Coronavirus: Tribulation is an Opportunity to Be a Testimony | World Challenge

Coronavirus: Tribulation is an Opportunity to Be a Testimony

The spread of coronavirus has struck a deep chord of anxiety in our country. The quarantine and unstable stock market have only added to people’s fears. Many believers, though, may find their family and friends are open to the gospel for the first time. In this week’s special episode of the Gary Wilkerson podcast, Keith Holloway joins us again to discuss how believers can steady their hearts. And with that peace comes opportunities to share the reason for our hope.

Gary Wilkerson: Welcome once again to the Gary Wilkerson podcast. I'm here with my dear friend and theologian and missionary, Keith Holloway. He was with us last week and brought some really good insights. If you haven't seen that podcast, I want to encourage you to go back to last week, as well. There are also other resources available for us at worldchallenge.org. In a season like this, where some people are self-isolating, I think it's really important to use this time wisely, to use it to grow in your faith, to be encouraged in your faith, and certainly to overcome any fear or anxiety or stress that we might have. We're going to talk about fear today. We're going to just kind of put a nail in that coffin of fear, just try to put that thing to flight today, because it just destroys the work that God wants to do in us. So, Keith, thanks for being with us today.

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: Looking forward to talking to you a little bit more. So, fear. I'm going to start with a few things, then I want you to respond as well.

Keith Holloway: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: As I think about fear, to me I see it as being, there's the presenting problem of fear, and then there's something underneath that fear. So, for instance, people that have a fear of flying. You know, it sounds ridiculous, but the reality is they have a fear of crashing. You know, they're up in the air. They're like, "How's this thing going to hold up in the air?" People that have a fear of, let's just say spiders, they're really afraid the spider's going to bite them, and not turn them into Spiderman, but actually cause them to die.

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: You know, to be a deadly spider. It's like we're afraid of the black widows, not so much the daddy long legs. And so, fear is taking... The Psalms talk about, David was talking about when he got sick, he said, "All my friends are imagining the worst. They see me never getting up off my bed." And fear is the imagination. You know? So, I know when the coronavirus, this thing started to present itself here in the United States, my wife said... She came to me one day and said, "Man, my wrists are really hurting. They're really sore." And my first thought, it was really strange. It was like, "I wonder if that's... I'm going to go online and see if that's one of the symptoms of coronavirus." And obviously it wasn't. Then later on, when I found out she had overdone it on her Pilates machine.

Keith Holloway: Oh.

Gary Wilkerson: So, you know. But that's what fear does. It takes something that is serious and sobering but turns it into the zombie apocalypse. It turns it into, "Me and my whole family are going to die of this." And the reality is we have, in America and around the world, lost some people, and we will lose some people, so there is a reality to this. But the... Jesus called it the vain imagination, of where we take something, and we run it down. And so, there's fear. There's a fear that... What do you think theologically, scripturally, when you think of fear? What are people really wrestling with?

Keith Holloway: Well, as we were talking off camera, the idea that a pastor recently said that if you have a fear issue, it's likely related to a faith issue.

Gary Wilkerson: It sure is. Yeah.

Keith Holloway: And those are not synonymous terms, of course. They're in contrast to one another. Whereas the fear would... Fighting against the fear. When we talk about living by faith, and moving in faith, a lot of people, "Well, what does that really mean?" Obviously, faith is putting your whole hope and trust in God. And fear, one of the first things fear does is seeks to magnify or increase circumstances, the unknowns, and brings you to a place where you maybe don't even recognize it, but you've diminished God.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah.

Keith Holloway: In your mind, in your heart, He's-

Gary Wilkerson: The fear becomes so big, God becomes small, or-

Keith Holloway: Yeah. All the circumstances look so overwhelming. It's a time of unknown. Your mind... As you say, the vain imaginations run wild. What if? Could this be like? And it tends to cause a diminishing of God in our mind and in our heart.

Gary Wilkerson: I don't want to interrupt you, because that's a good thought. I want you to continue that. But my mind's racing as well. The sovereignty of God, you can't diminish it, because it is what it is.

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: But in our minds, it becomes diminished.

Keith Holloway: Oh, absolutely.

Gary Wilkerson: And so, God becomes smaller, our problems become bigger. And that's what you're talking about, faith or fear.

