Coronavirus…….we can’t seem to get away from it can we? It’s the #1 conversation right now. No matter where I go I can’t seem to get away from the topic. In fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to blog about the subject at all. But, there are some things I want to share that have been on my mind regarding the whole situation.
Back in 2016 a good friend of mine emailed me after she read a chapter in my book What are the Chances? She went to sleep that night after reading and when she woke up in the morning, the first thing that popped into her mind was, “Station 11 people.” She thought it was random, but then she googled Station 11. This led her to a book called Station 11, by Emily St. John Mandel. She told me this information and asked if it brought anything to my mind. The only thing I could think of was Fire Station 11 because that was the first station my husband worked at when he joined the Fire Department. He no longer worked there at the time though. But, now I was intrigued about the book Station 11, so I went ahead and bought it.
I read Station 11 (back in 2016) and it was a well written fictional account of a world wide flu pandemic. This pandemic literally shuts down everything- life as we know it. The economy is devastated. Airline travel completely stops.
The pandemic in Station 11 begins in the Republic of Georgia (near Russia) and through air travel it spreads to the rest of the world. The flu in this account, however, is devastating, killing anyone who contracts it. The spread of the flu virus is swift and kills in a matter of days.
The bulk of the story follows a group of nomadic actors twenty years after this pandemic has struck. They travel along the Great Lakes region, scavenging abandoned homes for food and supplies. Life has drastically changed for everyone living on the earth. Electricity is a thing of the past. Pleasures like coffee, fresh fruit and air conditioning do not exist. I-phones become museum relics. Life exists with the bare minimum.
A Worldwide Pandemic
After I read the book I immediately felt the urge to pray. I wondered if a pandemic could happen in the future. My thoughts were centered on the economic side of what occurred in the book. I kept thinking about how a pandemic would affect the economy today, and what people would do if one occurred. How would people respond? How would people deal with not having all the luxuries they are used to- their lattes and twenty different flavors of Oreos, or just being able to flip a switch and turn on a light! These are the thoughts I pondered.
For a while I would forget about the book, but then it would come to mind again several months later. All I knew to do was pray.
Flash forward to NOW! It’s 2020 and………My husband is now back at Fire Station 11. Oddly enough, this coronavirus hits around the time he goes back! Interesting timing and perhaps it’s a coincidence, but I couldn’t help but think of the book.
When I first heard of the virus, I wasn’t sure how it would all unfold. As time continued, however, I realized it was affecting the entire world. Now, there are a lot of ideas about what’s behind the virus, and how it started- even about whether it’s as serious as the news claims. I don’t want to get into all those ideas because that’s not my intent in this blog.
Coronavirus is affecting the economy
Whatever is going on, it is obviously affecting the economy and that is certainly causing people to become concerned. The coronavirus is causing worldwide shut-downs and affecting travel and day to day life right now.
What’s all the fuss about Toilet Paper????
I had a dream back in 2018 that stuck with me. In the dream I was standing in a bathroom and American money was laying all over the floor. I know this sounds gross, but the money was covered in poop! Anyway, in the dream I tried to clean the money with……you guessed it…….TOILET PAPER! Unfortunately, I could not get the money clean no matter what I did. I knew the money was useless!
Money cannot save us
I woke up from that dream quite concerned because the gist of the dream was that THE MONEY WAS RUINED. Flash forward to now ……..when I go into the stores and see all the TOILET PAPER cleared out, I think of that dream! The main message of the dream was that money cannot save us. Money can become useless. We can only rely on Jesus. Also, after the dream, my thoughts were that the American dollar is not unsinkable. Like Titanic, nothing is unsinkable. I wonder what kind of toilet paper they had on Titanic?????
We are unsinkable with Jesus
I hope I am not scaring you, or making you feel hopeless in any way. I am just telling you what the Lord has shown me. I firmly believe if we are in Christ we are always unsinkable no matter what comes our way. And the truth is that we have the King of Kings on our side so we should not fear. With that being said, I want to continue to describe other things the Lord has shown me. Some of this comes as a warning, but not one to scare you. It is to remind you of how to respond, and to show you how God can work through all types of circumstances. Keep reading and stick with me. I have a great message of hope I want you to hear.
Recently I just finished reading a book called 102 Minutes, which is about what happened when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9-11. The book talks about what happened to the people who were inside the towers when they were hit by the planes. The book takes you step by step through the tragedy, and how people responded.
