Who Gets The Benefits
Though the talk on everyone’s lips is about the Virus itself and its effect on men and nations, I will be focussing much more on maximizing this novel period of nationwide LOCKDOWN in which we have suddenly found ourselves. My primary aim is to awaken you, beloved to the realities and possibilities that this sudden ‘lockdown’ and ’staying in’ presents, lest you only look back in regret at what you could have otherwise achieved, when it is all over.
Someone Will Benefit
Some have suggested that this lockdown is an attack by satan to stop the preaching of the Gospel. Their reason? We cannot go out door-to-door witnessing as before. Churches no longer meet for fellowship and instructions; and massive Christian outreaches which are (supposedly) reaching out to large numbers of unbelievers have been cancelled. Businesses are crumbling (including those of Christians)and more funds do not seem coming for the propagation of the gospel. Etc. etc.
Some others, on the other hand, believe that the lockdown is orchestrated of God to discipline both the Church and the World (even if for a brief period); and show them both that they have long forsaken His divine ways. They point out that the early Church met in small cells (home groups) and so were more effective as the salt of their immediate environment. They hope that the church will be persuaded to return to more biblical models of Church growth, after this whole episode. Moreover, they also point out that prostitutes will have minimal or no customers as club houses are closed; fraudsters will have a little holiday and kidnappers will have less victims to waylay on our highways.
I suppose there is some truth in both positions.
But for me, whichever one it is, my primary thought is that God and the growth of His kingdom must get the most benefit from this lockdown. And this kingdom benefit begins with who gets the profit from this lockdown in my own life, when it’s all over.
Who profits, primarily? God or the devil? Who laughs? And who bites his fingers, so to say, over my life, when ’lockdown’ gives way to ‘openup’?
My main determination therefore is to make satan the loser and Christ the preeminent beneficiary of this lockdown, as far as Lanre Adeboye is concerned.
Dear Disciple, If you and I cooperate with God and follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit, satan can bite his fingers at the end of the lockdown concerning us. He can wish he didn’t engineer the lockdown (if he actually was the one) and regret allowing God make it reach Nigeria because of its after effects. It depends on how each disciple utilizes the lockdown and its bursting possibilities. My main objective is to make you determine right from now, not to allow satan gloat over the Lord concerning you, when this lockdown is over. And it will eventually be over, if indeed I have heard the Lord correctly.
I Will Stay Home, But . . .
When the distant rumble of this COVID-19 crisis suddenly came home to Nigeria with the Italian index-case at Ewekoro, Ogun State, I thought it would soon be contained and dispensed with, like Ebola. But gradually, our foreign travellers soon imported it to us en-masse because as usual, our normal national lawlessness encouraged them to refuse being checked at the airports. Before one could properly determine the nature of the crisis, the talk of locking down the country was rife everywhere. And soon, interstate traveling was outlawed, offices closed and transited overnight to “work-from-home” mode; and eventually the Federal Government of my beloved Nigeria, locked down the FCT Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states.
Gradually my crowded itinerary began to free up and it became obvious that I would not be taking my usual monthly cross-country journeys to Gboko for our national meetings. I naturally turned to the Lord for an explanation. I sought to know what was suddenly coming upon the world. I sought for instructions on how to respond to the famed spread of the virus and particularly to the emerging lockdown that I was suddenly thrusted into.
I think I heard the Lord.
And what I think I heard Him say to me was . . .
20 Come, Lanre, enter thou into thy chambers,
and shut thy doors about thee:
hide thyself as it were for a little moment,
until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:
the earth also shall disclose her blood,
and shall no more cover her slain.
Isaiah 26:20-21 (KJV)
Permit me expatiate a little how this verse sounded to me . . .
It is His will for the disciple to shut in and stay indoors. Whatever else is the explanation of the world and her reports, as a disciple, I will simply be obeying God if I stop programmes, cancel itineraries and prepare for an unusually long stay indoors. Furthermore, I must come into my chambers; this lockdown must not lock me out, outside my domestic chambers. It must be my chambers! It must be my doors! It must be my home!
