The following post has been condensed from Fr. Simon Lobo’s talk at Renewal Ministries’ 2022 Lift Jesus Higher Rally. It originally appeared in the May 2022 Renewal Ministries’ newsletter. The talk also can be viewed here. (Fr. Simon begins speaking at 47:05.)
Covid has been a total disruption, the biggest of our generation. We are living in a time of crisis. And yet we are at this conference with the title from Roman 8:37, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” In Greek, the phrase “more than conquerors” is just one word, hypernikaō, and literally means “hyper-conqueror.”
But when it comes to Covid, do you feel like a hyper-conqueror? Like you have conquered Covid or that Covid has conquered you? Because if I am honest, I feel like I am in the second half of that group. When I look over the last two years, there are various lessons I haven’t yet learned from Covid; God is still trying to teach me something about pace, unity, and hope. We are in a battle to reclaim these three things.
We need to fight for pace. At the beginning of Covid, we did a lot of pivoting, trying new technology, everything moved online, and we were getting used to preaching to a camera. All of this stuff was happening, yet we were limited to our own little social bubbles. Living with members of my community, Companions of the Cross, during Covid, we developed this really healthy rhythm of our days. Jesus was highly productive and never in a rush. There are many resources to help us live at a human pace. Two great books are Get Your Life Back, by John Eldridge and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. The Pace of Grace, by Pastor Michael Todd, is an excellent YouTube video to watch on the subject.
As we are coming in and out of restrictions now, perhaps the most heroic thing we can do is fight for pace in 2022 to start our day with our phones off and our Bibles open.
The Covid virus trained us to be afraid of people. For the “common good,” we are supposed to be “socially distant.” What’s the long-term effect of that? We have not had natural touchpoints with people for two years, and this “social distancing” has polarized us. Every single person has an opinion, and it feels like people have hardened into these positions.
In the face of this polarization, we need to fight for unity. We start by repenting and saying, “Lord, I cannot change anyone’s opinion, but show me where my heart is polarized.” Satan’s number one tactic is to divide and conquer. Are we going to allow this division? Or are we going to choose unity by going to confession or approaching that person we’ve crossed swords with? Two scripture verses that have spoken to me in this regard are Ephesians 4:1-3 and Ephesians 4:26-27. If you are struggling with any of this, remember that Jesus wants to be the hyper-conqueror of disunity in your life. Fight for unity!
Fight for hope. This whole experience of Covid has been so exhausting, so draining. And where I am from in Novi Scotia, Canada, we had this mass shooting the month after Covid hit. Twenty-four people were killed; it was the worst in Canadian history. And then, one thing after another kept happening, with racism in the United States and the truckers’ crises, and now Russia. We come to a place where we feel so hopeless. We know we should place our hope in Jesus, but in reality, we keep thinking, “If so-and-so just gets elected, things will be better.” We have all this human hope in politicians, but we are left disappointed.
Jesus wants to be the conqueror for you. This has been a hard time. For you, maybe it’s fighting for pace. Or maybe it’s all the disunity you’ve experienced. Maybe it’s the fight for hope. You are feeling hopeless. Jesus wants to restore these things for you. Jesus has already won the victory. He wants to be the hyper-conqueror for you. Ask Him now. Ask Him to be the hyper-conqueror in your life.