COVID-19: Faith and Finances
I know this is a tough time for all of us financially. This pandemic is testing our faith, but now is not the time to live in fear. Now is a good time to realign our focus. Recently, I've been thinking about a story in Exodus 14. It takes place right after Pharaoh releases the Israelites from Egypt, and directly before they cross the Red Sea (spoiler alert).
The Lord is leading Israel with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. In chapter 14, God instructs the Israelites to camp near the Red Sea. Meanwhile, Pharaoh questions his decision to let the Israelites go, and takes his chariots and pursues the people of Israel. Bad idea.
Absolute panic. The people of Israel see the Egyptians marching after them, and they are filled with fear (vs. 10). The people begin to complain to Moses, saying, "You have taken us away to die in the wilderness... It would have been better to serve the Egyptians than die out here" (vs. 11, 13). This grumbling becomes a normal pattern as the people journey from Egypt to Canaan. As they face trials or tough circumstances, they immediately complain to Moses and desire bondage in Egypt. Sometimes fear paralyzes us.
The Lord provides a way. Moses knew the Egyptians were no match for the power of God. He tells the people: "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent" (Ex 14:13-14). Then the Lord tells Moses to, "Go forward" (vs. 15) and splits the Red Sea so the Israelites can escape. The Egyptians follow after them, but are swallowed up by the sea (vs. 15, 22-23, 28).
So what does this story have to do with our finances? Psalm 77:11 says, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old." It's a call to remember the faithfulness of God in the midst of your circumstances. The people of Israel took their eyes off God, and panic set in. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and continue to move forward. In this season of uncertainty, it can be tempting to panic, but we have hope in a powerful God who is leading us through this time, just like He's done in the past.
Our main focus isn't meant to be on our finances, but on God. He has been taking care of his people for thousands of years. When we go forward and follow him in faith, the way we think about everything in our life changes. Even though God might not literally split the sea in front of you, every season and circumstance is an opportunity to follow Him wherever he leads you, including in how you handle your finances.
Pursue God, and don't panic. Trust in His provision and continue to move forward.