I wanted to give you an update on the status of the Answers in Genesis ministry as we go through the coronavirus situation. As you know, we had to temporarily close the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum to the public. Also many other state regulations (and we have staff from three states: Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio) have complicated matters for us.
As a result, our income has dropped markedly. At first we made significant expense cuts in an effort to protect our staff positions as we were hopeful we could open again by April 2. But as time went on, not only did we realize any re-opening date would be much further in the future but also we heard many conflicting reports that made it impossible to predict a new opening date.
Because of this, we have had to make the very distressing decision to temporarily lay off the majority of our staff to protect the financial stability of the ministry and provide them the opportunity to seek unemployment and other state benefits. Now companies and ministries like ours in Kentucky still have to reimburse the state for those unemployment benefits, but we won’t need to pay the state for that until September. So this is a way of at least helping our staff while stewarding our resources so that prayerfully we can get through this “Red Sea” event. We have to do our best to protect the ministry for the future, knowing God is in control—but he expects us to be responsible with what he’s entrusted to us.
Most of our mailings to supporters have been stopped or greatly reduced. It takes time to produce and print a letter and organize its mailing. Instead, if there are any updates concerning an opening date, we will post those on our websites and social media. As you can imagine, it will also take time to ramp up once we are allowed to open—and who knows what restrictions the Government may impose on us. These are very trying times.
We know many of you are in the same sort of situation as AiG, and we do need to pray and support each other. If any of you can help us financially in any way, we would certainly appreciate it.
Regardless, I wanted to share with you what the coronavirus situation has done for me personally. As I pondered what was happening, the coronavirus crisis gives me eleven reminders.
1. Reminds Me of Our Mortality
So many people right now are fearful of dying. Now, don’t get me wrong: we need to do our best to look after our health and protect our families, but this situation should remind us that ultimately, death comes to all. In Luke, we read about Jesus discussing the death of people:
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:4–5).
Note His response: “Repent.” In other words, this was their turn to die, and one day it will be your turn, so make sure your heart is right before the Lord. The overriding issue is that people need to be saved! Yes, what we see happening around us is alarming from a human perspective, but Christians shouldn’t fear death. They should be helping those who do fear it hear the most vital message of all time: the saving gospel.
God reminds us in his Word that we can’t add a single hour to our life span:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life (Matthew 6:27)?
Certainly, we need to be responsible in looking after ourselves, but it’s important to be reminded that God is in control regarding when someone dies.
2. Reminds Me This Is Not Our Permanent Home
We really are pilgrims in this world—it is not our permanent home. God’s Word states:
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14).
This coronavirus situation, I believe, is a reminder from God that we are all so prone to becoming so comfortable in this life, we can easily forget we’re really just strangers in a foreign land. Yes, we are wandering through this pilgrim land. Remember Abraham! We should think like he did and understand we are just vagabonds here on earth.
For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).
There are so many reminders in Scripture that we as Christians should be looking forward to our eternal home. The time we spend on earth is nothing compared to eternity—that’s what’s important.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14).
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:13–16).
3. Reminds Me Not to Store up Earthly Treasures
It’s so easy for us to become attached to earthly treasures. As my mother aged, she reminded me over and over again that earthly things don’t last and are not important. When we had no option and she had to have continuous care in a nursing home, she had hardly any reminders left of the earthly things she once had. But she reminded me once again that such earthly treasures weren’t important, as we can’t take them with us. It’s the heavenly treasures we can look forward to.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19–21).
4. Reminds Me of God’s Promise to Provide Our Needs Day by Day
It’s so easy for us as fallible humans to look at the storm (the waves and wind) raging around us so we begin to sink as Peter did (Matthew 14). We need to do our best to focus on our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and take hold of his promises.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Yes, he promises to supply our spiritual needs and our physical needs. The following passage is the one Mally and I read in the 1970s when we were agonizing over me leaving a secure teaching job and going into the creation-apologetics ministry full time.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:25–33).
After reading this passage and praying, we committed before the Lord to move full time into what has become the Answers in Genesis ministry. And look what God has done through the years, impacting millions of people with the truth of his Word and the gospel.
5. Reminds Me to Redeem the Time
We can get carried away so easily with worldly pleasures. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have fun and relax. But this crisis situation in our country and the rest of the world has reminded me that there’s a lost world that desperately needs the gospel. I committed to the Lord that if we can become operational again (and I’m confident by faith we will), I want to devote more time than ever to sharing God’s Word and the gospel to as many souls as I can while he gives me strength.
We need reminding to be “making the best use of the time [redeeming the time], because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).
Yes, each of us can reappraise our priorities right now in regard to a diligent use of the time the Lord has given us. We should take the best advantage of the time we have available, not squander it. Time marches on, and none of it can be recalled.
There is no better use of our time than to preach the Word of God and the gospel to see people saved, as the days are evil/wicked, and many are on their way to hell.
6. Reminds Me That We Need to Be Risk Takers
We need to be risk takers. In Christian terms it means stepping out in faith. God has instructed us to preach the gospel and contend for the faith (Jude 3). We can easily be intimidated by the world—the evil giant we see around us. But don’t be overcome yourself at how evil and overwhelming the world is. God’s Word warns us to expect it. Let’s get out there and do whatever we can.