What a lot of people may not know is that there was this idea that the Twin Towers were fireproof. The steel of the building was supposed to be able to withstand 3-4 hours of fire. In theory, the floors located between the Windows of the World and the site where the first plane hit, should have stopped the spread of the smoke and fire. Each floor was designed to act as a fire-tight compartment. Each compartment should have been able to hold and contain flames/smoke so they would not spread to other floors. This idea is not much different from the water tight compartments of the Titanic, which were supposed to hold water in chambers, to keep the entire ship from flooding. Unfortunately, this is not what happened on 9-11. Instead, flames and smoke spread quickly, causing many people to jump to their deaths. This is a quote from the book 102 Minutes:
“They did not know if the innovative floors proposed for the towers – thin lightweight webs of steel built into trusses- would survive a fire. Those floors helped hold the walls of the tower in place. That they weighed so little, compared to the traditional beam and column construction, and did not cut into tenant space, helped make the towers economically feasible to build to such heights. Yet, no one had experience in fireproofing those webbed trusses, known as “bar joists” with the techniques proposed and ultimately used in the trade center- a spray on mixture of mineral fibers and adhesive.” (p 67, 102 Minutes)
The World Trade Center was not Fireproof
Ultimately, those walls and floors did not hold. Techniques were used to try to make them fireproof, but those methods failed. That was just one of the problems. The other crucial issue was the lack of escape routes. The sad fact is that in order to have more usable space, less stairways and elevators were built into the Twin Towers.
“As it happened, the World Trade Center was planned at a moment of radical transformation in the construction of tall buildings, and its owner, the Port Authority, availed itself of those changes in spectacular fashion. The new approaches made it possible for the Port Authority to build higher and cheaper, with the twin towers the first skyscrapers to use virtually no masonry in their construction. The changes of this era also allowed the Port Authority to turn far more of the towers over to rentable space- as opposed to safety and service functions, like stairways and elevators- than other skyscrapers. Some of those changes also made escape impossible for people on the upper floors after the attacks of September 11, 2001.” p.103 (102 Minutes)
You probably know the story of Titanic. There were not enough lifeboats to save everyone on the ship. The Titanic carried 20 lifeboats, enough for 1178 people. The Board of Trade regulations specified that passenger ships carry enough lifeboats for 1060 people. In this way, Titanic had more than the required amount. That didn’t matter in the end though, because when the Titanic set sail there were 2,223 passengers and crew aboard. That means they were short 1,045 seats in a lifeboat! But wait a minute…..the ship is unsinkable right? Wrong! In fact, when the disaster hit, those 20 lifeboats were not filled to capacity, so even more people perished! The lack of lifeboats caused people to panic and grave mistakes were made. Lifeboat drills were supposed to be conducted, but most people skipped them. When the iceberg struck the ship, most were left unprepared for what lay ahead.
Sadly, the Titanic had the space to carry up to 32 lifeboats, but only 20 were used because it was thought the lifeboats cluttered the ship. Sounds a lot like the World Trade Center, whose builders were more concerned with having more space to work, than having space to save lives through the use of stairways for escape!
Titanic also carried 3500 lifebelts and 48 life savers, but they were of no use in freezing, death cringing water!
When the people in the World Trade Center saw there was no way to escape, many began jumping. It’s hard to imagine this, but one would have to be in the situation to understand why.
“The first people had been seen falling from the North Tower at 8:48 or 8:49, two or three minutes after the crash of Flight 11, men and women at the seat of the inferno of jet fuel. The early plunges were less deliberate, more reflexive, like a person recoiling from a stove. To get away from the heat, they did not have to fight their way through fire and flame. The side of the building had been ripped open. Alone or holding hands, they climbed onto windowsills, the only refuge from the heat and smoke. ( p 136, 137, 102 Minutes).
The stories of the collapse of the Twin Towers, and the sinking of the Titanic are filled with spiritual meaning for our lives, especially now, during this virus crisis. As I read the story of the collapse of the towers, a powerful truth resonated in my spirit. WE CANNOT HOLD ON TO OUR TOWERS! We cannot rely on what is physical in this world, whether it be money, power, fame, sports, entertainment, lattes, phones or selfies. All those things can and will crumble in time. We also cannot panic in times of trouble because this just leads to frantic, bad decisions. It is better to pray for wisdom and seek the Lord’s counsel. It’s important to be prepared by seeking his Word and putting on the Armor of God.
