Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
About this series
Special Broadcast with Chip Ingram
Chip interrupts regular programming to talk directly with you.More from this series
JERRY: Welcome to this edition of Living on the Edge. I’m Jerry McCauley and I’m responsible for product development and communications here at Living on the Edge.
And we are interrupting our regular broadcast today because we are living in unprecedented times. We are finding ourselves in the middle of this pandemic with bleak news, with tragedy in the headlines, with uncertainty and fear bubbling up all around us, really, in every circle of society. And we have been getting a lot of questions; we are so thankful for all of you that listen so faithfully.
We have been getting a lot of questions; it’s clear that many of you, maybe all of you are struggling one way or another. So, Chip, I’m just wondering, how are you doing in all of this? How are you processing through this yourself?
CHIP: Well, first, I agree. And I’m so grateful for people that have emailed and texted and written letters and are praying for us and concerned about us. We have tried to reach out to people to help them and they have been, it seems, more concerned about us.
So, at the personal level, Theresa and I are well and healthy, despite being at the real core of what is happening in California with the outbreak and the virus. And I really have, like everyone else, I would be the last to say that I have any kind of authoritative: “This is exactly what God is up to.” It’s clear from Scripture that God is in control of what is happening. He is a good and sovereign God.
After that, I see there are health issues and economic issues and now we are facing death. People are losing loved ones and just uncertainty. So, I have just tried to come back to: what do I know for sure about who God is, about how He operates? And then asking Him to help me hold on to what is true and then to respond in ways that would be loving and helpful to other people.
JERRY: Well, Chip, I agree. It’s really clear that in light of where we are, those concerns are at the forefront. Concerns about our health, the economy, facing death and all these levels of uncertainty. What are you personally doing? What are you doing as you approach these physical concerns, as you watch the news, and you hear Dr. Fauci’s projections of the potential death toll?
CHIP: Well, I’m literally doing what everybody else is doing in terms of: I don’t know that I have ever taken things as seriously as I am right now. And I think there’s a calling to do that. I mean, by God’s grace I happen to have a pretty good mask. I have a box of those gloves. When I’m doing grocery shopping right now, my wife has not left our house, we are both in that window of place of the people who get this, that the probability of it going very bad. We are one of those. I’m washing my hands a lot. I’m really working at not touching my face, which is a bad habit that I have.
And I’m doing the physical distance and, yet, I’m really trying to stay socially connected. A lot of FaceTime with friends and coworkers and Zoom calls and grandkids. And I’m not physically watching the news at every moment of every development. I have been pulled into that like others and it can get so discouraging and so depressing. Because the physical leads you right to the emotional.
JERRY: Chip, you mentioned that you are watching the news, but you’re watching it less. Can you tell me more about, kind of, the frequency or the rhythm and how you are monitoring or how you’re governing what you’re allowing into your mind?
CHIP: I guess, let me confess first that what I know is best and what I do is not always the same. And so, what I would say with people is before you go to bed, make sure you spend some time in God’s Word. Turn off that TV. Don’t let that thing be running all day.
Yeah, you know what? Plug into a briefing or read an article or two and then, I literally, because of that, I turned off my phone, I mean, at about six o’clock, and it was just like, I can’t take any more. I have to put some good things in my heart and in my soul or I won’t be any good to anyone. And no matter how much I know, it really doesn’t change what happens. So, you know, me knowing more about everything really doesn’t give me any more control. It does feed my fear, however.
JERRY: When you talk about, you know, reading God’s Word before bed, do you have a specific passage or some specific promises that you would point us to?
CHIP: Yeah, I really do is, one, is Psalm 23 is a classic passage. Psalm 37 is a very classic passage. We aren’t the first people to go through these things. And then in terms of New Testament, in terms of how we need to respond and leverage this, James chapter 1, verses 2 to 4. Romans chapter 5, verses 1 through 5. And then 2 Corinthians chapter, I think it’s chapter 4. 2 Corinthians, forgive me, chapter 1 where he talks about the God of all comfort helping us so that we can help others. Those are passages that I wanted to keep in front of me so that God could do something in me as well as, then, through me.
JERRY: That’s great. And how do you process this in light of: here we are at the end of holy week? You know, it’s Good Friday and Easter is coming and all of that, what does it look like for you in light of this time?
