People have been put through the wringer over the last couple of months due to COVID-19, but Pastor Mario Moxey says God has never left them, nor did He forsake them.
In his Sunday sermon titled “Boats and Branches” at Bahamas Harvest Church, Moxey encouraged people to keep their eyes focused and fixed on God, as only He could anchor them and take them to the next level. As he wrapped up his monthly series on the topic “Next”, Moxey said only God can bring people through the coronavirus pandemic, whole.
“It’s possible to come out of a very traumatic situation in your life, and don’t even realize you’ve been traumatized. As you prepare for your next, you have to properly process what you experienced, because if you don’t process what you went through, and you try to move on to your next, you could make a mess of your life.”
Psychologically, Moxey says people can shut out what they’ve gone through, and not realize its impact on their life. He urges people to not underestimate what they are going through, or what they have been through.
“Some of you have locked that so far away, you don’t even remember what it was like to be here in March and all the societal anxiety that everyone had. You were washing your hands for 20 seconds every 15 minutes, when you came into the house you were aware that you may be tracking COVID-19, so you took your shoes off … you took your clothes off and put them someplace else. You were caught up in this bubble – don’t forget.”
He says COVID-19 can have a lasting and profound effect psychologically.
“You can be traumatized and don’t realized you were traumatized.”
The BHC pastor referenced the biblical story of Noah and the ark during his sermon, showing its similarities to the COVID-19 era.
Moxey said the 12 months Noah spent on the ark was not only a time of isolation by God, but the period needed to take the entire world to their next.
“Up until the time of the flood, it had never rained before – there was no such thing as rain; it did not exist. In Genesis 2:5-6 it says – “For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land.”
“Can you imagine God and Noah’s conversation! God would have said ‘Noah’. And then Noah would respond, ‘Yes, God.’ ‘Noah, I want you to build me an ark.’ ‘Sure, God – what’s an ark?’ It’s a boat, because you and your family are going to need to be safe. The rains are going to come down, and the floods will come up, and I’m going to use the flood to totally destroy the entire world, and once the whole world is destroyed, I’m going to use you and your family and all the animals that you’ve captured to start the whole world all over again.’ ‘God?’ ‘Yes, Noah.’ ‘What’s rain?’ It must have been a very interesting conversation.”
Moxey told them that when Noah was 600 years old, on the 17th day of the second month, the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for 40 days and 40 nights. That very day, Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and his sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth – and their wives. With them in the boat, were pairs of every kind of animal. And the Lord closed the door behind them.
“God was the one that shut them in this time of isolation,” said Moxey.
The story of Noah and the ark, he says, teaches three lesson he refers to as “flood lessons” – that isolation can press a person to draw out what God put in; resist the temptation to get stuck; and to not underestimate the pressing by staying anchored.
He said they also need to be aware of what God is doing.
The BHC pastor also spoke to the significance of the olive branch, which the dove had returned to Noah once the floodwaters had receded from the earth. And that the olive branch is a symbol of peace and reconciliation.
“The dove returning with the olive leaf in his beak was God’s reconciliation to humanity – a promise of a fresh start for every single person.”
He spoke to his congregation about visiting an olive tree factory in Israel with his wife, Erica, and their tour of the farm where they noted the resilience of the tree that thrives in adversity.
And about the bruising and crushing process the olives go through to extract its oils to be used for consumption, soap, fuel, and detergent.
Moxey reminded worshippers at the Sunday service that they are resilient like the olive tree, no matter how much adversity is thrown their way.
“Throw COVID at you and you still going to thrive,” said Moxey.
“In the same way you have gone through the pressing, the crushing, the bruising, the beating, so that the oil of the Holy Spirit can flow out of you, for where God is taking you next in your life, you need the oil of the Holy Spirit to flow out of you, and in order for the oil to surface, sometimes you gatta go through some pressing.”
He said they are going through what they need to now, to get to their next and that they should leverage it.
“Don’t be crushed for nothing,” said Moxey. “When you going through the press, see the oil and know that the oil is your fuel to take you where you need to go next.
He urged them to resist the temptation to get stuck.
“Noah was in the ark over 12 months where there were a lot of live animals. It must have been awful. This was not a shutdown on the weekends only. This was not … you gat 90 minutes to go outside in your neighborhood and exercise. Noah didn’t even open a window for almost nine months. It must have stinketh. But they were graced to live in those conditions, in the same way that you and I are graced to live in COVID-19 conditions. We are graced for this. We can handle this. We can go through this.”
He told them that before they can launch into their next, they need to make sure they are grounded in Christ and on solid ground, just as Noah had to ensure the ark was on dry land before they left the vessel.
“The ark was only a vehicle – it was not the destination. It was a vehicle to take them to the destination. COVID-19 is only a vehicle to take you to your next. This is not the end of the world. This is what God is going to leverage in your life to take you to your next. This is a new day, but you gatta let go of what’s in the past. Whatever happened pre-COVID-19, don’t think in your mind that you’re going to go back there again. Don’t try to continue to operate under that old system – it’s not going to work. It’s time to leave the ark. It’s time to let that stuff go. Don’t get stuck in the past. Get yourself a new foundation, so you can launch off.”
Moxey urged them to not underestimate the pressing and to stay anchored. During his time in the ark, he said Noah picked up a new skill and began to farm, planting a vineyard.
“During this time of isolation [Noah] learnt something – he improved himself. During the time of isolation, I took a course, so I could get my diploma in social media now. What did you pick up during your time of isolation? How have you improved yourself?”
Moxey said the Noah before the ark was a different Noah after the ark, as 12 months on the ark changed him.
“What are you turning to after COVID-19?” he asked.