The crazy thing is that in the midst of reading 102 Minutes I met a man who had seen the Twin Towers collapse in 2001. I had taken my son to his music lesson and right before I got there, a horrible car accident had taken place. A car had flipped in the air and the top had been sheered off in the accident. The main road was in a state of chaos as a barrage of police cars and emergency vehicles arrived. A man from the music school preceded to tell me the awful details of the accident that had just occurred before I arrived. This must have brought to mind the events of 9-11 because before he knew it he was telling me he saw the Twin Towers collapse. As he spoke, I could tell the event had traumatized him. He described seeing people jump from the buildings and hearing the horrible noise when they hit the ground. He described exactly what I’d been reading in the book. I told the man that in the end we must remember that Jesus is our strong tower, not man. In the midst of disaster, he is our Savior. The chaos of the world may make us want to jump, but rescue is at hand. That rescue is Jesus.
On the third day after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, a worker was walking through the rubble when he came upon something extraordinary! Two giant beams had broken off from the 67th floor of the North Tower and landed upright in the rubble. These beams were in the shape of a cross. Rescue workers prayed in front of this cross, and many years later it was moved to the 9-11 Museum.
But, here’s the thing….. That cross was found in the rubble of World Trade Center Six. But years later, guess where the new tower, also known as One World Trade Center was built? The new tower was built where the Ground Zero cross was found. It was built on the site where World Trade Center Six used to be.
My question is, have we truly turned back to God, or have we just built a new tower? There was a page of the Bible found at the Ground Zero wreckage site. Do you know what it was? GENESIS 11 -and guess what Genesis 11 is about???? The Tower of Babel.
When I wrote What are the Chances, the Uncanny Connections Between Titanic, 9-11, Israel and the United States back in 2014, the Lord was showing me ONE MAJOR THEME. As a nation, we cannot stand without Jesus! We cannot keep going our own way and exist by drinking our cappuccinos and crafted sodas. We cannot keep turning our eyes from what’s important. We must understand God’s plan for our lives and for Israel. We must understand what Jesus wants us to do! If we continue turning from God we will be like the Titanic- splitting in two. We will sink to the bottom of the ocean.
We are already seeing a great divide happening. There is a spiritual war going on right now and the rip in our hull as a nation is getting wider. Some are on the left, while others are on the right, but nonetheless, a civil war is brewing and beginning to overflow.
When 9-11 happened it seemed like this nation turned back to God for a time. It looked like national repentance was at our heels. But, it was short lived. Here were are, almost 20 years later, and we are seeing laws passed that allow innocent babies to be killed up to the day they are born. We are also watching the Godly design for the institution of marriage crumble. I am sorry, but God is not ok with this! This is not about choice- this is about what God says is right and wrong. In the Bible, the nation of Israel (in biblical times) was severely punished for sacrificing their innocent babies, and for falling into pagan practices that went against God’s commands.
The key to God healing our nation is REPENTANCE. In Hebrew the word repentance is the word TESHUVAH. This literally means turning from your sin. It means turning from sin and turning toward God. It is easy to say sorry and then go about your business. But turning from the sin is another story. God asks us to give up the sin and turn to his law- his word- and to turn to his Son-Jesus. We must take action by finding a way to remove the sin from our lives. As voters of this nation we should not support the murder of unborn children and we should not be supporting agendas that go against God’s design for marriage and families. These are just two major issues, but they are big ones.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin, and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Healing Requires Repentance: Repentance requires turning
Notice it says TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS. It doesn’t say, “if my people say they are sorry.” This is why the revival after 9-11 didn’t last. True repentance was needed. A true turning from sin! Sexual sins and abortion are just the tip of the iceberg! The people of our nation must search themselves and ask God to heal them. God will forgive anyone with a genuine, repentant heart. Turning from the sin may take time, but God knows when that person is making the effort to do it. We also must remember that Christ came to save sinners so he is always ready to help those who call on his name. I am glad for this because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
Know that I understand there are many who are interceding for our nation and the world right now! I want to encourage you to keep doing this. The prayer of a righteous person availeth much! Ultimately, God is in control and he can and will certainly use ALL CIRCUMSTANCES FOR OUR GOOD.
I am in the midst of writing a book about Psalm 91. This psalm is full of the amazing promises of God! If you want to read more about this psalm, check out this blog I wrote back in 2017 during the hurricane season. You will be amazed at the marvelous power of the word of God.