CHIP: Uh, this may sound super old school, but I don’t know of anyone in Scripture that went through more difficulty and needed to find hope for a prolonged period of time.
David was running for his life and was attacked from Saul, from partners, from his own people. And I think this passage that so often gets relegated to: oh, this is what you read. I mean, I wasn’t a Christian and I knew Psalm 23 just by going to funerals.
And he says, “The Lord, Yahweh, the God Almighty, is my personal shepherd.” And shepherds protect you, they provide for you, and they never leave you. And he says, “I,” it’s a declaration, it’s in the future tense, “I shall lack nothing.” And then physically, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,” and then leads to. “He restores my soul.”
One of the things I’m processing is not allowing my soul to get divided or my soul to get covered in fear. And to know that I don’t know the future, but He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. And I don’t know that I have awakened any morning for the last few weeks without walking, literally, through Psalm 23, physically and then there’s emotionally. He says, “I will not,” “I shall not fear.”
That’s a choice. Because why? Even in the midst of the darkest valleys, difficult circumstances, He is with me. And it’s an Old Testament picture, the rod and the staff are a picture of, one is of protection against your enemies, and the other is pulling you out of a jam. You know, that long staff. He would pull those sheep out of crevices when they fell down into them.
And then to know that spiritually, you know, even in the presence of my enemies, Jerry, in the presence of things I don’t understand, and the presence that God’s presence, I can have, I can have joy and I can have peace in the midst of that.
And His goodness and mercy, His kindness is pursuing me. And I think the ultimate hope, especially you asked me about holy week, is, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Sometimes you have to push your processing out. Worst case scenario. And I’ve been there before with cancer in our family and some other situations to just face the worst that can happen is death.
And for those of us that know Christ, to know that this world isn’t all there is. And I don’t mean that like spiritual platitudes. People are living with the reality – what happens if I die? What happens if I get this? And Friday, Saturday of this week will remind us that our sins are paid for and Sunday reminds us that there is hope. Jesus rose from the dead and defeated sin and defeated Satan and defeated death.
JERRY: I love how practical that passage is, you know, and it is one that so many of us know. And the picture of us like sheep who need a shepherd, and then the power of this weekend, right? Jesus’ payment for our sins, and…
CHIP: I think, Jerry, people get lost in that for years and years and years you know, we are going to have an Easter egg for the kids. And it’s a celebration time and, yes, it’s resurrection. And I think somehow we get intellectual assent to all of that. That happened at a time in history where brutality, cruelty, injustice – the average lifespan was about thirty-five or forty years old. The infant mortality rate was off the charts. Infanticide was just commonplace. Women were treated as subhuman beings.
All those things, because God is holy, it makes Him mad and angry, but instead of pouring out His anger and His judgment on the world, He poured it out on Jesus on that Friday. That’s why He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And in that moment, He took our sin and then He declared victory. And I think, like never before, there is hope and there is hope that this life isn’t all there is.
JERRY: Hope is such a beautiful antidote to fear, right? And as we are facing all these uncertainties, what a perfect week for us to be reminded that Jesus’ death creates victory for us over fear, victory for us over death.
CHIP: Jerry, I know you still have three children at home and you’re sheltered like the rest of the world. What are you doing and how are you processing this kind of around the table as things are just really difficult?
JERRY: It is really hard. You know, we have been focusing in on the Mealtime Conversations that Living on the Edge is putting together. And they have been so helpful.
You know, the other night, we went through one of them and there’s those three parts to it. Well, we didn’t even past the first one, because we went around the room and we all shared something kind about each other, and then everybody wanted to go again, and wanted to go again. And we ended up all in puddles of tears, but just rejoicing in how much we love each other and how this moment of time has created a space for us to be more present, more aware of what we need or what each other needs. And it was a really beautiful moment. And then we worked on memorizing Isaiah 41:10, which I just think, it’s the power over fear, to know that God is bigger, that God wins.
And so, that’s one thing we have done. You know, it’s interesting this year, we have had this family tradition where these, I have all girls, and every year, it’s a big deal when we go and pick out their Easter dresses. And, you know, that is not a thing this year. And so, I do think there’s so many shifts for all of us, right? How do we, how do we adjust? How do we shift our focus? But here’s what I think is so powerful this year.
