I think I’ve started this blog post no less than five times. It’s a new year, but it feels wrong to cheerfully throw virtual confetti in your face while gleefully shouting “happy new year” to a world who probably doesn’t feel too happy in a year that doesn’t feel too new. That’s why January is almost gone and this space has been so silent. It feels like anything I might venture to share will sound political or divisive. It feels like my opinion might sound like a battle cry or at the least, a sword of offense to a sensitive soul.
But at the same time, there are things that beg to be shared.
The other morning, my husband left shortly after 6:00 am. He took a stack of gospel calendars and literature, found a small town, and before anyone ventured to crack their doors and welcome the new day, passed through like a shadow. Society (not Heaven) forbid anyone lay eyes on an evangelist actually out in public.
As I got the kids breakfast, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated. It used to be a grand event, believers organizing distributions, a group hitting the streets and sharing the gospel. And this year? A lone man, stealthily passing through dark streets and surreptitiously sliding a calendar (!!) under gates.
What is wrong with this world?
We are being coerced to worship at the feet of physical health, an absurd idol chiseled out by God hating scientists and propped up by the strength of megalomaniacal governments on the wearied back of a trusting society.
You feel shocked right now.
Worship? Health? Don’t we need to take care of ourselves, of others? How can you say this is an idol?
When anything….anything at ALL takes precedence over God ( who he is, what he has established) or consumes our thoughts and decision-making, it becomes an idol. So yes, public health has become an idol.
All is done in the name of health.
All is prohibited in the name of health.
All is believed, practiced, virtue signaled, criticized, demanded in the name of health.
What is wrong then with this world? With great subtlety, Satan has moved among the masses to ensure creation is revered instead of the Creator.
The point of my writing is not to explore the restrictions, comment on policies, denounce or endorse face masks and vaccines. Those items are secondary, really, to a deeper controversy.
I believe we need to be cautious and careful. Wisely look out for the best interest of all. Obviously the virus can cause serious illness and death. But transcending those precautions is an even greater calling. Gospel work and church related activities have been sacrificed on the altar of public interest. Spiritual necessities and commandments have been put on an indefinite hold. Zoom and youtube are nice but grossly insufficient. Some people don’t even have access to the internet which means their intake is net zero. It seems any creative outlets, like drive up meetings, have also been met with fresh restrictions and some sort of complicating opposition. Neighbors in some areas are encouraged to rat on the noncompliant. Hard to ring someone’s doorbell to share a gospel verse when they’ve got 911 on speed dial. Personal testimony is immensely limited; reaching out to the unknown basically nonexistent. Except for a few calendars down a random predawn street.
So a world who, at their core, is crying out for God, groaning under the weight of their own sin and depravity, has simultaneously restricted access to the most necessary antidote of all.
Physical health is important.
Spiritual health is absolutely imperative.
And let’s not delude ourselves either. Yes, the spiritual needs of the unsaved is most certainly of enormous concern but who can honestly feel convinced that Christians themselves have been left untainted by months of estrangement and seclusion, fed more by the media than fellowship with believers?
There are christians so discouraged they say they are never coming back.
There is sin that has not been, maybe won’t ever be, dealt with.
There are strained relationships simply worsening through lack of communication and collective worship.
As pioneers, looking over our fields of labor, the toll of the pandemic has been enormous. Has it been worth it then? Almost all the believers have gotten sick anyway and clearly nothing was contracted at a nonexistent meeting.
I think it is past time we conduct a deep analysis. Raise our eyes a little beyond the noise. People are dying (as they have done for millennia), believers are floundering. The Lord could come today.
With a little grace, maybe it’s time for some serious counter culture. Maybe we need to walk up to the grove with Gideon, tear down the coronavirus goddess and give God His rightful place once again.
We’ll actually face little but captivity and tribute if we don’t.