we have to navigate through circumstances that, from a human perspective, can be stressful, emotionally draining, and even devastating at times.
But I’m a Christian. What does that mean in times like these? Should I be panicking or fearful? It’s true, we have to live in this fallen world with the consequences of sin and the curse. And we have to navigate through circumstances that, from a human perspective, can be stressful, emotionally draining, and even devastating at times.
Now, I’ve been in uncharted territory before. God’s Word is right—there’s really nothing new under the sun: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
We have prayerfully made the decision to temporarily close the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum for a time, beginning March 17 and projecting to reopen on April 2 in accord with what the authorities are recommending.
Yes, it is easy for us to become fearful. What about all our staff, the 500 full-time and 600 part-time/seasonal staff—and the hundreds of children in their families? How do we look after them? After all, they are our greatest asset.
How do we protect the ministry financially so we can reopen the doors of our attractions and continue to impact the world with the most important message of all—the saving gospel?
Also, what about the financial distress for those businesses in our area that are geared up to supply hotel rooms, food, transportation, etc. for visitors to our attractions?
It is uncharted territory for this ministry.
All of these things are a burden on us. It is uncharted territory for this ministry.
But as I wrote, and need to be reminded of, we’ve been in uncharted territory before.
In 1979, Mally and I were deeply burdened as we struggled over the decision of whether I should leave a secure, well-paid teaching position and go full time into what has today become the AiG ministry. We sought counsel from many people.
Mally was such a sweet blessing. She opened up the Bible and read this passage of Scripture out loud. In fact, please read it out loud as you read on:
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).
Mally and I then prayed and committed to the Lord that we were both in agreement and meant it 100 per cent. We were willing to take this step into uncharted territory.
Having taken that step, we didn’t just sit back and wait for God to supply our needs. We recognized God is sovereign, but God expects us to be responsible. So we shared what we were going to do with friends and family, and told them we would have ongoing needs. Many people began supporting us with food, clothing, and money—in all sorts of ways, God provided. And look where the ministry is today, over 40 years later!
There have been times when we’ve been distraught and perplexed, battling over how to deal with complex issues.
Now, we’ve had our struggles over the years. There have been times when we’ve been distraught and perplexed, battling over how to deal with complex issues. But looking back over four decades of ministry, we see God’s hand of leading . . . of blessing . . . of admonition . . . of discipline . . . and of direction, bringing us to where we are today.
Yes, over the years, we have stepped into uncharted territory many times—in fact, I call them “Red Sea events.” The sea will be before us, there’s no way back, and if God doesn’t open up a path through the sea, we’ll be in big trouble. But God has been faithful each time—mostly in ways we never envisaged.
As I ponder the current coronavirus situation, I’m reminded of the Israelites. God took them into uncharted territory. But over and over again, God provided for them in ways they could never have imagined.
Yet, even with God’s provision, the Israelites complained! Yes, we fallible humans are fickle people! As God answers our prayers and blesses us, when we get into a situation in which we don’t know the solution, we immediately whine and complain! Yep, there’s nothing new under the sun.
Now here we are in uncharted territory once again. Oh, it would be easy to complain about. But our leadership team has chosen to cry out to the Lord for wisdom and direction. From a human perspective, it’s scary. So I encourage all of you to do what God shares for us in his Word. Many times through prophets and others, God reminded the people of what he had done for them in the past. He reminded them of all the times he took them through uncharted territory.
I want you to look back at the history of this ministry and recall the many miraculous ways the Lord provided our finances: battling to get the land for the museum and then its funding, obtaining the land for the Ark, finding the talented staff and funding it, and then opening our doors to reach millions with the message of God’s Word and the gospel.
WOW! We need to remember all those special events. Mally and I often reflect on the many events in our personal lives where God provided in ways that seemed impossible at the time. We need to remember that God will not abandon us.
So, in these present circumstances regarding the coronavirus, please know that our leadership team has met many times—often multiple times throughout the day. We’ve prayed and pooled our wisdom and ideas, we’ve looked at all the possible consequences, we’ve also sought counsel from many people outside the ministry.