Yesterday I caught my eighteen-year-old writing out Philippians 2:3 and 4 in her own words. And I thought, Wow, she listened to LOTE: Live with Chip and she is watching the videos and she is learning something about humility and servanthood and faith in a really dark time. And so, I do think that this shift away from Easter baskets and Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts and Easter dresses and Sunday best might just give us the focus that we need in this time to really look at the hope of Jesus, the hope of God and His faithfulness and His love for us. So, I think that’s an interesting, maybe redeeming of this time, for a family.
CHIP: You know there’s been some times where Theresa and I have just, even this morning, we just paused and sometimes people think because you teach God’s Word that you sort of have this spiritual Teflon and, “I bet Chip and Theresa just get up every day and, ‘Oh, hey, let’s go conquer the world!’” and we miss our kids and we think about the implications and people that we love.
And this morning, I knew I was going to be talking to the Living on the Edge family and people are asking – there’s some really hard questions like, “Where is God?” And we started the program by saying, “Hey, where is He?” And I’m thinking some people are wondering, “Are you guys going to address that?” And, yes, we are. But I walked in this morning and I said, “Would you pray with me, honey?” And she goes, “Well, of course. What about?” I said, “Well, you know, there’s a million people or so that are really wrestling and struggling and I’m a very ordinary person. And by God’s grace, I have studied the Scriptures a long time and they look to us for clarity and spiritual direction. And, honey, that’s a huge responsibility.”
And I think the Bible is very, very clear about some things. Right? There are some things I know for sure. In fact, I wrote them down this morning. But how presumptuous for anyone to say, “This is what God is up to.” His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts above our thoughts. And, yes, He had a very unique relationship with Israel and we can get some principles from the Old Testament and we see Jesus making some very clear declarations about the birth pangs as the world comes to a culmination. And there are certainly things to learn from that.
But just praying together and feeling overwhelmingly inadequate, other than to say: I am going to anchor my soul on the things that I know for sure are true. And I’m going to choose to act and to believe and respond both to God and to other people based on that, because there’s a lot of stuff out there. You know? There’s sort of an agenda and a narrative that the Left has and there’s a narrative of the Right. And there’s a lot of Christian narratives out there as well, that I think a lot of people are just flat out confused. And we want to be a help, but we would do it with a humility I think to say, “Here are some things we know the Bible says for sure. And there’s a lot that we don’t know.”
JERRY: And what are those anchors that you hold onto? You said you are anchored in the truth of God. Can you give us a few of those?
CHIP: You know what? I actually, if you can imagine just little bullet points. Number one was: God has authority over all the nations. He, in fact, judges the nations. He raises up kings and He puts them down. And that’s from Daniel chapter 2 where God, literally, through Nebuchadnezzar, says, “This is what I do.” I know for sure, number two, that God is slow to anger, that He is longsuffering. I know, number three, that He is a just God and that
He allows distress at times to awaken people so that they get their attention and I know that the message during times like this is to repent. And that word is to have a change of mind about yourself and God and, “Am I okay?” And is your life what it ought to be? And Jesus said, “You likewise should repent or you too will perish.” And so, I know there’s this message, but it’s not the message, I know for sure, it’s not the message, Jerry, of an angry God who is pouring out His wrath and is mad at people.
The biblical picture of God, and I always go back to, if someone snatched your two-year-old and started abusing them, if you didn’t get really mad, there’s something deeply wrong with you.
And when there’s actions that just hurt and kill and marginalize people, God, who is perfect and just, it makes Him angry. And, yet, He’s loving and He’s holy.
And so what that means today is that we have a Father that is, in this time, it’s much more like seeing people that say, “God, we don’t need You. God, we don’t need You. We don’t want to follow what You say about morality, we don’t want to follow what You say about money or relationships or anything.”
And it’s like the parent who has paid for his son or daughter in rehab six or seven or eight times. Their heart is bleeding. And then at some point, part of God’s judgment in massive times like this is He allows the consequences to occur in such a way that we would, if you know anything about the twelve-steps or people in addictions, people never change until they hit bottom.
And I think there are times where that happens in a massive way. And it’s not out of a parent’s heart that is angry or mad or get-with-the-program. It’s out of: this continued behavior… And what I know historically, Jerry, is that it’s the same old stuff. It’s power, it’s greed, it’s idolatry, it’s marginalizing children and women and the less fortunate. It’s systemic things that push people down, it’s corruption, it’s idols, it’s materialism, it’s things that make the world not a good place, that we would all agree.