The lockdown will not be forever. This is not the end of the world as some have begun to theorize (except the lockdown is indeed concluded by the ‘Rapture of the saints’). I know that God’s own “little moment’ can stretch into weeks and months (It will still be ‘a little moment’ when compared to a thousand years that makes up God’s one day!) Yet, I suspect that there will be a return to normalcy after this ravage of the world by a pestilence. The indignation will soon be past. This crisis shall soon also pass into history.
There will be an indignation out there, there will be punishments out there. This COVID-19 will surely claim lives. It will punish the people of the world for their departure from Divine order. It will be devastating, for reasons of iniquity. People will suffer, more from the collective sins of the earth; and those who do not hide themselves may carelessly expose themselves to this general divine anger and punishment.
No one will be able to hide the casualties from this indignation. Whatever conspiracies from governmental or world authorities, the details of this epidemic shall be known abroad. Other things may have claimed more lives and the figures effectively covered by men, no one will be able to hide this. It shall be known for what it is . . . God’s declaration to the earth that it has gone wayward and that He, the owner, is out to punish.
Few days after I heard this, instructions came from the leadership of our Team and it was distinctly premised upon this same scripture . . . confirming what the Lord has said to me. Subsequently here and there, I met the same scripture dropping from the mouth of God’s servants as well as several of His disciples who have also heard HIM . . . fulfilling “at the mouth of two or three witnesses”.
Therefore, I shall observe a complete stay at home as has been instructed and directed by all in constituted authority over me . . . governmental, leadership, as well as Divine. And I encourage you my DearDisciple, to also do. There’s no need to give heartless soldiers and trigger-happy policemen a cheap opportunity to harass your life unnecessarily. As much as is allowed where you live, restrict your movement to the confines of your home.
However, ‘stay-at-home’ does not mean, ‘lie-down-and-die’; ‘lockdown’ to me, does not mean ‘shutdown’. I shall stay at home, within my chambers, within my doors but . . . .
I Shall Not Shutdown . . .
I shall stay at home but I will not shut down my life and lie still. I will not let down my spiritual and mental guards; and enter the “anything goes’ mode. I will not allow my life as a disciple which I have painstakingly built over the years suffer a sudden breakdown and allow gradual carelessness, stage a takeover. No! I shall stay home but I shall NOT shut down; I shall not break down!
I will not suspend my life, merely waiting to return to status quo!
I will not hang my visions and mission because it cannot be done outdoors!
I will not disengage the ‘gears’ of my spiritual engine and let my life ‘coast’ on aimlessly!
I will not ‘drop oars’ or ‘loose sails’, ‘drop anchors’ and let the ship of my life drift into whatever harbour it finds.
I will not extinguish the inner mobilization that propels me forward in God’s purpose.
No, I will hold the reins of my spiritual and mental horse and turn them as I am led by the Spirit, because I shall NOT cease to be a son of God because of a worldwide lockdown.
I consider that this stay home order is only allowed to slow down and restrict my physical movement but certainly not my mind or my spiritual fervency. I shall make this period productive and spiritually enriching in every direction of my life. This is how I intend to make satan wish I was not locked at home!
I know that for some DearDisciples, especially those who didn’t get this when I first sent it out, this instructions may prove more corrective than instructive, seeing the lockdown is already more than a month old. Nevertheless, better late than ever. There is a way to redeem the time in this COVID-19 evil days . . .
Sit down. Immediately.
Take stock and map out a plan of action going forward. Sit up back in your mind and take hold of your life once again, if you have let it loose. Snap out of the ‘lazy mode’. Engage your mind back. If your spiritual life is already affected, get back immediately before the Lord in repentance. If possible, go on your knees! HE WILL FORGIVE AND ACCEPT YOU BACK. He is always willing to forgive the repentant. Then sit back up and let the Holy Spirit back into the “driver’s seat”. Let Him show you His plan, going forward.
Create a corner, a spot or room where you can meet with the Lord deliberately in your lockdown premises . . . and invite the lover of your soul into a trysting time with Him!
And DearDisciple I shall soon be back to grant you a little peep into how I am attacking this global lockdown.