The Voice of the Lord in Times of Crisis

Every day the Christian is surrounded by a sea of voices. From the time we wake up until we lay our weary heads to rest we are bombarded with messages vying for our attention. We are constantly being confronted with worldviews and belief systems that call us to abandon our allegiance to the one true God.

This usually happens in subtle ways, as the shifting sands of our feelings and the lethal undertow of culture cause us to slowly but surely drift away from the faith. As C. S. Lewis famously wrote: “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” But the competing voices we hear also come to us in more obvious ways, as we scroll through social media on an hourly basis, consume endless amounts of entertainment, or listen to everything our favorite news network tell us.

As foreigners and pilgrims in the midst of an unbelieving world, we know that these voices are out there. We know that the world, the flesh, and the devil are always against us, hissing in our ears and tempting us to question the truth of God’s Word. And so, by putting on the whole armor God and making use of the ordinary means of grace, we strive to stand firm in this evil day (Eph. 6:10-18).

But during times of crisis—especially a national or global crisis, such as a pandemic—some of these voices can become, quite literally, almost deafening.

The Real Danger in Times of Crisis

In the face of such uncertainty and panic we are quick to turn on the news and check our social media feeds to be in the know at all times. And in this age of information news seems to be breaking constantly, so we keep our televisions on and phones in hand to keep up with the latest update. This naturally then dominates all of our conversations—whether around the water cooler or the dinner table. Because of all that we’re seeing and hearing it’s all we want to talk about, and everyone seems to have an opinion and to crave even more information. Especially when the daily routines of life are put on hold, it’s all we can do not to think or talk about the crisis we are facing.

Why do we do these things? Why are we tuning in to everything that’s being said—regardless of its source, its truthfulness, or its usefulness? Why do we find ourselves obsessing over the news, discussing it to no end, even resorting to pointless conjecture and gossip? Because we all want answers for our questions. We all want to know that everything is going to be alright. We all want to feel secure. The more information we gain, the more prepared we can be; the more knowledge we have, the more assurance we have. And this is true, to some degree.

Yet whether we realize it or not, the real danger in times of crisis is that we end up centering our lives—our thoughts, our emotions, and our affections—on the crisis rather than on the Word of God. As a result, we find ourselves surrounded with the voices of fear, panic, uncertainty, doubt, and self-sufficiency. While news outlets and social media can certainly be of great benefit during such times, it is all too easy for the flood of voices out there to drown out the one Voice which we need to hear most: the voice of the Lord that alone “is over the waters” (Ps. 29:3).

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

Now, more than ever, we need to be devoting ourselves to the Word and prayer. We need to hear the voice of the Lord that thunders; that is powerful and full of majesty; that breaks the cedars and makes the mountains tremble; that flashes forth flames of fire and shakes the wilderness; that bends the oaks and strips the forests bare; that causes us to cry out ‘Glory!’ (Ps. 29:3-9).

Rather than calling conspiracy all that this world calls conspiracy, and fearing all that this world fears, we must fear the Lord in reverent awe and obedient faith (Isa. 8:12-20). Instead of looking all around us for security and peace we need to look up to our Maker; he is the God of our salvation, the Rock of our refuge (Isa. 17:7, 10). We need to be nourished by the “pure spiritual milk” of the word of God’s grace that we may continue to grow up into salvation, that we may continue to taste and see the Lord our God is good! (1 Pet. 2:2-3).

We need to hear the voice of our good Shepherd, the risen Lord Jesus, who “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” that we might find pasture (John 10:3, 9). He has promised to lead us beside still waters and restore our soul, comforting and protecting us as we journey through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23).

In times of crisis, we need to hear the word of Christ so that we may be rooted and built up in him, established in the faith, and abounding in thanksgiving (Col. 2:6-7). His voice alone can calm the raging seas and “call into existence the things that do not exist,” giving life to the dead (Rom. 4:17).

This will mean turning off the news and putting down our phones more often. This will require setting aside specific times to read, meditate upon, and even memorize Scripture. This will involve intentionally steering conversations towards spiritual matters and the glories of the gospel. This will mean leading your family in times of worship and prayer each day.

The King Over the Flood

David concludes his meditation on the voice of the Lord in Psalm 29 with these words:

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:10-11

As we center our lives on the Word of the risen Lord Jesus, he will give us strength to endure whatever crisis we face. As we listen to the voice of the Lord, our Savior-Shepherd, he will indeed bless us, his people, with peace.

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The monthly roundup of resources for February 2020.