I woke to a phone ringing in my ear. Why was my phone ringing, I wondered? It’s the middle of the night here in Albania. No one should be calling me now – unless it’s an emergency!
As I hit the button to accept the call, I heard my husband on the line. “Honey, I’m so sorry to wake you but President Trump just announced that all flights from Europe will be closed on Friday.” (And this was Thursday morning).
I had spent a week of ministry in Budapest and then had just had a fruitful week of ministry in Durres (Albania). I had arrived in Berat on Sunday, to have a number of meetings with women here. When I had left the states, the Coronavirus had just started in Italy. By the end of the first week, there was talk Budapest would shut down schools and businesses. During the week in Durres they had no positive cases of Coronavirus. I have no doubt that it was God who allowed this week of ministry to happen.
When I arrived in Berat, there were still no cases until the following morning. As soon as they discovered the virus, the government began to close everything. Kids were sent home from school. Universities were shut their doors. Soup kitchens, restaurants, coffee bars and any other large or small gatherings were prohibited. I wondered if they were going to kick me out of my hotel.
By Wednesday, I had begun to think the airport might shut down so I had already begun to consider changing my ticket so I could “get-out-of-dodge.” (I had changed my flights once already so I wouldn’t have to fly through Rome, but I wasn’t leaving Albania until Saturday.) The government was not giving us any information. They were just shutting things down at will, no notice whatsoever.
As I sat in my hotel room that early morning, God brought to mind, the Scripture I had just read earlier in the evening . . .
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14.14
The Israelites were on the run from the Egyptians. Their backs were up against the Red Sea and they could see the dust of thousand chariots racing toward them. This is what Moses told the Children of Israel and it was what God was telling me that early morning in Albania. “I will fight for you Kristi, be calm.” (And He did! I’m writing this blog from my office in Michigan. To Him be all the glory and praise!)
God is still on the throne! He has overcome the world!
Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16.33
The last day I spoke in Durres it was to over sixty women, many of them unbelievers. I shared with them the Confident Hope (Ephesians 1.18) we have in Jesus. I had a long red rope, and two inches of the end of the rope wrapped in yellow duct tape. I took the yellow end and held it up – “this represents our life here on this earth, just two inches.” Scripture says we are just a breath (Psalm 39.5). The red part of this rope is eternity! This yellow part is filled with earthquakes, sickness, sorrow and death. But eternity stretches on forever . . . will you chose eternal LIFE with Jesus or eternal DEATH? Jesus died to set you free. He died so you might spend eternity with Him!
We had no idea what was right around the corner for these women. We have no idea what is right around the corner for us, either. Fear and panic are all around us but as followers of Jesus there is no need to walk in fear. We have a CONFIDENT HOPE, not wishful thinking but a sure thing!
And we fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12.2), place our trust in Him, (not the government, not in amassing great amounts of toilet paper, food, etc.). AND HE BECOMES OUR PEACE in the middle of whatever situation we might be facing today, tomorrow or in the future.
Spilling His Grace,