As I was reading about the collapse of the Twin Towers, I noticed an interesting detail.
The 91st Floor
In the North Tower, everyone from the 91st floor and below had an escape route. Those above the 91st floor had no escape. Because of the angle of how Flight 11 hit the North Tower, no one above the 91st floor of the tower was able to escape the fiery building. These people were trapped because of fire and smoke. Some of them jumped and some of them died when the building collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
Jesus is our Escape
When I read this about the 91st floor, I realized something undeniable about Jesus. He is our escape! When we dwell with him, we are able to escape all those things that bind us-sin, fear, panic, worldly desires and even calamity. Without Jesus, we are jumping into fiery pits that drag our lives down. Fear grips us. Sin strangles us. Death takes hold. But, if we have Jesus as our Savior he rescues us from the fiery furnace. We do not have to jump into oblivion because he has already defeated that dreaded oblivion. He took our place when he went to the cross. Psalm 91 reminds us of all the promises of dwelling with Jesus.
Psalm 91: The Promises of God
I’m not saying Psalm 91 is a magical incantation or prayer that’s going to protect you from all calamity! Keep in mind the psalm starts out, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest under the shadow of the Almighty!” Those who dwell with Jesus live with him! He is their Groom! In fact, when we say yes to Christ, we are essentially accepting a marriage proposal. Perhaps that sounds strange if you’re a guy, but it’s not that kind of relationship. It is one of dwelling in complete trust. It’s a relationship of serving a King who has saved your life. It’s the reality of knowing you are always in a place of safety with Christ. That’s what it means to dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
At some point we will die an earthly death (unless we are raptured first). But, that actually is an escape. Why? Because we leave the darkness and sin of the earth behind to live with Jesus in heaven. Death has no sting. We have escaped to Paradise!
Jesus is our Secret Place: Jesus is our Hiding Place
I love the verse from Matthew 6:5-8 that says,
“And when thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men……. But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward you openly.”
Most people will read that verse and say it means we should pray in secret, or in a room that is away from other people. This way, we can gain privacy and talk to God without distractions. While this has truth to it, this isn’t the full picture of what this verse means.
The Tallit: The Prayer Closet: The Secret Place of the Most High
The Greek word for “closet” is TEMIAN which means an inner chamber or secret room. However, keep in mind that the scriptures were written from a Hebraic mindset. Back then they would have understood TEMIAN as the prayer shawl or tallit. If you have never seen a tallit, or Jewish prayer shawl, look at the pictures I’ve included. The design of a prayer shawl, or prayer closet, is unique. Every aspect of the tallit reminds us of God’s protection and how we can dwell with him.
The word tallit (also called a tallith) comes from two Hebrew words: Tal which means TENT, and ith which means LITTLE TABERNACLE The tallit is meant to be a tent /tabernacle where one can go to seek God. It is a representation of the tabernacle in the wilderness, where the Israelites would visit with God.
It is meant as a secret place to dwell with God. Psalm 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall dwell under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” You can see the 911 in Psalm 91:1 and 2. Surely when we are in a 911 situation, he can be our refuge.
The Tallit has WINGS
What’s even more reminiscent of Psalm 91 is the fact that the corners of the tallit are called kanaph. Well, this word kanaph actually means WINGS! The picture is of a bird spreading out its wings to protect its young. If you place a tallit around your shoulders and extend your arms it mimics the flapping of a bird’s wings. You can literally wrap these wings around your head and go under the prayer shawl (tabernacle/tallit) to find refuge. The design of the tallit is not just a made up design! God gave these specific directions in the Bible, which are located in Numbers 15:37-40, and in Deuteronomy 22:12.
Kanaph, or the flapping of wings, comes from a Persian word which goes back to an interesting idea. The idea is of guards thrusting people into a safe corner and then spreading their arms around the people, or using themselves as a human shield to protect these people. This word kanaph also means to conceal from view. When the enemy approaches, we are hidden by an Almighty God, who conceals and protects us from danger.
Psalm 91: He will cover you under his wings
When we look at Psalm 91, we see something quite extraordinary in these verses: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” – Psalm 91:4. This Psalm is referring to this picture of the tallit- the tabernacle we have with Jesus. You don’t have to have a tallit to have this refuge. The tallit is simply an illustration of this. God often uses objects and symbols to show us important concepts and truths.
