In the middle of the night, just hours after the University of Michigan decided to cancel all classes due to the coronavirus, I showed up at my son’s fraternity house to move him back home.
The streets were empty and those who were shuffling around did so with determination, like they were each on a mission. Many of them, my son included, were trying to say goodbye to years’ worth of friendships in a few hours, not knowing when or if they’d see one another again.
Many would be graduating with no ceremony, moving across country or returning to their home countries. There is a lot we don’t know about how the coronavirus pandemic will turn out, but we know one thing for sure—it is disruptive.
Disruption is now the daily theme of our workplaces, campuses, homes, and even our inner world. Research related to Gen Z demonstrates strongly that fear and anxiety are a core part of their story and this pandemic feeds right into the very center of their weakness and vulnerability.
I could see it on the face of my son and on the faces of those we passed in the middle of the night on our way out of town. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a time of fear and suffering and these words from Paul in Romans 8:26-28 feel more important to me today than they were a few weeks ago:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
There is a ‘wordless groan’ coming from the Spirit of God during this time. He is searching hearts and minds, interceding in ways that we cannot. Paul also encourages us by saying that in all things God is working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose!
Fear and anxiety during times of disruption are to be expected, but what we choose to believe and how we respond to disruption makes all the difference in the world. We need to remember that we are loved and that we are called with a purpose and to a purpose!
Our college campuses are closing and people’s lives are being disrupted. The small business owner who has sunk everything she has into a college town coffee shop, Uber and Lyft drivers, graduate TAs, and stranded international students are all feeling the weight of disruption. The truth is that nobody really knows how it will end, and this is challenging. We have had the luxury of believing we are safe, but coronavirus has taken that luxury from us. The reality is, we don’t know what the future holds. The disease itself is just one facet of this disruption and while everything seems uncertain, we can be sure of this—God loves us and has called us with purpose and to a purpose.
The 150+ organizations that have banded together in the EveryCampus Coalition have been physically prayer walking the campuses of America over the last year, driven by a grand vision of revival in our time. We believe there is a new move of God in America and that revival is coming. We have come together like never before to see new gospel movements on our campuses so that students will know the love of God and walk ‘according to his purpose.’
Revivals and awakenings in the past have almost always occurred during times of great disruption and social upheaval. While this is true, we do not believe coronavirus and the suffering it is bringing is some curse from God. Often, Paul’s words in Romans 8 are misinterpreted to say that God causes all things, like coronavirus, but a careful reading of his words shows us that God is workingfor good in all things.
God is working good in our season of suffering. God is working good in the middle of the night as boxes are loaded into cars and tears are shared among friends and fraternity brothers. God IS at work to use this pandemic for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Could it be that a revival would come out of this time of disruption? We are praying for a sincere awakening and revival during this time and while our campuses are closing, we are calling the church to join us in prayer over the campuses of America.
Call to action
While the situation throughout America is changing by the hour, we are committed to prayer for our campuses. All of the 150+ partners in EveryCampus are asking God to send revival to our campuses and you can play a part in joining us!
As many of the campuses have shifted to virtual instruction, EveryCampus has created a guide on how to do virtual prayer walks of every single campus in the country (all 4,200+ of them) so that the everyone in the body of Christ can participate in praying for revival in America!
Please visit www.everycampus.com to identify the campuses near you, and follow the prompts to participate in a virtual prayer walk. As we join our voices together in prayer for the next generation, we are joining the Lord’s in working all things together for good!
R. York Moore is an author and serves as National Evangelist and National Director for Catalytic Partnerships for InterVarsity USA. York is a convener of leaders for evangelism and missions in America, and a founder of the Every Campus initiative.