Keith Holloway: Right. What is it? Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinks, so is he." If we're thinking about the magnitude of all of the natural circumstances in front of us, and we're watching the news 24/7, and we're only looking at those things, unbeknownst to us, it can be a subtle thing, where our concept, our belief, our faith level in God begins to diminish. So, if there's a fear issue, there's likely a faith issue. And this pastor said, "And if you have a faith issue, there's likely a God issue."

Gary Wilkerson: The way you perceive God?

Keith Holloway: The way you're perceiving Him.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah, that makes sense.

Keith Holloway: Our last broadcast, we talked about how it's easy to perhaps move to where we pray, and we say we're praying, but the reality is, we're praying with this kind of an abstract hope. "I hope God hears me. I hope He'll protect me." In reality, as you say, the sovereignty of God is absolute. It's unyielding. It is what it is. But our perception to it. If we think on these things, then we can walk in that confidence. We can walk in that security. Also, combating fear is actually acknowledging your circumstances. Many times, a Psalmist would say, "Look, I'm in a dire place. The enemy is against me. I've got nothing. I'm left alone. I'm in the miry clay." He acknowledged the circumstances, but he lifted... In that time, he lifted his voice. He lifted his heart.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah.

Keith Holloway: That was faith arising. You know, he was being put to the test, and we are today being put to the test, but that faith is always seeking to rise up, elevate God, lift our hearts and our thoughts to him, and it stabilizes us and keeps us ready and prepared for the tasks at hand.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah. That's really good. That's good. As I was listening to you, I was thinking... I'm going to use this as a... This is a seesaw, and on one side is faith, and the other side is fear.

Keith Holloway: Yeah.

Gary Wilkerson: And as fear becomes heavier in our heart, and the more we concentrate on that, it weighs towards that. And God wants to have the... And the word glory in Hebrew, I know you know this, speaks of weightiness. It's the thickness. It's the thick presence of God. That's where he wants the weight to be, on the thickness of the presence... There's nothing that turns fear to flight like the weightiness of God, the sovereignty of God, the majesty of God. In its reality, it's the presence of God. And that weight brings us down to the solid foundation, and kind of causes... It's a little bit silly, but picture the seesaw so strong that it just flings fear away, and-

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: But the concept of God then comes into play. The third thing you said is that the faith issue is a God issue. I think Tozer's probably our best Christian writer of the last few centuries when it comes to speaking of that. You know, the majesty of God. I'm reading a couple of his works right now, and it's just really helping me in a season like this. He talks about anything we have in our life, whether it be fear or a sin issue, is a wrong perception of who God is. And so, I think that's what you're speaking of, isn't it? That-

Keith Holloway: Well, it is. All of us, we read books.

Gary Wilkerson: Right.

Keith Holloway: And so, I'm reading right now The Life of Christ by F.W. Farrar, the edition in 1888.

Gary Wilkerson: Wow.

Keith Holloway: Writing from England on the life of Christ. And in it, he's really bringing this sometimes life of Christ, the whole issue of Christ and our life in Him is a bit abstract to some people. They have imagined what it's like. The reality sometimes can be missing. And he's saying that the life of Christ that is within us is always seeking external exhibiting. In other words, it has a reality.

Gary Wilkerson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Keith Holloway: And I think now in our times, what we're facing, many people are being challenged, not even by external. I think they're being challenged internal. What I have, is it going to stand the test? What I have in me, is it enough to see me through? Is it going to be God ever present? Is He an ever-present help to us? And these are the challenges that people are facing, and even that can be quite fearful for people. You know, Jesus said, "When I return, will I find faith on the earth? O, you faithless." So, wow. Can I even have faith? So, some are seeking, "How do I know if I have faith or not?" I just say, faith will always drive you to the word of God. If you're not a student of the word of God, then you're just a reader. And while reading is better than nothing, but the faith will drive us to the word of God. The word of God will speak to us and reveal to us that life of Christ that becomes an ever-present help. The scriptures will speak to us in these times. It'll give us directions. It'll give us specifics that we can focus on.

I'd like to just share with you, Gary, Psalms 103. It's a scripture we say a lot. But, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name." Well, people right now, in the circumstances, they might say, "I'm not sure I feel a lot like blessing. I'm very concerned, and this could be very dangerous. What do I do?" The Psalmist says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul. Do not forget all of His benefits, who forgave all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeemed your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness, tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles." Well, amen. I'm encouraging myself reading that, you know.

Gary Wilkerson: Right.

