God has everything under control

These days many people are worried about their health and their livelihood. “Let us trust God,” the Chief Apostle recommends. Why and how can we experience this first-hand? Here are four pieces of advice and two promises from the Palm Sunday service.

On Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted a divine service in Strasbourg in France. Because of the coronavirus pandemic there were no worshippers in the church. “Only the people needed for the video transmission were there. The French-speaking brothers and sisters followed the service at home on the Internet or by telephone,” the Chief Apostle wrote a few days later. He had based his sermon on Matthew 21: 6: “So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.”

“Palm Sunday marked the end of Jesus Christ’s journey to Jerusalem,” Chief Apostle Schneider explained. All the gospels show that the Lord knew only too well what awaited Him there. Even though Jesus had told them over and over about this, the disciples did not understand it and followed Him full of fear. Jesus noticed this and, perhaps to show them that He had things under control, He gave them an order. They were to go and get a donkey and her colt, speak to the animals’ owner, and ultimately make the experience that everything that was going to happen had already been foretold and that Jesus knew all this beforehand.

“What was valid then also applies to us today. All over the world, everyone is living in an absolutely unprecedented situation … Many feel some degree of fear, some even panicked.” Yet there is certainty for the faithful even today. God confirms: “I have things under control. This will not prevent Me from continuing with My plan,” the Chief Apostle said.

Three pieces of advice concerning salvation

The Chief Apostle said that the disciples had already experienced a number of times: “When Jesus says something, things happen exactly as He said it. So we can trust Him.” And this has not changed, he said: “Jesus has given some orders concerning our salvation. These are conditions that God has imposed on man.”

  • Trust in God: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me!” (John 14: 1). “There is a big unanswered question. We do not understand what God is doing, we may even be afraid: but we trust God and we trust the Lord Jesus.”
  • Preserving spiritual life: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. … But seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6: 25, 33). Looking after own our health, looking after our loved ones, following safety protocol—all of this is very good. “But this time should also remind us that spiritual life, eternal life, is far more important. And we need to be concerned at least as much about our own soul as that our neighbour.”
  • Preserving fellowship: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18: 20). The Chief Apostle said: “We live in a time of great need: we cannot celebrate Holy Communion. But I am firmly convinced that all who remain in fellowship with the apostolate will receive the food they need from God through the Holy Spirit.”

A tip for dealing with pandemic reality

In the coronavirus crisis we are rediscovering terms such as “altruism” and “selflessness”. Many people are committing themselves and helping others, making great sacrifices for the greater good, sometimes even at risk to themselves. “We are deeply grateful to them,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. But with regard to the commandment to love our neighbour, he asked that we consider the following:

  • Helping one another to remain faithful to Jesus. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15: 12). The Chief Apostle appealed: “This is now no longer simply a matter of helping out in a difficult time, of helping your neighbour with material things. The Lord revealed His love in that He came to the aid of man’s soul.”

Two divine promises

Those who follow this advice will experience how the promises of God will be fulfilled.

  • Enough strength to deal with temptation: “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10: 13). The Chief Apostle said: “God will always provide the means so that we can overcome—even when it comes to the coronavirus or other trials.”
  • Receiving the crown of life: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1: 12). The Chief Apostle said that this word from Scripture will be fulfilled. “Even in these difficult times, where there are many things we don’t understand and we feel a certain fear: let us bear up!”

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Oliver Rütten
France, Chief Apostle, Divine service