Coronavirus: Unshakable Faith in a World That is Being Shaken

We are living in shaky times. As a global pandemic of coronavirus makes its way around the globe, taking lives, crashing stock markets and threatening the livelihood of millions, people are afraid. How are you doing handling the fear. Or maybe put another way, how’s your faith holding up? In this special edition of the Gary Wilkerson podcast, Gary is joined by Keith Holloway, the Senior Director of Missions Development at World Challenge to talk about faith in a time of fear. We hope this podcast gives you hope and encouragement that even in desperate times like these, God is in control.

Gary Wilkerson: Welcome to the Gary Wilkerson podcast. We have a very special edition for you and over the next few weeks we'll be bringing some information to you and some encouragement and some scripture, some thoughts from the heart of God that I believe will really help you through, what for many of us has been a difficult time and for our nation, a difficult time. And also, for the global, not only the health situation, but the economy and just the fear level, a pandemic not only of a coronavirus, but a pandemic of fear.

I'm here with a good friend and a theologian and a man of God and a great missionary as well. He helped World Challenge mission organization, launch poverty solutions. And now that's in 44 countries helping alleviate the poverty around the world. So, he seen crisis. You know, we're-- I was thinking this morning about, we as Americans, we, you know, when you don't flex your muscles very much when you're required to, it's a little bit strenuous on that muscle that's not been engaged. And I think our faith, faith over fear muscle is not been engaged very much. But you've seen that sort of all over the world. You've been, you've been in countries that have been facing famines and Ebola, you've been in, what was it, what country was that?

Keith Holloway: Congo.

Gary Wilkerson: You were in Congo, there was Ebola there. So, so you've been around a lot of people that have had to deal with things for a long time. So, I'm looking forward to our conversation today. Just before we start, let me give you a couple other resources I think could be a great help to you. One of my dear friends and our staff members as well, Bob has mentioned he's found something from my father, David Wilkerson, that I, I'm not actually even familiar with, haven't heard yet, but I want to go ahead and recommend it to you. I believe it sounds like a great resource. It's called "In One Hour..." A sermon that he preached a while back. And in that there's, my father, if you're not familiar with him, was very prophetic and had an insight into some helping the church deal with perilous times. And in that resource, he mentions about in one-hour bars and large gatherings and things closing down.

And so obviously there's something that the Lord has been making aware to the church even before that in one hour. Also, on our website, world, there's an interview I did with WAY FM radio and it talks about some things that I think could be real practical helps to you in facing fear and as always, there are other resources available to you and you can subscribe to our podcast. So, hopefully over this next month or two as people are slowing down, we could be of a, not only weekly encouragement but even a daily encouragement through another resource is our daily devotions, which you can sign up for online. Sorry Keith, for that long introduction, I didn't want to put you to sleep there.

Keith Holloway: No problem.

Gary Wilkerson: Glad you, you've been giving some thought to this. I wouldn't mind starting, I don't know if you have it in front of you, but you sent out an email to me and some of our friends from, I think it was Spurgeon? Uh, do you have that in front of you?

Keith Holloway: Martin Luther.

Gary Wilkerson: Martin Luther. Okay.

Keith Holloway: It was some pastoral advice. He does. It was Martin Luther's pastoral advice that he gave out during the time of the black plague. This was in the mid 1300s, effecting Europe and other areas of the world. And of course, you know, the statistics of that plague somewhere between a conservative 20 million upwards to even some say 100 million people died during that time, but it was a time perhaps in some ways similar to what we're just starting to face now where there's a lot of intrigue, fear, a lot of the unknown that was destabilizing economies and systems, but also lives of course. And so, he stated this, that, "I shall ask God mercifully to protect us, then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus per chance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me. And so, I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me. However, I shall not avoid place or person, but will go freely as stated above. See, this is a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God." I just think that's very apropos for our time today.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah, I think so too. I think the dichotomy that he, the tension he's drawn there is phenomenal in the fact that, you know, he's doing things to safeguard his life and the life of others because he wants to live. He wants to serve God to, to live as Christ. I can serve God even more and love my family even more. But then he also-- I love the tension there that he takes it, you know, but if God so chooses to take me, if, you know, my days are numbered and if this is my time, then I'm going to go without fear. I'm going to go without-- I'm not going to go, you know, sort of cowering in my corner with the, you know, cross and Holy water, throwing it at people. So, I like that, that tension there and that's, you probably picked that up.

Keith Holloway: Well, it's a nice blend, I think of faith and common sense.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah.