Keith Holloway: To remember the benefits of God. Today is a bit dark for many. Faith is being challenged. Circumstances are changing, unknown. We're in unknown, uncharted waters for most. Yet, the scriptures. That's why I say, faith rises in us. It should drive us to the word of God. And let's hear God's word to us, God speaking to us. And encourage us all to remember... Take a moment today, and stop, and look back, and remember how many times God has seen you through. How many times he's answered prayer. How many times he's healed you. How many times your family has been delivered. That will raise us to a faith level that will not only match, but it will exceed, the challenges of our day.

Gary Wilkerson: That's right. There are times in my life where I'm struggling with fear of something happening in my life, and there's this... You know, the older I get in the Lord and in life, the more now I get into that season of fear, or whatever it might be, that I know is not the way the Lord would have me to live. There's this sort of gentle thing in the back of my head, saying, like, "You're going to regret feeling this fear, because later on you're going to say, 'I didn't need to fear in the first place,' or I didn't... " You know, so that... I'm learning to deal with it sooner now. "Okay, I'm in fear now. I don't want to have to tell the Lord later, like, 'Oh, I'm so sorry I lived two weeks in fear.'" To bring it to the Lord. That's what Psalms 103... And all the Psalms are great.

Keith Holloway: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: In a season like this, if we would just ourselves in the book of Psalms.

Keith Holloway: Yeah, absolutely.

Gary Wilkerson: Because David, the Bible says, "He encouraged himself in the Lord." He honestly faced his... He said, "Lord, you have abandoned me. I'm on my sickbed. My pillow has become a pool of tears." So, he was honest. Keith, I'm going to just talk about three things real quickly that I believe the Lord has put on my heart, that can help people through a difficult season like we're in in the world today. Number one is to look in. You kind of addressed this with the faith issue, to look inside to see what's going on in our heart. A lot of Christians do not feel comfortable looking in. They feel it's like a, "Oh, it's a negative confession. I feel some fear. I'm not going... " And really, what they're doing is suppressing it. They're not dealing with it. They're putting it down.

Keith Holloway: Covering it up.

Gary Wilkerson: And what will happen then, that fear turns into a deeper anxiety. It's actually called dread, and it could come up in physical sickness. It could come up in anger. It comes out in another way. So, look in and admit... Again, that's where the Psalms are good. David was really clear about, "Here is the present circumstances I am facing, and I'm going to confess that to the Lord. I'm going to share that with the Lord."

The second one is to look up. If you just look in, that's where you get on the therapist's couch, and continually rehearse the same problems you're facing over and over again, for years and years and decades even. And so, the look in only gives us hope and faith if we secondly look up, we look to our Redeemer.

Keith Holloway: Right.

Gary Wilkerson: And so, I like this, in Psalms 46, verses two and three, it says, "So we will not fear when earthquakes come, and when mountains crumble into the sea." Verse three, "Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge." I'm just going to stop there for a second because David is not saying, in Christ, or in our hope, the earthquakes won't come, or the mountains won't crumble, or the oceans won't rage or foam. He says, "We will not fear when those things happen." So, the reality of the fallen world from Genesis 1 on to the healing waters of Revelation 22, I think it is, in between those two trees, of the tree of garden, the tree in the Book of Revelation, in between those two trees, there is going to be… scripture talks about the earth groaning. You know, as the struggles, and there's this thing. That is all these things that he's talking about. So, it's not that these things might happen, but these things happen. And I loved David's thing, "Let the oceans roar." Bring it on, man!

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: Bring on anything you got! And he says, and the key verse here to me is, "For God is my refuge. He is my strength. Always ready to help me in my time of trouble." And so, this is so brilliant to me, that the Christian has a response even to death. You know, we started this podcast on the fear of death. So, some people are going to face death.

Keith Holloway: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: There are going to be Christians. There are going to be pastors, older pastors, maybe that this thing will bring an end to their physical life. And so, we could be mistaken in thinking, "I thought you said God is my refuge and my strength, to help me in a time of trouble. Well, then shouldn't that person get raised up off of their deathbed?” Well, no. Maybe he's going to help them live a godly life and then have a peaceful death, a godly death, a death that is... Again, as Paul's saying, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Keith Holloway: His gain. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: You know, I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and when my doctors called me on a Thursday. I'll never forget. A Thursday night. She said, "You have thyroid cancer." And I just said, "Oh, wow. That's scary." She said, "I'll see you Tuesday," and hung up the phone. And I thought, "I should have asked her, 'What is thyroid cancer?' Or what?" You know, "And I've got to wait ‘til Tuesday now." I called her back. I said, "I want to find out what kind of cancer this is, and what are the prognosis, and am I going to die tomorrow, or do I have a little bit of time to live?" Again, we talked about it last week, the imagination going crazy.

