like taking the gospel into a city or town in person) go awry, God not only makes it OK, but He can bring about something even better – like reaching billions of souls at a time. Sure, sickness and death is the result of the Fall, but God’s plan is bigger than our health, or even long life. … from one little toe to another.

      Like

  10. Wow! Awesome blog post and a great reminder that our ways are not God’s ways and he is always working for the good of his people. Even a quarantine cannot stop his plan and Paul is a great example of this. Love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so glad to read this post and the comments. I’ve been feeling like most of what I’ve been hearing from Christians is complaints about face masks and stay-at-home mandates (hence my post yesterday). Here I can see that others feel and believe as I do.

    Liked by 1 person

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