God has not brought us this far with all that he has done to let this ministry fall.
Yes, it is easy to be fearful of what might happen. But ultimately, we should remember: God has not brought us this far with all that he has done to let this ministry fall.
From a sovereignty perspective, if God determined it was time for any ministry to end, then we could never stop that anyway. But with all we’ve seen God do for 40 years, we’re convinced God is going to see us through this situation. Yes, it will take hard work, sacrifice, and trust as we walk step by step in faith. I think of this verse:
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
Our board and staff leadership are committed to doing what this verse teaches. We plan, discuss, and seek counsel from others. We pray. We want to do what God wants, and so we look to our Creator and Savior for guidance, and we trust him to order our steps.
And we also want you, our supporter, to know how much we have been agonizing over these challenging circumstances. From a human perspective, it’s often hard to sleep—yet we rest in the knowledge God is in control.
I also want to share with you that financially, this will be a very hard time on the ministry. But God has abundantly blessed AiG, the Ark, and Creation Museum over the years. In fact, our end-of-year giving was so encouraging, praise God! It was a mountain top—but now we expect God to take us through a valley.
I believe a time like this should remind us never to become complacent when we see God supplying our material needs. It’s a reminder too that we are only here by God’s grace and provision on a daily basis.
Some of you may be in the situation of wondering how your business will survive . . . or if you will have a job tomorrow . . . or how you’re going to make payments on a car or house. So please let us know how we can be praying for you. We all need to pray for each other.
Please pray for us. We are letting our supporters know what we’re doing right now. We are going to do all that’s in our power to look after and protect our wonderful staff, even when the attractions are closed for a time. We are going to have to make some hard decisions, and frankly, from a human perspective, it seems our ministry will be restricted for the immediate future.
I don’t believe God is finished with this nation!
Now, I don’t believe God is finished with this nation! Yes, the sins of this country are a stench before the Lord. Sins such as the murder of 61 million babies in the womb through abortion; our perversion of sex, gender, and marriage through the sexual revolution of the 1960s and now in the current LGBTQ revolution; our expelling of God and his Word from public life in television, movies, K‒12 schools, halls of government, etc.; the compromise seen in the church over the lies of evolution and millions of years; and many more.
Oh how this nation needs to confess and repent of such sins before the Lord—remembering too that God is a gracious and forgiving God.
To me, there’s a glimmer of hope for America. Remember when God spoke to Abraham about the judgment coming to Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18? Well, Abraham pleaded with God to spare the judgment if there were 45 righteous, then 40, 30, 20, and finally, 10. God said he would not destroy them if there were 10 righteous.
Now, Abraham didn’t go below 10 people. I often wonder if Abraham remembered how God didn’t spare the entire world when there were only 8 people who went on the Ark, so there was no point in going below 10.
Here’s my glimmer of hope. We’ve seen millions come to the Ark and the Creation Museum, I’ve met hundreds of thousands of Christians across the nation, I’ve met thousands of homeschoolers and kids from Christian schools. You know what hit me? There are millions of people who love the Lord in this nation. Millions are burdened about lukewarm, compromising churches and compromising colleges. God has an enormous remnant of committed godly people in this nation.
Could God be calling the church and culture back to the foundation of his infallible Word so the gospel can be proclaimed in ways more powerful than ever?
Maybe God is using this time to call this remnant to do even greater things for him. Could God be calling the church and culture back to the foundation of his infallible Word so the gospel can be proclaimed in more powerful ways than ever?
Please be in prayer for us. And please be in prayer for this nation and the church. We are committed to obeying God’s Word as we pray for you as we pray for each other.
So how does God get us through these Red Sea events? Through you, our faithful supporters. And perhaps God is calling you to be his instrument as we travel this unprecedented path of financial stress on this ministry. We would be so grateful. If you can assist us in sustaining the ministry at this difficult time, please send in a gift today or go to AnswersInGenesis.org/donate.
At some time in the future, I look forward to reminding you of this challenging time and all the ways (which we can’t see yet) in which God directed our paths!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,