And, yet, in our blindness, we all have some of those things going on. And I think part of God, the message of our heavenly Father, it’s the Luke 15 father who is saying to the son, “Hey, just come back!” He says He delights to show mercy. He wants to forgive. And the final thing I know about times like this is that it always begins with His people, with the household of faith.
And so, our posture is not: why don’t people stop doing evil things out there? Our posture is: “Search my heart, O God.” God, what, please show me arrogance or pride or immorality or greed or materialism. Lord, do whatever You need to do first in me and then, second, help me to model Your kindness and Your love. Help me to let people know that it breaks Your heart and You care.
It is so amazing to me, Jerry, how Jesus loved the very people that seemed to be most hostile. And He seemed to be the hardest on those who thought they didn’t really have a problem and were hypocritical and religious.
And so, that’s my struggle. That’s what I’m processing. And I’m trying to say, Lord, first and foremost, what does that look like for me and Theresa in our neighborhood, where we’re at? And then with what He wants to do with Living on the Edge.
JERRY: How do you feel about, uh, in light of Easter, you talked about Friday giving us the picture that the judgment, the judgment will never be the same upon us, right? It was taken by Jesus. As we walk through this week and we approach Easter Sunday, what kind of hope and what kind of glory and what kind of future do we look for in the story of Jesus, His death, and His resurrection?
CHIP: You know, I don’t, this is Chip, so those listening, I wouldn’t take this as anything from on high, but it struck me, because I try to go to the historical context and think of those disciples first. It strikes me that when God is doing His greatest work, the disciples feel like it couldn’t get worse than this. He is hanging on the cross. And I think we need to remember, we don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes.
Second is that there’s a season of time where, as much as I want to know what is going on and give me the results and what are You up to? I bet from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning was a very long time. And they were to wait. And I think right now, for some of us, we demand: God, show me! And I think right now it’s trust, wait, be still, cease striving, trust Me, do good to all men. And then I think there’s this burst on Sunday morning that reminds us, there is hope.
The coronavirus may kill me and I will be ushered into the presence of God. The coronavirus may kill people that I love very, very, very much and as followers and fellow believers, as devastating, it can’t put an end. There is hope. I think what it does is it pulls me out of this “right now” and the lie, Jerry, of the world that if I’m a nice person or a good person and if God is loving, everything should be smooth.
And I think about the early disciples and all were martyred but one. It didn’t go very smoothly. And they were in the center of God’s will. But there is hope! There is hope over death, there is hope over the power of sin, and there is a God who is with us. I mean, the disciples so struggled. And on the last night, it’s, “I’m with you, I’m with you, I’m with you. I’m going away to prepare a place.” And so, I think we need to really focus on the reality that the worst absolutely is death, but it no longer has power over how we live. And circumstances do not have power to determine our emotions.
JERRY: Chip, as we wrap things up today, do you have a final word for us and could you pray for us as we wrap this up today?
CHIP: I would be glad to, Jerry, in fact, my heart goes out to our Living on the Edge family. In terms of a final word, I would say, our next two broadcasts, it’s called Hope for the Hopeless. Of all the most painful, difficulties I have ever experienced, what do you do when life literally is falling apart?
Our next two broadcasts, we will get Jesus’ perspective on that. How to – what does He do to people that He deeply loves that are going through horrendous things, even death? And so, I would encourage people to listen. And now, Father, I would ask You, in Your great mercy, to give us a high, clear, holy picture of who You are and that we could grasp Your compassion, that what is happening breaks Your heart. Lord, would You speak to us about anything and everything that You would want to address in us, first and foremost, and then will You give us faith and courage to love people around us like never before? Would we be the salt and the light of the earth with amazing compassion and tenderness, in Jesus’ name.
JERRY: Thank you, Chip. And thank you, Living on the Edge family, for joining us for this special broadcast today. Our heart is for you and we want to just encourage you to go to our website, livingontheedge.org. In the middle of these uncertain times, we have developed some resources that are absolutely free to you that we really believe can help you find and grasp and hold on to the hope of Jesus this Easter. So, we hope that you’ll take us up on that and thank you again for joining us today.