This Too Shall Pass

Kim CrabillBy Kim CrabillJanuary 4, 202311 Minutes

This too shall pass. How many times have you heard those words since the arrival of the coronavirus? How many times have you spoken those words to someone else—or whispered them to your heart in the middle of a sleepless night? This too shall pass.

The words are not new. They’ve been passed along countless times, including in a speech by Abraham Lincoln, when we’ve needed reassurance that whatever we’re experiencing right now will not last forever.

But is that all we can expect of these difficult days—that they’ll pass? Is our job just to stay home, shut out the world, squash our thoughts and emotions, and wait for it all to be over? Or is there something more for us to grasp? If all we think about is when this crisis will pass, might we miss something very important—even valuable—from God? Don’t we want to be able to look back and see that these difficult days also contained gifts?

God has been challenging me in His Word that He has not put me in a holding pattern during this time. Rather, He wants to sharpen my focus in several ways. I’ve turned the word pass—P.A.S.S.—into an acrostic to help me remember what God has been showing me about being an instrument of hope in these days of the coronavirus.

P as in Purpose

The P in my acrostic stands for purpose. God brings purpose and opportunity to every day, even the worst ones. He has done so since the beginning of time. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God prepared us in advance for a good purpose. We were born with it! And Romans 11:29 tells us that our purposes and our gifts are not revocable. That means even in a pandemic, our purpose is still in place. God may have changed the environment around us a bit, but our purpose is still in place.

We may not know yet exactly what that purpose is. Or we may have had a clear sense of our purpose pre-COVID but cannot picture what that looks like in the “new normal.” But we know from Ephesians that it involves doing good. So let’s start there. Let’s say, “Yes, this is going to pass but it’s not going to pass without us doing something good for God and the people He loves.” Let’s focus on one purpose that God has given to every one of us: to let Jesus shine through us. If you think God isn’t giving you opportunities to shine while you’re stuck at home, you aren’t paying attention!

A as in Audience

The A in P.A.S.S stands for audience, specifically an audience of one.

In Numbers 20, Moses brought water from a desert rock for his thirsty community and their livestock. The people were jubilant at Moses’s success. But God—not so much. God had told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses struck the rock with his rod. We can speculate on why Moses did what he did, but God summed it up this way: “You did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites” (v. 12).

As we use our gifts and talents for God’s purposes, we may be able to make those around us oooh and ahhh. But let’s not confuse the applause of others with the will of God. Let’s do it God’s way, always, no flourishes that draw attention to ourselves. Let’s make sure all the glory goes to the Giver of our influence, skill, and giftedness.

Choosing the right audience is about more than not showing off. When a mighty army was coming against King Jehoshaphat (see 2 Chronicles 20), he told God, “We don’t know what to do, but we will keep our eyes on You.” He chose an audience of one, and that audience gave him power he could have found in no other audience. Jehoshaphat teaches us that when we feel powerless—in the face of illness, divorce, job loss, grief, and other armies—we run to the one who is powerful on our behalf.

S as in Seek

For the first S in our acrostic, we turn to Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Seeking is active. Seekers find ways to be in God’s Word every day and to be around God’s people. Have you noticed how creative we’ve become at seeking each other out in spite of social distancing? Texting, Zoom, FaceTime, and so much more. It may take extra planning and effort right now to seek God and the people He has put into our lives, but God made us creative. Let’s use that creativity! We can come through knowing our friends and family better, and even seeing some of them ask Christ into their lives because we walked through this with them. This is not the time to hide from one another; this is the time to seek.

Jesus was a seeker. The Bible tells us He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The Gospels also tell us that He would regularly seek His Father in prayer. One such prayer time stands out to me, His prayer before facing the cross: “If it is possible may this cup be taken from me…” I love that His prayer is so raw and so real. Put yourself into that place as you seek God through prayer. Admit to Him, “I don’t like what you’re asking me to do. I don’t like this coronavirus. I don’t like staying home. I don’t like this cup.” His presence is going to surround you as it surrounded Jesus and will see you through this troubled time. Others will notice you staying strong because of your love for your Lord, and they will give God glory because of what they see.

S as in Serve

Now let’s get to our last S. Remember, we’re spelling out the word pass as in “This too shall pass,” but we’re taking that phrase a step further. We’re saying yes, it will pass but it will pass with a purpose. We are going to do what God has called us to do each day, and we’re going to do that for an audience of one, looking to God alone for the power to keep going. And instead of hiding until the worst is over, we are going to seek deeper relationships with God and people.

And finally, we are going to serve. Whatever God asks of us as we seek Him, let’s say yes. Just say, “Seems too large, but I’ll do it if You say so.” Or “Seems too small but I just know You’re up to something good and I want to join in.” Practice  good deeds? I’m in. Be kind? I’m in. Forgive? I’m in for that too. Sing praises to You? I’m in. Start a prayer group on Zoom? I’m in. Sew face masks? I’m in. The list could go on and on.

Among Jesus’s last words were these: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…therefore go.” He’s still saying that to us today. Even when we’re under stay-at-home orders, we can practice “going” in the way we speak into one another’s lives, post on social media, express written gratitude to those who serve us, and more. Would it surprise you to know that the way you respond to a crisis is also a way you serve another person? Your example of confidence in Christ may be the best gift of service you can give anyone even if (or maybe because) you are unaware you are serving them.

Passing Through

When the Israelites walked through the dry land that was once the Red Sea, they ended up stronger. They were changed because they passed through. And the three young Hebrew men in the book of Daniel: When they were thrown in that fiery furnace they came out better for having passed through it. And no doubt many of those who witnessed the miracle of the Red Sea or the fiery furnace came out better also for having met such astonishing faith in such an awesome God. My prayer for all of us is that we pass through our coronavirus trial with a similar power that makes people stop and declare, “Wow, that’s some God you follow! Tell me more about Him.”

Watch Burdens to Blessings with Kim Crabill on Inspiration TV