Keith Holloway: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: You know. I tried to call her back, and she didn't answer. A Thursday night. Then I made the big mistake of going to online. You know, the WebMD? It said there's two types of thyroid cancer. One is you have about six months to live, and there's no cure for it, and the other one is probably the best kind of cancer you possibly could get, because it's very easily treatable, and it doesn't return very often. But I didn't know ‘til Tuesday. I go into her office and she tells me, "Oh, you have the good kind." But for four days there, I was literally in... You know, I was crying myself to sleep. I was telling my wife, like, "You've been such a great wife. I love you. Here's where my will is, and here's... " You know? But I could have had the other kind, and I think there are many godly men and women who have gone on to be with the Lord, who had faith. It wasn't like they had a negative confession, or anything like that.

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: And so, but regardless, live or die, ‘til our last breath... And our life is a blade of grass. But to our last breath, we can claim this. No matter what happens, to the earth quaking, and the mountains crumbling, and the oceans roaring, and the pandemics spreading across, God is my refuge. He is my strength. He's always ready. Always ready to help me, live or die. He's with me in all of these processes.

And the last one is just look outward. You know, look in to see what we're struggling with, and we look up and present it to God, and then we look out to others and say, "Okay. Now I can be a help." This is what Jesus talked about in Matthew. Actually, it's been Matthew. And then Luke 21, he talks there about plagues and diseases and famines, earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars. But he doesn't conclude saying, you know, "Sorry, guys. I know it's going to be rough." He says, "This is going to be an opportunity for your testimony."

Keith Holloway: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: And to me, that has two prongs to it. One is being fearless and having faith, like you talked about earlier. In the midst of storms like this is a testimony in itself.

Keith Holloway: Yes.

Gary Wilkerson: Even if you don't say anything. People asking, "How are you living without any kind of anxiety and fear?" And then secondly, maybe even helping somebody. I particularly say maybe younger people, finding somebody in your neighborhood that might need you to run to the pharmacy for them, or pick up an extra roll of toilet paper at the grocery store, and just tell their neighbor, you know, "Hey. You might need this." So, it's an outward focus, too, which I think is one of the great ways to... Circling back around looking inward, one of the great ways to stop looking inward too much is by focusing outwardly, as well.

Keith Holloway: Sure.

Gary Wilkerson: Sorry, Keith. I didn't mean to-

Keith Holloway: That's a good sermon.

Gary Wilkerson: ...have you sit there during my sermon. You mentioned another-

Keith Holloway: I'm ready to give an offering.

Gary Wilkerson: You mentioned another pastor's sermon. I got jealous. I wanted to give you one of my own.

Keith Holloway: Well, what you were saying caused me to think back, how readily we would run to Hebrews 11. You know, it's the hall of faith. I'm going to measure myself by these hall of famers of the faith.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah, right.

Keith Holloway: You know? But when you look at that, you say, "Well, that's a faith that I might not know much about."

Gary Wilkerson: Right.

Keith Holloway: Faith that carries you through, subdues kingdoms. And you read through there the overwhelmingly powerful, supernatural things that happened in their lives, but they all paid the ultimate price.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah.

Keith Holloway: And then when you follow the-

Gary Wilkerson: What do you mean they paid the ultimate price?

Keith Holloway: Well, they died.

Gary Wilkerson: Oh, okay. Yeah.

Keith Holloway: Many of them, most of them died as a martyr.

Gary Wilkerson: They're all dead now.

Keith Holloway: Well, they're all dead, for sure. For sure by now.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah, because... You know. I think in the church today, we love to preach the first half of that Hebrews [crosstalk].

Keith Holloway: Right.

Gary Wilkerson: You know, it's like they conquer kingdoms, and they slew giants, and they... But you don't hear many sermons on the second half of Hebrews 11, of that they were sawn in half, and... You know?

Keith Holloway: Yeah.

Gary Wilkerson: But both of them were faith, right?

Keith Holloway: Sure. And the carry through for me, that applies to us today, you walk through, if you will, the hall of faith, and you look at each of these personalities, and you see lives of normal men and women, not all in positive circumstances.