Keith Holloway: It carries in it, you know, the boldness of faith, the strength of the Spirit in a life of a believer, but it also has a really a Holy Spirit sensitivity that in the midst of your exhibiting faith in a trying time, you still have that love, that care, the sensitivity to those around you. And, you know, we need both in this hour. In fact, we need them in every hour. We needed them three months ago. We need them today. We'll need them three months in the future. But to see a greater blend of faith, not that's been compromised by fear or allowing fear to drive us inwards, but to remain ready to answer the call and fulfill the destiny that we have in the commission that God has given us.

Gary Wilkerson: That's good. That's good. Do we-- you know, we-- Keith, you and I are not, we're not physicians. We're not-- we don't work for the CDC, so our expertise here is not in what to do medically. There are some good resources for that. And nor are we politicians to make declarations about, you know, whether crowds of five or 50 are better, things like that. But we are men of God. We can say that without hesitation, not any boast on our own, but God has put his Spirit in us, and he's given us a word. And if we don't have that, we might as well step down from the ministry. So, we, I think we have something to say today. The confusion, I think even in what people are hearing from the pulpit, concerns me.

So, you've got on one hand, churches like, there was a church in Asia that was promising that if you were a member of that church, no sickness would come to the church. And they're claiming by faith that the, you know, like no, you know, real true believing faith centered person is going to, if they claim it by faith and you know, the blood is over the doorposts, no one's going to get sick. And then the other churches are saying kind of like, you know, this is a curse of God upon sinners and the world and, you know, we deserve this. And it's kind of almost like a, not a gloom and doom, but just a kind of a hopeless despair type message. What do you think is, would you take either of those extremes?

Keith Holloway: No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't take either those.

Gary Wilkerson: What would you say a discerning, Bible believing somebody who understands the heart of God and the word of God? Where do you think we'd come down on encouraging people? Fear. Faith. You're going to get sick. You're not going to get sick. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Keith Holloway: Yeah. What we know happens, we have always a natural response or a reaction to things that happen. And sometimes we get confused to what is natural and what is maybe unnatural, unspiritual.

Gary Wilkerson: Sometimes our natural thoughts we think aren't spiritual. If you have like just a natural concern, it feels like fear. Is that kind of what you're saying or...?

Keith Holloway: Yeah. You know, someone jumps behind a wall and scares you your natural reaction to that. But, to say that natural reaction is wrong, is a sin, is not really keeping in line with the Scriptures. Yet, on the other hand, we shouldn't allow fear, which often in the life of a believer might reflect an absence of faith or a diminished faith. And perhaps people are finding themselves at this time, you know, praying from a perspective of hope. In other words, I hope God hears me. I hope God will protect me. I hope God will keep the virus away from my family. But this is a time when the faith that we've been living, the faith that's been growing in us, in our walk with Christ, time for it to elevate. And our prayers can be prayers of faith that say, I know my Redeemer lives.

I know that his protection is sound. And, and then to not allow the natural to override the supernatural. We are born again believers. We're walking in the natural, but we're also being led and guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. So, it's a, I think it's an awesome time for us to not feel diminished, but to actually feel prepared for this hour where we have an answer of the hope that lies within us, where we're able to instill not just this broad thing of hope. I hope it works for you. I hope something, you know, hope you can make it through, but rather to declare, I mean, you know, there's times that we pray with faith and there's times we proclaim with the same faith. So, I think now is a great time for believers to stand in faith, proclaim what God has said. Let the Bible be the foundation of our walk and our comments. And then, I believe God will honor that. And I believe his promises are yes and amen. That they'll come to pass.

Gary Wilkerson: I think that's a word from the Lord. That's why I invited you to be on today. I knew there'd be something that was, you know, being a man of God, you'd have a word from God. And I think that is, for me it's been-- The primary thing I think I'm seeing is-- Let me go ahead and ac turn there. From Hebrews the 12th chapter, Hebrews 12. This is what I really feel the Lord has been speaking to me. And that's really what I want to do on this podcast to share this thought as well. Hebrews 12, verse 26, when God spoke from Mount Sinai, his voice shook the earth. But now that speaking of our time that we live in, he makes another promise. Now when you think of promises, they're good.

Like, yeah, Oh God, I want all the promises of God. You hear that in a lot of pulpits around the world almost every Sunday. Like you can fulfill the promises that God has for you. I love that. But his promise is rather strange here. Once again, I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also. That means all of creation will be shaken and removed so that only the unshakable things will remain. I think the reality of the context here is he, speaking of end times situations, but I think it can be carried on into the-- 'cause he's also says in context now, now I'm making you a promise that things are going to be shaken. And there are various shakings that go on from the Martin Luther’s time in 1300s. History repeats itself as we are told, and there's this idea of shaking.

