The other night I was scrolling through social media when I saw an article posted by a friend. Although the title was positive enough, the content was not. Instead, it laid out a worst-case scenario for both our country and the American church. Needless to say, this article upset me. It left me feeling hopeless. If their doomsday prediction came true, what was the point of even trying to move forward? For several hours, the article spun around in my head. I just couldn’t shake it. (I feel bad for Jamie and the friend I contacted to ask an opinion.) There was just something about it that bothered me on a deep level. It wasn’t until I went to bed and started reading the Bible that I could put my finger on exactly what was disturbing me. It was missing a very important ingredient: Faith. Honestly, some of the points the authors made were true and very practical. Yet, even though the author was a Christian, it was written from a very secular point of view that didn’t allow for God to do miracles. Sure it said that “Of course, God could do…” but then it went on to say what would happen when He didn’t. (To be clear, the assumption was that He would not.) That’s a problem for me because I still believe in miracles. I still have hope that God has a bigger plan to create good from evil, something from nothing, to work all things together for the good of those who love Him. I believe the God Who has done so many miracles in the past will still do what He needs to do to advance His kingdom. Perhaps this is going to be a difficult time for the world, but in the church, we should be believing for greater things and encouraging each other to believe for more. We need to be reminding ourselves that we serve a God Who fed His prophet, Elijah, bread from ravines. (I Kings 17:1-7) During a famine, He miraculously provided a widow with food. (1 Kings 17:8-15) He turned Egypt upside down to deliver His people. (Exodus 7-14) Then He parted the Red Sea, (Exodus 14) fed them with manna and produced water from a rock, (Exodus 17). He gave His people land they could have never possessed on their own. He is the Giant-slayer, the One Who closed lions mouths and kept the three Hebrew children safe in the fiery furnace. (1 Samuel 17, Daniel 3 and Daniel 6) He is the God who fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. In the New Testament, He healed the sick and raised the dead, and He is still the God Who heals. In a few weeks, we will celebrate that He is the God Who conquered death. He’s the God Who began, sustained, protected, and advanced the Church for over 2000 years. During intense persecution, the kingdom of God not only survived, but thrived and expanded throughout the world. Yet now we think that this God is stumped by the coronavirus? It’s a fine line we are walking—We need to honor science and obey the authorities, we need to follow the guidelines we have been given, but we also need to be people of faith. We need to be people of hope. We need to be the ones spreading faith and hope to those who have none. For me, this isn’t just a “theological” principle. The fact is that I’ve seen it played out in my life. The truth is that Jamie and I have been living by faith for years. We are both aware that without the “but God” factor, we would not have the lives we are living now. The truth is that through extremely difficult circumstances God called us to trust Him. When life didn’t make sense, God said, “Follow Me”. When other people told us, “You have to give up this dream that you are following God. God isn’t coming with a rescue plan, you have to fix things yourself”, we, knowing that we were following God, chose to keep living by faith. And God came through. Miraculously. Supernaturally. In ways, we never could have imagined and still can’t believe.
The truth is that I've lived miracles. I've seen God provide when financially it seemed impossible. I've seen healings when the doctors said, "It's impossible." I have friends who were told they couldn't have children who now have miracle babies. I've stood in awe and said, "There was no way that should have happened, but God did a miracle."
In light of all I've seen personally and read about in Scripture, I just can't look at forecasted models and say, “This is what’s going to happen to church”. I can’t ignore the “but God" factor. I’m not living in denial, I know things are bad. I recognize that in the next few weeks and months, things might change. Maybe they should. Perhaps some of the methods the American church is using need to be revised. Maybe God has a better plan. One thing I know for sure is that even if the landscape changes, it doesn’t change God’s power.
Maybe this crisis will even accelerate God's move in our country. Maybe the Church will grow. Maybe we’ll grow-up and stop majoring in the minors and being mired down in complacency and sin and rise up and take the place God has for us. Maybe we’ll dream God-sized dreams to reach the lost and hurting around us. Perhaps this is the curve in the road that leads us into revival. I just can’t believe it isn’t possible. I need to believe that out of this difficult time, God has a purpose. One thing I know for sure is that we are called to be people of faith. This isn’t the time to fall into defeat. It’s time to rise in faith. It’s our calling. It’s our legacy. This doesn’t have to be our doomsday—it could be the beginning of our finest hour. As Christians, I truly believe we need to start approaching this crisis in this way. Trust me, I know it’s easier to get caught up in fear. It’s even easier to just hunker down and believe this will pass and life will get back to normal. I think the question we have to ask ourselves is “Do we want things to get back to normal?” Why is normal our goal? Instead, I believe that we need to take this time to seek God and ask Him to fill us with fresh vision, greater passion, and stronger faith than we have ever had. It’s time to believe in miracles again. It’s time to walk in faith—to believe that God has a plan to bring something good out of these ashes and to ask “What role do you want me to play?” We can’t abandon the concept of faith. We can’t look at circumstances and ignore the “but God” factor. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not talking about some reckless, crazy, irresponsible, civil disobedience, but rather a faith that believes God has a plan and a purpose to advance His kingdom and see souls brought to Him. This is the kind of faith we need to rise in our hearts and minds. It’s the kind of faith directing our lives.
This is what I believe.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.