All posts by Cheri Riddell

It wasn’t a strong, forceful army that stormed our beaches, or even an enemy we could see and identify.

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It is no secret that this invisible little virus has brought our country and our world to its knees.  It wasn’t a strong, forceful army that stormed our beaches, or even an enemy we could see and identify.  Two weeks ago, almost everyone had a job and you knew how to pay your bills.  Two weeks ago we were free to go where we wanted and do as we wished. Two weeks ago the stores were opened and the shelves were stocked.  Two weeks ago we could go to a restaurant and enjoy a relaxed meal out.

Our doctors warned us once they saw the wave that was coming.  They could see an invisible Tsunami laying people in its wake, overtaking the hospitals, as we would innocently spread this virus from one to another.  Do you know someone who has been affected?  I’m aware of several now and I’m praying for them and their families… (So far no one in our church family).

13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13,14

It is astonishing to me that some are relating faith, or lack of faith, to who gets this virus.  Jesus never said anything like this.  He did say your eternal life is in his hands…he never promised immunity to disease, or trials, or problems, or heart break.  But he did promise to be there with us, loving us through it all.

Jesus said:  “[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).  The affected by this virus are both Christian and non-Christian, they are people of faith and those who claim no faith whatsoever.  What Jesus was saying in this statement is that the Love of God is extended to those who love him from the bottom of their heart, and God’s hand is also extended to those who still need to acknowledge that He exists. God wants so much for those who have turned their backs on him to turn around and love him.  It is all based on the love of God

The point is, God is alive, and powerful, and God is to be reckoned with.  

Romans 8:35 Can anything separate us from the love of God?  Can we drift too far? Can we out-sin the love of God and fall out of any chance at being forgiven?  God’s grace is greater than that!

God doesn’t condone our actions in life, but at the same time He will never compromise his standard of holiness.  Rather than dismiss our sin, he assumes it, and sentences himself. God is still holy, sin is still sin, and we are redeemed.

God knows our situation.  When we ask him to get us out of the mess we are in, He pays the price and we become free from the burden we were under.  Our debit is paid so that we can live the life that God intended for us since the beginning of time.  Jesus pays for our freedom with his own life.  But Jesus life does not come to an end as we would think… His life is eternal and his life continues to give us our life in him.

Romans 8:31-39
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has redeemed? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:  “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Last Tuesday night a young lady from the small village of Parquepujio, located on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, contacted me through Messenger to know firsthand how we were dealing with the virus.  (She had watched a news summary and wanted to know if this threat was really true, because she wasn’t aware of anyone in her country that had it, and she had heard it was fake news).  A year ago I was in Bolivia and met her at the town of Amacari and she friended me on Facebook.

I reported that while no one in my inner circle has been affected, I am aware of six people with possible symptoms and one who has been tested positive.  We talked about the hardships that this virus has caused and then I repeated a statement I made to Bill Findley last week, “If this isn’t the beginning of the end of the world, it is a pretty good test run.” J

The young lady made a comment that she hoped that this wasn’t the end of the world… but I could sense fear in what she was writing to me.  So I asked her if she was ready if the world were to come to an end.  She said no, then she confessed that a year ago she wanted to talk to me about her condition.  She told me that at church she knows all the right answers but she hasn’t been living the way she should and there is a situation that she knows is separating her from God.  She continued that she didn’t know if God could love her anymore because of what she is doing.  I didn’t press her for what that might be but assured her that God is patiently waiting for her to come back to faith. She told me that she was convinced that God could never take her back. Her choices had condemned her.  I wrote that many times the lies of Satan are to convince us that we don’t matter, God can’t love us, that we have lost our chance … or, on the other hand, that what we do has no eternal consequence, all of these statements are the opposite of the truth. 

Finally at 1:00 in the morning we said good night, but in the process a lost lamb was returned to the sheepfold of our Savior.  I encouraged her to talk to her pastor, (who just so happens is a pastor who traveled with me in Peru for many years).  The young woman assured me that she would let her church know of her renewed faith in Christ and that she wants her church members to hold her accountable to make right choices.

Friends, this is the power of God and this is the mission of the church.  No matter what happens, no matter how our country recovers from this invisible threat, remember that your faith is based on the love of Christ… not on your circumstance, not on your ability to overcome on your own.  So I invite us to continue to Trust unswervingly.  Love deeply.  Live wholly, in the strength of the Lord.

It is my prayer that we will begin to have conversations like this here in our own neighborhoods. God is extending the same love to those around us as He does on the mission fields.  Let’s continue to pray for ourselves that we would take risks to speak to those around us; let’s also pray for our neighbors that they would also open their hearts to be sensitive to the love of God. Our mission field is all around us, just as the love of God is patiently being offered to all wo will accept it.   

During this pandemic we have been given a chance to spend time at home.  I hope you spend time praying for yourselves and for your neighbors. As the Spirit leads, speak to those who need to know the truth and the assurance of God’s love.

13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13,14

Ken Comfort