God has entrusted us (and our supporters) with the Ark Encounter, Creation Museum, and the general ministry of Answers in Genesis. Let’s plan on moving ahead responsibly while trusting God’s sovereignty. We don’t want to be like some of the spies Moses sent out to the land of Canaan. They were frightened by what they saw, even though God promised to give the land to them. Because of the spies’ report, the people were frightened. Instead of looking to God and his promises, they looked at the giants in the world they would be facing.
Let’s be like Caleb and Joshua who were prepared to be “risk takers” (ready to step out in faith trusting God) and take on the world. God has told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel.
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel … Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan … They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land (Mark 16:15).
And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan” . . .
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” . . .
Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron . . . Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”
Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel (Numbers 13:30–14:10).
Don’t fear the people of the land!
7. Reminds Me of What Faith Really Means
Every time I’ve read about Abraham and the test of faith God gave to him regarding his son Isaac, I ask myself: “How would I measure up to this?” I have to be honest. I can’t wrap my head around this. What faith! No wonder he was called the “friend of God” (James 2:23).
God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you (Genesis 22:1–2).
And then I read the book of Daniel and ask myself, “How would I compare my faith to such people like this?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16–18).
Or have any of us had trials like those mentioned in Hebrews 11?
Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:35–38).
Wow! Would people look back on our lives and say “of whom the world was not worthy”? It’s easy for us to complain about our circumstances. Yes, I bow my head in shame.
8. Reminds Me That God Has a Right to Bring Judgment on Nations
God owns everything—everything! And he knows what’s best for us. He is a righteous God of judgment and salvation. He’s in charge.
I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things (Isaiah 45:7).
So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it” (Jeremiah 18:3–10).
9. Reminds Me That AiG Is God’s Ministry, Not Ours—and He Has a Right to Do with It as He Wants
God raised up John the Baptist for a time, but then ended his ministry when he was jailed and beheaded (Matthew 14). God raised up Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter. They are God’s ministries, not ours. If he chooses not to continue them, then his purposes are pure, just, and right. God has entrusted us to oversee these ministries on earth, and they are totally in the Lord’s hands. We do all we can responsibly to protect them and use them to proclaim the truth of his Word and the gospel, but ultimately it’s God who decides their future.
10. Reminds Me That I Don’t Believe God Has Finished with This Nation or AiG
The board and staff leaders of Answers in Genesis don’t believe God has finished with this ministry at this time. Remember the account of Joseph who God had prepare stores of food so people could survive the famine:
So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:56).
Now at AiG, we have experienced so many miracles over the years: many, what I call, “Red Sea events.” The Lord provided many miraculous ways to get through the sea. I must admit, it seems like a raging sea and tsunami before us right now—the biggest such “Red Sea event” we’ve experienced. But we’ve seen evidence God has raised up this ministry as a great witness. He has blessed us in so many ways, including preparing us for this time.
For instance, we had funds given to us that we “thought” (the donation initially was given for a restricted fund) were for something else. We called the donors and they agreed to re-designate these funds to our general fund. Now, we believe God had prepared for us to use these funds during this time for the survival of the ministry, just as Joseph built up storehouses for the time of drought.
I have faith this re-directed donation is evidence God still has much for us to do, and so we plan for the future and to do our best not to fear the giants of the land before us.
Also, there are many righteous people in this nation—millions of them. God would have stopped judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (very wicked cities) if there were 10 righteous in them, as Abraham asked in Genesis 18:32. But there are millions in America who trust the Lord. I believe God will use them to be salt and light and to boldly proclaim the truth to the nation.
Now we’ve been reminded of what God can do as one “little” virus disrupts the whole world. So, let’s redeem the time as God gives to us. Many are doing it now by trying creative and inventive ways to reach people with God’s Word. And we should be planning ahead and asking how God may be redirecting some of the things we do. We can see that already at Answers in Genesis in finding methods that can more effectively reach people.
So, let’s use this time to reflect and ponder what God is calling us to change, and let’s be more impactful than ever.
11. Reminds Me of What Our Response Should Be
After all the bad things that happened to Job, and after he gave his defense to his friends, God spoke to Job and reminded who he is—the Creator who is in charge of all things. Job’s response needs to be our response:
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:2–6).
The answer to why such bad things happen is this: God knows all things and we humans do not. God’s purposes are beyond our understanding. We need to recognize who we are compared to God. We need to repent before God. And we need to worship God.
Now consider this challenge:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food (Isaiah 55:2).
Don’t waste time on bad instruction (from so many compromising churches), terrible doctrine, entertaining church services (so much in the church is man-centered and performance-oriented putting man not God first), or on worldly happiness—desire the solid teaching of the Word. It’s meat for the soul!
And never forget what God commanded us to do:
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15).
Please know that even though our attractions are closed to the public, AiG is still (albeit with limited staff) doing what we have always done: proclaiming the truth of God’s Word, equipping the saints, and pointing non-Christians to their need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are doing this through our many websites, social media, resources (books, DVDs, curricula), presentations, etc.
Now it’s true our speakers can’t travel and give talks right now. Instead, we are using Facebook Live on our various sites to introduce many new programs—and still impact many thousands of people daily. Children are already loving the live broadcasts of the science experiments and animal encounters. If anything, the coronavirus situation has helped us develop new programs that we believe can be implemented for different effective ways for the future!
If you can support us financially, please know that no gift is too small or too large. Your donation will help us continue what we’ve been called to do.