July 22, 2020
When will this End?
However else COVID-19 has changed our plans, impacted our finances, threatened our well-being, and put stimulus money in our pockets I’m convinced that as the world around gradually reopens, many of us have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reorder our lives. I am thinking that the worst thing any of us could do when the COVID-19 pandemic ends is go right back to business as usual. So, with that in mind, listen to the message of Micah 3, because in it the Lord shows us what a truly God centered life is like, and the choices we must make to have it.
Micah 3:11 (ESV)
11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No disaster shall come upon us.”
In Chapter 3 of Micah there is an overall rejection of God’s counsel in favor of their own arrogant wisdom. The people were holding on to one key idea that was at the root of all of these issues: They were going to be fine, no matter how they lived, no matter what they did, because they were Abraham’s descendants—and that’s just the way it was. Ultimately, the people were placing their hope in their religious birthright. Yet through Micah God was saying, “It’s only through sacrifice that your sins are forgiven, and it’s only through covenant loyalty and obedience that you will receive My favor.” Nevertheless, the people rejected it.
What does that have to do with COVID-19? Good question and I would like to answer it.
Dr. John Lennox in a book called “Where Is God in a Coronavirus World? notes that ours is not the first generation to face some kind of severe threat to our lives and well-being. But, unlike many previous generations, we tend to think of these kinds of threats as things of the past and of personal safety as our God-given right. The people in Micah’s day placed their hope in their religious birthright. We place our hope in the medical advances of the day in which we live.
So there it is, we would like to think of pandemic type events as relics of the past. Why do we believe that these events are relics of the past? Because we have forgotten that we will continue to suffer in this world. We think that we deserve something better. Furthermore, we would like to believe that personal safety is not only something that is desirable but that it is our God-given right. It is at this point that we begin to implement a false hope. This is one of the biggest dangers to our faith. Lennox says later in his book, a Christian "is not a person who has solved the problem of suffering, but one who has come to love and trust the God who has suffered for them." When we place our faith and our hope in anything other than God himself, we will only be sorely disappointed, angry, frustrated, and hopeless.
Our current state is not the end of the story. Through the suffering death and resurrection of Christ, a process has been inaugurated by which not only humans, but the rest of creation also, will be rescued from the effects of the Fall. We wait in Hope for the realization of all that he has purchased for us.
Jesus came into our world for one reason: to blow up the myth of religion. He didn’t come so that people could know more about God; He came so that people could know God. Jesus did not come so that we could merely have a working knowledge of who he is. But a growing knowledge of God himself that will give us a foundation of knowing him that steadies us for whatever storm is on the horizon. I, along with you, am eager to see the end of this pandemic. But God forbid that I should pin my hope on the prompt end to COVID-19.
Because of Jesus Our Only Hope,