This means that all creation will be shaken and removed so that only the unshakable things will remain. We are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable. And I love that phrase there. We are receiving a kingdom. It's not past tense, ‘we have received the kingdom’—although there is a past tense reality to it, ‘we have received the kingdom of salvation’—but we are receiving the kingdom of sanctification, of hope, of faith as you're saying. And these things are unshakable. And my encouragement to people who might ask the question, might come to this podcast today, that say, "Do you have any word about helping me through the fear, the trepidation, anxiety, the direction. Do I go outside to get groceries?" You know, and just to say that in the midst of all the shaking that's going on in the world today, there is an unshakable foundation.

There is an internal foundation of an unshakable faith, of an unshakable hope, of an unshakable resolve that I know my Redeemer lives, and I know there's joy unspeakable and full of glory. And sometimes we have to, you know, claim it by faith. You know, that this faith is something that we have inherited, but now we have to receive it. And that's what he's talking about here: to receive, receiving a kingdom that is unshakable. And then he goes, “Let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him in holy fear and awe.” And so, the response when shaking comes is we have an unshakable kingdom internally in us and a foundation under us and a God all around us. So, let's give thanks. And we don't give thanks for viruses or plagues. We give thanks in them that there's an unshakable kingdom.

And my prayer is that some, I think there could be, and you know, I mentioned my father's sermon earlier. He was prophetic. I don't really have that gift, but I have some spiritual discernment, and I have the word of God. I see in seasons like this, that God has a purpose in shaking things. You know, some people think it's just, they attribute it all to the devil. The devil is sending this situation, or the devil sent that thing. And certainly, the devil is involved in all wickedness and evil. But, but here in this context, again, we're seeing God shaking things for a purpose, or certainly allowing things to be shaken up.

My prayer is that it would turn people to God. I know in my own life. Here's my confession. I try to be honest in this thing, my heart was slipping a little bit towards kind of helping the church live the sort of, the joyful, kind of overcoming and peppy happy, you know, like you can do it kind of mentality or, you know, most of my sermons over those past six months have been inclined and they’re not horrible, I'm going to throw them out. But this sobered me in a good way. And it drew me to scripture in a way that I haven't had in a long time. It almost in my own heart, I wouldn't say I was dead spiritually by any means, but it's revived me, and I think if it's doing it for then I think that might be doing it for other Christians and it might even be doing it for those who are maybe nominal Christians or borderline observers outside the family of God. But looking in, maybe starting to do that. And even people without any faith at all starting to have to shake that. So that's kind of where I'm at. Where would you say you're feeling in this?

Keith Holloway: Yeah. I'm right there with you. You know, I'm with you in all that you just said. I think it is a time of shaking, but the shaking is really external. Or at least it primarily is external, but this is speaking of a kingdom that is not shaken. It says that it is a, in verse 28, a kingdom which cannot be shaken. Let us have grace that there's grace that is sufficient in these kinds of times and troubles we face. He's a Redeemer that lives. Psalms 97 verse one just simply says, the Lord reigns. Let the earth rejoice. I like that. It's so succinct. It's powerful. He reigns. Rejoice.

Gary Wilkerson: That first, sorry to interrupt, but that first part, when you understand that you can rejoice. If you don't understand the first part, you can't rejoice. Sure. I like, that's a great succinct way.

Keith Holloway: Again, moving away from this idea of hope. I hope things work out. I hope God will answer my prayer. Maybe he'll come through to be enabled to say, emphatically, the Lord reigns. He is in control. He sees all, he knows all, he is with me. The Bible does tell us that the kingdom of God is within us. When that kingdom reigns within us, that grace, it's not just, grace is not just that unmerited favor, but it speaks of a divine power that's within us to be able to live for God, to live in righteousness.