Gary Wilkerson: Right.

Keith Holloway: Some of them operated when they were under control of other governments, and so forth. But they walked by faith. They served God, like David, in their generation. They made a mark. But they paid, also, a price. Right?

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah.

Keith Holloway: But when you carry that then on into chapter 12, it's like the writer is bringing it... This is the past, now bringing it to you. To run this race, this race of life, to challenge the challenges of your day, you've got to look unto Jesus. And it's strongly tied to what you said, look up. You know, look to the hills. There's more I would say on the look to the hills, but on this, let us lay aside every weight. Let us lay aside sin. Let's take this opportunity, when everything that's shaking can be shaken.

Let's take this opportunity. Let's lay aside these things that have become a heaviness to us, that bog us down in our walk with Christ, especially sin. This is a great time. God is challenging our hearts. This is not a time to be introverted, and go into despair and depression, and, "Oh, I'm such a depraved guy." You remember, back more years than we want to admit, I went through a season like that, and you snapped me out of it one day. You said, "Man, get ahold of yourself."

Gary Wilkerson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Keith Holloway: There's grace.

Gary Wilkerson: I remember that.

Keith Holloway: Grace is there. You remember.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah.

Keith Holloway: That's 40 years ago.

Gary Wilkerson: Wow.

Keith Holloway: But that's still applicable today.

Gary Wilkerson: We were both six years old at the time.

Keith Holloway: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it says... So, how do we run today with endurance? How do we run today with perseverance? How are we going to make it through this? That's really what people are saying, because it's the unknown. Well, the scripture again. "Let us run with endurance the race, the life." How? Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Gary Wilkerson: Yup. Yup.

Keith Holloway: You realize our faith, we say it's ours, but it's only ours because it's been given to us by Christ. It's really Christ's faith in us-

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah, I know.

Keith Holloway: ... that He's given us. It's the gift of faith.

Gary Wilkerson: Powerful.

Keith Holloway: And that faith grows like a muscle. The more we use it, the more we put it out there, it grows. It gets stronger. We're more able to endure. We've got a spirit of perseverance. We're going to make it through. We're going to give praise to God. We're going to have a good word for our neighbor. We're going to serve those who we can, when we can, how we can. We're not going to be in fear and trepidation. We're not going to put signs on the door, "Stay six feet away. Don't call me, because I'm isolated."

Gary Wilkerson: Right.

Keith Holloway: No. It's a boldness. It's saying, "God is sovereign. He's over me."

Gary Wilkerson: That's right.

Keith Holloway: "I'm going to run my race. If I pay a price, amen. If not, then my faith is growing, and I've been obedient to the call." And we just leave it in that sovereign hand of God.

Gary Wilkerson: Wow. Wow. I like that. I like that you're encouraging me to trust, you know. And that's-

Keith Holloway: Well, I was reading some scriptures in Revelation. People typically wouldn't go to Revelation for comfort, but it does say, "Share these words of Paul." I think it's in, maybe it's First or Second Thessalonians, specifically. But, "Comfort one another with these words." And the words were related to things to come in the end times. So, I think these times, by and in large, you're hearing voices. Those are not necessarily voices of faith, voices of the sovereignty and the greatness of our God. It's not voices that are saying that we're going to fulfill the plans and the destiny that God has for us.

Humanity, even when we watch the news, we hear government people saying, "We're going to come out bigger, better, stronger." Well, you know, we all say amen to that, and we believe toward that. But there may be a time when something doesn't quite turn out that way, and we have challenges, long, ongoing things. After the plague back in the mid-1300s, can you imagine 50, 75, 100 million people dead? It disrupted everything, and it took them a long while to get over just that sickness, but to get back to what we could call normalcy.

And how are we going to make it? That's the key. What are we to do? Because people may be facing loss of paychecks, sickness of friends and family. This has to be a message that resonates inside the heart. Look to Jesus. As you said, look into us. Check ourselves. Lay aside weights and sins. Look to Jesus. Look up and remember His goodness and His kindness and His mercy. This is a kingdom of grace, which is power. And when we say we're going to make it through, we're going to make it through according to the plans and the purposes of God.

Gary Wilkerson: Yup. Yup. That's powerful.

