The post covid 19 world looks like a totally new reset. The lock down has brought a massive global reset emotionally, socially, mentally, ideologically, financially, technologically, economically and epidemiologically to name a few.
There are certainly some positive upgrades from the reset. We are seeing the power of video conferencing, and the WAH (work at home) culture shift is bringing more quality family time. Having said that my condolences and prayers go out all who have been hit really hard by this unprecedented tragedy.
I trust God is working all for great good, not just working a natural reset, but a spiritual reset with an associated upgrade for all the saints. For all you who have given out, but now feel tired, God spoke to me a word of comfort through Elijah’s journey.
1.RESET FROM ENTITLEMENT TO EMPATHY
Elijah in First Kings chapter eighteen had just seen God demonstrate his power at Carmel. The fire fell and even consumed a drenched sacrifice. Many rejoiced and did away with the prophets of Baal. God’s justice was satisfied and rain came, bringing relief from famine.
However, the proceeding chapter nineteen reveals a great turn of events. Elijah decided to run away, as Jezebel the evil queen sought to kill him. What went wrong? His life had been in grave danger before, yet he’d remained resilient?
Elijah had expected the whole nation to turn back to God. He thought, ‘Surely, everyone will turn. God showed up!?’ But, not queen Jezebel, she hardened her heart. She was trying snuff out this fresh move of God; it was like a dreaded covid 19 pandemic for her!
Friends, just because we lay it all down and God moves doesn’t does not oblige God to purge away all evil and change everything all at once.
For example, we may say, “God I’ve been good to my wife, who never wants to go to church and spends all our money.” She sees all the good I’ve been doing. I’ve been treating her well. But, she is getting even nastier toward me! Like Elijah we can say, “I’ve had enough!” But, we need to reset from entitlement to empathy. That’s the upgrade.
Maybe this wife grew up in a Christian home, but saw much hypocrisy. She is not quick to just let go and say praise the Lord. She wants to see real love and authenticity for while! So, don’t just preach. Put out the garbage too. Spend more time training the kids. Live out the WAH upgrade. Die-to-self more, despite all the ‘covid coping.’ I say all this with a smile on my face.
Friends, the bigger picture also is this covid 19 - season the world is crying out for leadership and bosses with empathy and understanding, compassionate not the critical. People may not perform so well in this season. Compassion hits the reset button in hearts.
The pushy, forceful leadership to achieve the targets, which was strong in the 70’s and 80’s won’t work now. It will lead to you feeling discouraged and depressed, and staff will resent it. Productivity will plummet.
We are in a marathon run to bring the kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. I remember we had a really devoted Christian with a reputation in the office for being ‘really holy.’ She sat there alone working hard at her desk, not talking to others as they cursed and swore as pagans do.
She preached occasionally, showed a little care, but deep down I believe she felt entitled that others would somehow change if she frowned hard enough. The love and greater heart empathy were missing. She tolerated people, but didn’t celebrate them. She became well known for being aloof and having an unforgiving, mean and sad demeanour. No one liked her. She felt separated. I dare say she was from God too. She only knew God as judge. She needed a reset, so do we in this season.
2.RESET FROM WEAKNESS TO MEEKNESS
So, in first kings nineteen we read the prophet eventually hid in a cave as he waded in self- pity and discouragement. But, God had forgotten him. He had sustained him during his journey to Sinai despite his weakness. God gives us time to change in our weaknesses too. God brought him out of his cave and anxiety. He’s here for us too.
God asked Elijah, ‘What are you doing here?’ He wants us all to reflect on our journey and why our light may be becoming dim. God gave the answer and cure: His glorious presence. God, then then paraded himself in front of Elijah and showed earth quakes, fire and winds all with their fury, tearing the mountain and rocks apart. Then, came a gentle whisper.
Why did God tear mountains for man in a depressed, despairing of life state and with a ‘I’ve-had-enough-of-living’ attitude? God was showing his might and power, but also his meekness. In essence, Jezebel is no match. He could destroy all sinners if he chose to. But, he wants all to turn to him due to his love. We are in the grace era.
We must not run to mount Sinai like Elijah, but to mount Zion (see Hebrews chapter 12 verses 22-24). We must reset! The mercy seat was over the stone tablets; mercy trumps judgment. God had seven thousand others that have not forsaken him, all kept by his grace. His grace preserves us all.
A gracious, gentle whisper got Elijah out of the cave. Jesus is perfect meekness and gentleness. The weary came to him for rest. Let’s reset to being in Christ; God wants to give this power upgrade to the meek. The ‘sinners’ will love us. Let’s reset our hearts for this upgrade.
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many, suffering hardship and poverty on Madura Island in Indonesia, in 1990 for about four years. He worked as a pastor-life coach with Hope International Ministries from 2002 to May 2023, playing a key role in raising up leaders and elders for the local Melbourne Hope church, which lead today. Mark has also been active in conducting yearly trips to remote Indigenous communities, bringing teams for training and outreach, which he initiated from 2015. He also established a salt and light ministry to empower saints of influence in the marketplace from 2017.
Mark is also an artist and an author and has written two books which are both a collection of his own paintings, photography, and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia- With a voice to release your giant potential within,’ which are available now on booktopia.com.au and at leading book retailers. He has been counted among some of Australia’s best authors on several occasions through Dymocks since 2014 and continues to be a motivational speaker in various community groups, organisations, and churches.
He is currently pioneering his itinerant ministry to bless Indigenous people and empower the body of Christ, while working as an artist, author and speaker.