Do you hear people turning to God right now? Because we should be!
By March 11, COVID-19 had invaded 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people. That day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic and the numbers keep climbing. The world has shut down and locked in. Yet nowhere do I hear our nations crying out to God, neither asking for help on humbled knees, nor even enraged with shaken fist. God seems beside the point.
Remember after God’s first plague against Egypt, “the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts, so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen” (Exodus 7:22). Anything God can do man can do better was the message, so why give heed to the God of Moses? Not so by plague three, “the magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God’” (Exodus 8:18-19). Must we wait until plague eight? Nine? Ten? Too late?
We are impressed with ourselves even against a foe that baffles and befuddles our best. Antidotes and vaccines are months, even years away. Our professionals are good, amazing even, and we should give them every means to fight this enemy. I take my kid to the doctor when he’s sick. Of course I do. I also get on my knees. The same if my daughter is behind in school. I go to the teacher for help. I also get on my knees. I pray on my knees and I call a therapist when battling depression. When investing, I look to financial experts. And I get on my knees, because it’s not my money. It’s His!
I get on my knees because COVID-19 is not the worst plague against us. Worse is Pharaoh’s hardened heart. Worse is a people who have forgotten God. He is anything but beside the point.
At the bottom of life, when all was stripped away, Job, the man who suffered more than any other, declared the one thing that mattered most, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). Easter Sunday is God’s declaration that even our greatest enemy, death, has no power over the one who walked out of the tomb alive and now sits on the throne of heaven. In this world, both pleasure and plague should remind us who is the only one who brings hope to life. Jesus put it this way, “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 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 6:31-33).
This is why we must get on our knees and turn to God. This comes first.
Heavenly Father, what a wonderful, marvelous world this is, and you created it all. May I, at all times, remember you, because when I forget, when I turn away, that is when sin enters and disease and death with it. That’s what happened at the beginning in the Garden. Adam and Eve turned from you and death walked in. Right now, we are in a fight against a virus, something deadly, something not good in this good world. Give our leaders, our scientists, our doctors wisdom and skill in this battle. But more importantly, may this be an occasion when we remember you and turn our hearts toward the one so many have forgotten and neglected.
I love you, Jesus, and that’s what matters first. Actually, you love me and that matters even more. That amazes me even more. It is where I find rest when my world has turned upside down. Thank you, God. Amen.