Keith Holloway: Because His plans, His purposes are not being derailed. They didn't go off track. This didn't catch Him asleep. He fully knows. He's touched with the feelings of our infirmities. His ear is open to the cry of the righteous. His right arm is still outstretched to pick up. We just have to believe.

Gary Wilkerson: I like that.

Keith Holloway: I say, "Believe and obey." They go hand in hand. So, this is a time where believers can really walk in obedience, and walk in strength, and I think that it will be a sharp contrast to what perhaps is the majority view around us.

Gary Wilkerson: Yeah. Yeah. You know, you talked about the muscle, that faith is like a muscle. As you were saying that, I was picturing the weights in a gym. The trainer will tell you that you have to have tension. You can't just go like that, and say, "Oh, I'm doing curls." You have to have a weight in there, and-

Keith Holloway: I'll take your word for that.

Gary Wilkerson: We've been to the gym together. You know. And so, I think the chaos and the crisis and the troubles and the trials, that those are the weights. And so, to the faith muscle, it takes those things and uses them for growth. For, as Jesus said, "Opportunity for your testimony." Whereas someone without faith will avoid those things, and just say, "Run from the problem. Run from the crisis. Run from... Hide in fear and trembling." And I would encourage people in this season to use the faith muscle now-

Keith Holloway: Yes.

Gary Wilkerson: ... and to kind of pick those tensions, and say, "Oh, yeah. I will strengthen myself in the Lord." David said, "Why so downcast, O my soul? I'll put my trust in the Lord." Because I think you and I theologically would agree, this is not the last of what the end times will bring upon the earth.

Keith Holloway: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gary Wilkerson: Things will... I think some ways it'll get better, because Revelation 21 says, "Let he that is holy become more holy," in one translation, "And he that is filthy become more filthy." That's kind of the end times picture I have, is the church being triumphant and strong and holy and pure, and militant in a good way, of loving the world deeply. But then, the world becoming more depraved and separated from God, and angry at the church. And we don't have time to get into a whole lot of end times theology here today. We can maybe do that on another podcast. But just to say that this won't be the last trial or tribulation we face-

Keith Holloway: No.

Gary Wilkerson: ... and that muscle has to say, "I count it all joy" when I work through this situation, rather than counting it as, "I'm angry at God, how dare He allow this to happen in the world today... " More perilous times will come. And if we don't learn in some of these... I don't want to belittle this, because it's very serious, but to some degree, this could be a lesser storm. This is proving right now to be lesser than, for instance, the black plague you were talking about, in the 1300s. But regardless of what happens, it's something we need to learn to grow in, rather than-

Keith Holloway: Sure, but I think that is the nature of the biblical faith. It's there. We're living. We're operating. The righteous live by faith, and not by sight, not by feelings. It elevates at a difficult time. And I would just challenge, encourage and challenge all of us that at this time, faith would maybe be asking questions. What can I learn? What can I learn about God? What can I learn about myself? What can I learn about my present lifestyle? What changes, positive changes could I make, that would better position me, my family, into the plans and purposes of God? How could I move from level to level in Christ? And the question could be, when we're talking with our friends or neighbors, what are we learning? What can we see that would improve our station, and not be so overwhelmed by, perhaps of that...

You know, Peter said in First Peter, chapter two, that, "I've tasted that the Lord is good." This is a time for faith to arise and people to say, "I know the Lord. I know the Lord is good. I know that every good and perfect gift comes from Him." And we share that, in word and in deed. To carry through on that chapter, he's reminding people, "You're a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession." Why? “That you may proclaim the excellency of Him who's called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God is calling people right now, at this time, this dark time. God's voice is clearer; it is stronger, and it's calling people to pull them out of that darkness, that darkness of fear, that darkness of sin, that darkness of godlessness, to bring them into his light. And we, as the believers, this time can stand up and proclaim the goodness of God.

Gary Wilkerson: Amen.

Keith Holloway: We can proclaim the excellencies of Christ.

Gary Wilkerson: Wow.

Keith Holloway: So, it's a word that's needed.

Gary Wilkerson: It sure is. I'm being encouraged by hearing it. I really appreciate that. Well, Keith, I'd love for you to take a moment, if you don't mind, just praying for people that are listening to us today. And I particularly picture this prayer around the faith, fear, God. Knowing God, who He is. Having a right understanding of God, but just helping people through their fear. Do you mind closing us off with a word of prayer?

Keith Holloway: No. Thank you.

Gary Wilkerson: And thanks for your words of encouragement. Those scriptures you brought to bear, and your thoughts were very well spoken. Thank you.