Our response in these times can be, we acknowledge the things in the natural realm, but it should raise up within us. This grace should rise up within us and we are able to say not only to ourselves, but those around us, “The Lord reigns. The Lord reigns. He's in control. He's watching all.” And, and I think it is, these are times of testing for every person on the earth. And the reaction to it, will let you know generally where people are in their life and especially in their walk with God. I know at my local church we did the online thing and like so many are doing. And yet, we had 35 respond for salvation over the broadcast. And normally, you know, there's maybe a few to a half dozen or so that generally respond and 35 in one--

And why? Well, these testings are putting people to the test. It's shaking confidence. It's people that put confidence in those natural things, in finance and government and the normalcies of life. And it's shaking them, and that shaking can either be for destruction, or it can be something that revives in them a sensing that “I need more than what I have,” and they're seeking God. And it's a great time for believers to realize that and let our response be exactly the word that they need, that the Lord reigns. You can come into the Lord, and he can take control of your life, and he can reign and rule over you. Keep everything of the natural in check. He's going to see us through. So, I mean, these are perhaps even precursors to things to come. If we are honest, looking at the scriptures, you know, there's plenty of things in the scriptures that would speak to us, that all people on the earth—saved and unsaved—go through challenges and testings; and there's purpose in that. And so, we have to be positioned to be able to respond both practically and spiritually to the needs of the hour.

Gary Wilkerson: That's good, Keith. And that's what I think what you're saying is going to help us be positioned for the practical things in the hour. And so, yeah, we're going to continue for next week, and I want people to just, maybe rehearse this, or hear this a couple of times, this podcast and go to Hebrews and go to some of these other scriptures that were a thing and some of the resources that we talked to you about earlier in the podcast. And then next week, I want to dig in a little bit even deeper into some of the things that God's doing behind the scenes. I just want to encourage you to just, no matter what you're facing, you know, we-- I talked earlier about the two pendulum swings of the church saying nobody's going to get sick if you claim it.

And the other one is saying, like it's all it's all over. And the reality is there's going to be some people that, there are Christians that will be affected by this and there are Christians that will lose loved ones by this. And we need to be able to be able to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. And so, facing the reality. But, and I love what you're saying though Keith, that's really helped us today by saying, the reality is true. That there are difficult times, perilous times. Jesus says but that we don't, we don't fear. We don't cower. We, we take courage. We stand strong in the Lord and we can be faced with a temptation to fear, but we will be fearless.

And so, I want to close in a word prayer. And so, let's come back next week and talk about this little bit more. Okay. Thanks for joining us today. Father, I pray for anyone who listening today if they have even the slightest sense of trepidation, fear, anxiety, worry, stress. Lord, you reminded me the other day just how the medical world tells us that when we are anxious and under stress, our immune system goes down. So, you see the enemy's ploy not only to spread this sickness, but to make us more susceptible to it. So, we thank you God, you have an armor for us, and we put on that armor of faith right now so that it becomes like a shield to protect us from these fiery darts. And Lord, you would keep even us sound in spirit that our spirit would be under control.

Our soul, the emotions, the mind would be under Spirit's control and the body. Lord, we would rest well. We would take care and we thank for these things in Jesus name. Want to encourage you as you maybe some people are, I can't remember the name of the self-isolate, self-isolating, you know, I mean I keep hearing time and time again, Hey, it's a great time to binge watch and have at it. I think it's a great time to Bible binge, to prayer binge to, to have conversation with your family or spouse about the good things of God. So, this could be a time of great spiritual revival. Oftentimes in history you've seen that happen, haven’t you? Something horrible that the enemy sends, and God raises up a standard against it. And, and the enemy is-- it's back to the cross. He thought he had won a great victory of the death of the Savior and it was actually a resurrection moment. So, a resurrection life is for us. Thanks again, Keith. God bless you.

Notable Quotes from the Podcast

…in the midst of all the shaking that's going on in the world today, there is an unshakable foundation. There is an internal foundation of an unshakable faith, of an unshakable hope, of an unshakable resolve that I know my Redeemer lives and I know there's joy unspeakable and full of glory. – Gary Wilkerson

I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God. – Martin Luther

We are born again believers. We're walking in the natural, but we're also being led and guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. So, it's an awesome time for us to not feel diminished, but to actually feel prepared for this hour where we have an answer of the hope that lies within us… - Keith Holloway

Bible Verses Mentioned in the Podcast

When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. – Hebrews 12:26–28 NLT

The Lord reigns; Let the earth rejoice; - Psalm 97:1a

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast 

About Keith Holloway

Keith Holloway is the Senior Director of Missions Development at World Challenge. Keith is a CHE trainer, facilitator, and a member of the Global CHE Network’s Representative Council. He and his wife Maureen live in Colorado Springs; they have six grown children and seven grandchildren. 

About Gary Wilkerson

Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church, which he launched in 2009 with a handful of people. He has traveled nationally and internationally at conferences and conducted mission ventures such as church planting, starting orphanages, clinics, feeding programs among the poorest of the poor and the most unreached people of the earth. Gary and his wife Kelly have four children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.

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