The fringes of the Tallit
On the four corners of the tallit are fringes. These special fringes are called the tzitzit. The fringes are winded and knotted in a special way that remind the wearer of the Commandments of God.
In ancient times, all Jewish men were required to wear a tallit. When they walked about town, everyone would be reminded they are walking with God and living under his shelter. The tallit contained stripes as well. This is a great reminder of Isaiah 53 which describes the stripes of Jesus. It is by his stripes we are healed.
The Jewish Wedding Ceremony
My favorite use of the tallit, however, is in the wedding ceremony. Jewish grooms wear a tallit on their wedding day. A tallit is often used as part of the wedding canopy as well. The tallit is a reminder that the Groom will protect and dwell with his Bride forever. The Bride and Groom will go under the tallit together and make a vow to live under the commands of the Lord forever. Keep in mind that Jesus is Jewish and while he was on earth he was an observant Jew, so these concepts and customs are applicable to him as a Groom.
Psalm 91: The Lord is our shelter
So, we can see, no matter what comes, the Lord is our shelter and dwelling place, just as Psalm 91 declares. By the way, there is a verse that even describes protection from diseases.
Psalm 91: protection from diseases
“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.” Psalm 91:5,6.
Corrie ten Boom and Psalm 91
I love the story of Corrie ten Boom. She helped smuggle Jews into a hidden, concealed hole in the wall of her home to protect them from the Nazis. Eventually, the Nazis discovered what she was doing so she was arrested. While in the concentration camp, many times God placed her under his wings. Once, during an inspection, she was carrying pages of a Bible she did not want discovered. These pages were in full view at one point and the guards somehow did not see them! She knew God had concealed these pages from the guards supernaturally! There were other times God kept her safe from harm in amazing ways. You should read the book to find out all the details!
One of her favorite bible verses was Psalm 91. She also liked Psalm 27:5 which says, “For in the day of trouble he will conceal me in His tabernacle. In the secret place of his tent He will hide me, He will lift me up on a rock.” Did you see the reference to the secret hiding place God has for us? This reminds me of the prayer shawl….the tallit with wings…..WE HAVE A SPECIAL TABERNACLE WITH GOD WHERE HE COVERS US WITH HIS WINGS. BUT, WE HAVE TO ABIDE IN IT. WE HAVE TO DWELL IN IT! WE MUST SEEK HIS SHELTER THROUGH PRAYER…….
Certainly if Corrie ten Boom can survive the horrors of a concentration camp with Jesus as her refuge, we can get through this virus crisis, and whatever else comes our way. Believe me, I have to remind myself of this each day.
Jesus is our 911
For hundreds of people on the upper floors, of the Twin Towers, “death had come in a thunderous instant”. Flight 11 flew directly into the offices of people who had no warning of what was coming. One minute it was clear skies. The next, a plane is crashing into their office. Even firefighters who came later thought the buildings would hold up. A total collapse of both buildings wasn’t expected.
I don’t know what else is coming our way. But, I do know the Bible tells us something important! Jesus is the victor! He wins! That means we win also. Even if the economy collapses, our faith will not. We have something much greater to look forward to.
Corona means CROWN
The days are not going to get easier. I wish I could tell you that. They are likely going to get harder. But, they will also become more hopeful. How can I say that? Because I KNOW THE KING OF KINGS IS COMING BACK. Oh and did I mention that CORONA MEANS CROWN! That’s something to think about!!!! Our King has a crown and a kingdom that is everlasting! Not only that, I forgot to tell you above that the prayer shawl or tallit has a crown on it! It is called the atarah. The atarah usually has a blessing stitched on it. This part of the tallit is what touches the top of the head and is a reminder that we are priests in his kingdom, and protected by his presence.
Even the name of this virus- COVID-19- just turn that number around and you get 91. Don’t forget the King of Kings is your Psalm 91.
The more chaos we see, the more we need to LOOK UP! All signs are pointing to his glorious return. Until then, let’s spread the good news in the midst of bad news.
“You are my HIDING PLACE and my shield. I hope in your word.” Psalm 119:114 (Did you see the 911 in this verse?????
Here is Psalm 91 if you want to take a look at it. I have it memorized at this point because I pray it so much. I love to pray it out loud and put my name, and the names of friends and family into the Psalm……….
102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn
Station 11, By Emily St. John Mandel
The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom
The Tallit by Charlie Kluge
Holy Bible: NIV and King James Version