Passover began today at sundown. It is a time to remember how God delivered the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt and led them to the Promised Land. As I thought about this story, I realized it has some interesting parallels to what our world is going through today with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all living a stripped-down life in one way or another right now. Nothing is like it used to be. We are crying out to God to save us and send relief. There is sickness and financial loss and death.
Some days we may feel like the Isrealites did as they wandered in the desert. Many of us are remembering what life was like before, and longing for “the good ol’ days,” regardless of how “good” they actually were. Compared to right now, those days seem way better! We grumble and complain that we can’t enjoy the food we love, or go to the gym, or get together with friends. We look back like the Isrealites did and wish we could have what we had before. We don’t like that God seems to have brought us to a place we dislike, so we build idols to other gods.
But God had a plan. His plan was not just to deliver the Isrealites out of Egypt and let them live in the desert. No, He had a much better plan for them—the Promised Land. He wanted to give them a land of their own, one that was flowing with milk and honey. You see, God promises to work out all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. But the key is to see things through God’s eyes. The Isrealites ended up spending 40 years in the desert instead of 40 days because only two of them (Joshua and Caleb) could look past the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their path and trust God’s ability to deliver them once again.
You may feel like you are trapped in Egypt. Or you may feel like you are wasting away in the desert. Things looked pretty bleak for the Isrealites, too. But when they finally made it into the Promised Land, they were told to remember what God had done for them in the past, and how He had miraculously delivered them and given them victory in the land. They were commanded to tell it to their kids and grandkids so they would not forget.
Can you think of any stories of God’s faithfulness in your past? Do you remember times when God answered big prayers or provided for you when you thought you were out of options? Remind yourself of God’s past goodness in this time. Tell your children or your spouse or your friends of what God has done for you. It is these testimonies that people need to hear most in hard times to give us hope again.
As a Christian, when I think of Passover, I always remember the story of the Last Supper, when Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover meal. His disciples didn’t know that before the next evening came, their world would be shaken and Jesus would be crucified. They lived a very dark few days, grieving the loss of their friend and teacher, as well as the loss of all their lost expectations of who they thought Jesus would be and what He would do.
The day that Jesus was being crucified, the enemy thought he had won. If he had known that Jesus’ death would lead to our salvation, he would have tried to stop it at every turn. Instead, the enemy celebrated. I believe the enemy is celebrating now. Churches are closing their doors. People are sick and hurting and dying. People are wondering where God is. For the disciples, the day when Jesus was beaten and crucified, and the dark days that followed, must have been excruciating. But as morning dawned on the third day, God’s plan was revealed, and His victory was made known.
Was God’s plan at work in those days of darkness as the disciples mourned? Was His plan at work as the Isrealites suffered through some of the plagues that they were not spared from? Was God’s plan at work as they wandered through the desert? God was not worried or out of options. He knew what He was doing to bring good out of those bad and dark and difficult situations.
Will we have eyes to see God’s ability to do what seems impossible as Caleb and Joshua did? Will we trust God to lead us through even this dark time? As Passover begins and Good Friday and Easter approach, let us remember that God is still on the throne. He is inviting us to be like Moses and intercede for our people. He is inviting us to encourage others as Joshua and Caleb did when they tried so hard to convince the rest of the Isrealites that God could help them defeat the giants of the land. A change is coming. God is doing something major. He is not celebrating this pandemic, but He is planning to bring victory out of it and thwart the plans of the enemy.
Ask God for eyes to see His hand at work. And tell the people around you of the times God has proven faithful in your life. Let’s be encouraged and be what we are called to be—the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).