My aunt and uncle recently lost their home in the Nashville, Tennessee tornado. Before they could turn on the TV to watch the weather, they heard a freight train sound and felt the air change. They dropped to the floor just as their roof blew off.
In the chaos, they motioned to one another to crawl downstairs to their storm shelter. But the downstairs door would not budge because of the intense pressure. My aunt began to cry out, “God, help us! God, open the door!”
“Aubrey,” she told me, “You're going to think I'm making this up… But in that moment, the door flew off of the hinges and we made it to safety.”
Their entire house was demolished, but over the next few days, as volunteers came to help them pore through the wreckage, they discovered other miracles: the trunk of memories, from their son who died five years ago, was saved; the height chart on the wall, where they measured their kids and grandkids’ growth, was still standing; their study Bibles, filled with decades of personal notes, were unharmed.
As I consider that story alongside the cultural moment we're in right now, I have no doubt that God has authority and dominion over every storm. Simultaneously, God is deeply intimate, caring tenderly for those things that matter to us. As we're facing this novel virus and the swirling news, chaos, and emotions around it, let us remember, Women of God, this season is a spectacular invitation to lean into the truth about who God is—almighty and loving, able to conquer anything that tries to defeat us.
With that in mind, I want to point out four truths that can guide us during this season—from the story of Jesus feeding the thousands, in the book of John chapter six:
A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. John 6:2
Throughout the Gospels, we see that an essential sign of the Kingdom of God at work on this earth is Jesus's healing power. Jesus has authority over illness, brokenness, and evil, and his healing ministry is never divorced from his compassion and salvation. Therefore, we can take courage. Let’s use this time to get on our knees and plead for Jesus to show us, our friends, our cities, our nation, and the world his miraculous healing-salvation power.
With that knowledge is also the reality that God, in his sovereignty, doesn’t always heal everyone. With the spread of this virus and other tragedies, many of us are grieving deeply right now. In seasons of sorrow, we don’t have to run from the pain or pretend that it doesn’t exist. Like the disciples, we can walk closely with Jesus—trusting him to be near in our distress.
And while we may not have answers, we can sit before God in the unanswerable, knowing that we have access—to God’s comforting presence, peace, and eternal perspective. We also have hope that one day there will be no more pain, sorrow, or death (Revelation 21:4) because Jesus is making all things new.
Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look to him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip for he already knew what he was going to do. John 6:5-6
God is asking us the same question he asked Phillip, ultimately: “Do you believe that I am on the throne, even now? Do you trust that I know what I'm going to do? And that I'm already doing it?”
Let us lean into this profound truth—just as he provided manna in the wilderness, and bread for this massive crowd, God already has a plan for us. Whether it's the Covid-19 or something else you're up against, this season is not a surprise to God. Because of that truth, we can refuse to give into fear, anxiety, and panic. We can have peace and trust that our God is at work bringing his glory and our good out of this situation.
“There's this young boy over here, he's got five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that?” John 6:8
Just like the disciples, it may feel like we have limited resources right now. And yet, who we have matters more what we have. God takes our limited resources and multiplies them, and he never tires; we can keep coming to him, “Okay, God, school got canceled and so we don't know what we're going to do.” Or, “God, our business is being impacted by this. We are nervous.” Or, “God, our family is really worried and scared right now. We need your help.”
We can cry out to God about our fears without any fear; He loves to answer us by multiplying our breadcrumbs into his supernatural supply.
So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves. John 6:13
It is no coincidence that there are twelve baskets of leftovers—one for each disciple. This goes back to God's intimacy and kindness to us. I mean, imagine the disciples holding this miracle in their hands. They're smelling it, savoring it, tasting it, seeing the leftover bread.
Just a little bit later, these same disciples are going to see their Rabbi hanging on a cross. Some of them will lose their own lives. They are about to face one of the darkest moments they have ever faced. And yet, they're going to remember the miracle they held in their hands, and they will know that this is not the end.
God knows our hearts and that we need little tastes of his goodness, reminders of his power in seasons like the one we’re facing now. Spend some time thinking back on your life over the last decade or so. Make a list of all the ways God has provided for you – big and small. And over the next few weeks, if you ever feel confused or uncertain, return to your list and remember the ways that God has always provided. God will continue to provide today.
Above all, remember this:
Not only does Jesus heal; he is our healing.
Not only does Jesus provide for us; he is our provision.
Not only does Jesus feed us, he is our nourishment.
Not only does Jesus provide miracles; he is the miracle.
Not only does Jesus save; he is our salvation.
Aubrey Sampson is the author of Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame, Rebuilding Your Soul and The Louder Song. She and her husband Kevin, with their three young sons, planted Renewal Church in the Chicagoland area, where Aubrey serves on the preaching team. Aubrey is part of the Propel Cohort at Wheaton College and travels around the country speaking and preaching. Find and follow Aubrey on Instagram, Facebook, and on her website.