Keith Holloway: Good. Okay. Heavenly Father, thank you for this day.

Gary Wilkerson: Yes, Jesus.

Keith Holloway: And we thank you, Lord, that in the midst of what we can perceive as a dark time, hallelujah, there is a light that's shining. There is a voice that is speaking. There is a hand that's being extended. And this day, we pray that the excellencies of Christ, that the glories of God, the practicality that you deliver men out of darkness, that you pick people out of the miry clay, that you will break off of people fear and doubt and unbelief, those things within our belief system, those things which reside within us, that would tend to quench faith, you're able and willing this day, Lord, to deliver. If any soul would just cry out and say, "Father, here am I. Oh God, here am I. Jesus, I need you," then you will hear the cries of the righteous. You will hear the cry of the needy.

And we thank you that you are a delivering God, you are a saving God. We thank you that your protection and your promises and your provisions are yes and amen to us. And we pray, Lord, for those today that are struggling, those today that are under the weight. As Pastor Gary said earlier, the anxieties, the weight, that oppressive spirit, the feelings of the unknown, gripping their hearts. How we pray today that your Holy Spirit would speak your kind and gentle word to them, "Come unto me. Just come to me. If you're heavy laden, if you're burdened, if you're in fear, if you're in doubt, if you're scared out of your mind, come to me today, and you would give them rest."

We thank you. We're going to believe you for good things to come. We're going to believe that the destinies that you have for your people, and for those that you're calling from darkness to light, will come to fruition. And this day does not have to be a day of being overcome, but a day to where we can overcome, and we can walk in faith, we can walk in hope, we can walk in grace. And Lord, we're thanking you today that you are the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. We ask it and we praise you, in Jesus's holy name. Amen.

Gary Wilkerson: Amen. That was anointed. I felt God's presence there, as you were-

Keith Holloway: Amen.

Gary Wilkerson: That's going to help people. That's a prayer of faith, and that faith is for you that are listening today.

Keith Holloway: Yes.

Gary Wilkerson: If you have been blessed at all or encouraged by what you've been hearing last week or this week, in this difficult season that we find ourselves facing, we want to encourage you to share that with others. Let them know about this podcast, and also you can subscribe to it. And check out our resources at worldchallenge.org. There are other materials that will help you through this, and as maybe you have some more time to pursue the Lord, there are some resources there that will be a great help. In the footnotes, there will be some things on some of the books that you mentioned. Maybe you can help us get the title of that book, and I'll share the one by A.W. Tozer that I'm reading right now, and those can be some great resources for you. Grace and peace to you. Look forward to seeing you next week.

Key Questions from the Podcast

  • What is at the root of struggles with fear?
  • What does it mean to live by faith?
  • How are we going to endure and persevere through this coronavirus pandemic?
  • What can we learn from God and about ourselves in difficult times like these?

Notable Quotes from the Podcast

There's nothing that turns fear to flight like the weightiness of God, the sovereignty of God, the majesty of God. In its reality, it's the presence of God. – Gary Wilkerson

…faith will drive us to the word of God. The word of God will speak to us and reveal to us that life of Christ that becomes an ever-present help. The scriptures will speak to us in these times. It'll give us directions. It'll give us specifics that we can focus on. – Keith Holloway

David is not saying, in Christ, or in our hope, the earthquakes won't come, or the mountains won't crumble, or the oceans won't rage or foam. He says we will not fear when those things happen. – Gary Wilkerson

Luke 21, Jesus talks there about plagues and diseases and famines, earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars. But he doesn't conclude saying, you know, "Sorry, guys. I know it's going to be rough." He says, "This is going to be an opportunity for your testimony." – Gary Wilkerson

…that applies to us today, you walk through, if you will, the hall of faith, and you look at each of these personalities, and you see lives of normal men and women, not all in positive circumstances. Some of them operated when they were under control of other governments, and so forth. But they walked by faith. They served God, like David, in their generation. – Keith Holloway

God is calling people right now, at this time, this dark time. God's voice is clearer; it is stronger, and it's calling people to pull them out of that darkness, that darkness of fear, that darkness of sin, that darkness of godlessness, to bring them into his light. And we, as the believers, this time can stand up and proclaim the goodness of God. – Keith Holloway

Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. – Proverbs 23:7a

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits. - Psalm 103:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! - Psalm 42:11

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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