I heard a radio broadcast today on Bott radio network. A woman (I don’t know who) has a call-in radio program. The topic for today was how angry people are that churches have been closed but that stores have been open. The callers (and the hostess of the program) were up in arms about it.
I, however, disagreed with their viewpoint. I thought that a lot of what they were saying, and the vehement tone which they were using to say it reveals a great deal of fear. Their conversations all pointed a finger at the government as the culprit for making churches stay closed. I didn’t tune in long enough to hear whether there was a caller who disagreed with their stance as I did. But, the more I thought about it the more I came to my own conclusions. They are as follows:
First, I think that no one in the government is denying me my right to practice my religious beliefs. No one is telling me that I will be put in jail or sentenced to death because I openly practice my religion in my home. As a matter of fact, I can go out into my front yard and sing hymns and read scriptures aloud as long as I wear a mask and social distance. I can watch my churches live streaming services as much as I want and can have a small group in my home to watch with me.
Secondly, the government is not shutting down my church at all. I can still see the services on the internet. My church has had to adapt to the Covid-19 virus but so has everyone, everywhere. Every place of business, every religious organization, every park and museum has had to do the same thing. My church is still functioning. It is functioning in a new way that it has never functioned before but it is still alive and vibrant. No one has told my church it cannot exist anymore. No one has barred the doors, locked it up, shut off the lights and thrown away the keys.
Thirdly, the callers (that I did hear) were all speaking about their anger at the actions of the government. I never did hear anyone speak about the real culprit of this nightmare, namely Covid-19. It is the disease that is causing the government to close everything down BECAUSE of this rapidly spreading disease. The disease is in control here and not the government. The government is just REACTING to this virus in trying to stem the tide of new cases and more deaths.
Fourth, I think that God is doing a reordering work that will propel the church forward from this point onward into a new direction. We have to remember that it is God Who has allowed Covid-19 to exist and to spread. It is God Who has allowed Covid-19 to have life and to proliferate. So, should we be angry with God? No. God has his reasons for everything He does and He guarantees us that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord Jesus. We have to have faith that beyond the bend in this road that we’ve all approached that God has His goodness ready to be enacted. In fact, His goodness is here now. I wonder how many of us would have caught this disease but God intervened on our behalf? I certainly don’t believe He’s sitting back on His throne just watching this horror occur without knowing what good it will bring. I believe God is turning the church around in a new direction so that she is equipped to handle a very different future than any of us could ever have imagined.
I doubt that Noah really wanted it to rain so much that he had to build an ark. I doubt that Noah really wanted it to rain so hard, for so long, that he actually had to get together all those animals into that ark, bring his family inside and shut the doors. God took Noah’s world in an entirely new direction and it was because God was looking out for the survival of His beloved creation. And, yes just like today, things in Noah’s world never went back to the way they were before the flood.
Fifth, I have found that those who can accept, adapt, change their ways of thinking and doing are also the ones who can repent and turn around their lives and come to Christ. I feel that the anger that I heard on the radio is from a group of people who haven’t accepted that the spiritual tide in Christ is shifting once again and if you don’t accept, adjust and grab hold of the railings of this ark’s new journey that you will be (unfortunately) swept away with the rising flood waters. How sad to think of those who have held onto their faith for so many years may now endanger their own faith because they were too stodgy or set in a kind of spiritual concrete so fast that they could not go with the new flow of the Holy Spirit.
Sixth, I get it that tempers are high because people are out of work and don’t know where food or money will come from. People are freaked out. For many, their houses of worship were vital links in their lives that have been temporarily cut. But, it is temporary. The government is not stating that this is forever.
It is a frightening thing to think about when I think of how many ministries, charities and houses of worship will close because of lack of funding. But, I think that God is redirecting the church for survival in the future world where things will get much worse before Jesus comes back. Christians know that there will be a rise of an Antichrist. It has been foretold and this crisis may be the opening of the doors for him to gain a foothold in the world and come into prominence and power. This is the devil’s world right now and the ball is (unfortunately) in his court. But, if we lose our faith in God then we are helping the Antichrist rise to power. If we give in to fear and relinquish our faith, no matter how sound the reasons, we are doing exactly what the Antichrist wants us to do. He wants us to turn to the dark side, namely his side.
Seventh, it is sad to think that people would spend their time, energy and resources to legally fight the US government in court over the temporary closing of churches when they could be using all of those things to support desperate people in dire need. I can never say that someone should not stand up for their rights but we are not going to be able to turn the clocks back and undo the closing of the churches. If we could turn the clocks back and undo anything it may be that the US government should have acted quicker at stopping the rampant spread of the virus in the first place.
Eighth, it seems to me that people are forgetting the real goal here. It is to stop the spread of a very potent and deadly disease. It is hard to fathom that 100,000 people in the US alone have had to be buried from this virus. Yet, we seem to be acting as if our real goal is to fight the government or fight each other.
Lastly, I think that Jesus could very well be saddened at our angry responses and our constant shaming and blaming. I think He must be appalled at our lack of concern over our individual righteousness, peace and joy which we have sacrificed to take up the sword in an attempt to cut off the ear of the government. I think I hear Jesus saying that you can’t change one hair on your head to white or black by your rioting, protesting, suing or blaming.
The only way through this while preserving our faith is to remain strong, remain focused on Christ and to be filled with the Spirit Who gives us the inner strength to adapt while holding a peaceful inner spirit. If I lose my peace then I lose my righteous standing with God. If I lose both of those then I will lose my joy in Christ. After that it is a tumble down the hill to where I resent God for allowing Covid-19 in the first place. Once I’ve done that I slip on down the hillside of salvation and want to give back my salvation which is my only hope!
The last thing that Jesus needs is for His once faithful Saints to become disloyal and disillusioned. He doesn’t want or need the job of having to rope all of us Christians back into right standing with God AND have to bring new converts to Christ at the same time.
So, if my opinion here is worth any more than two cents and a ball of drier lint I’ll be surprised. I hope that this encourages you (dear reader who has made it this far in this lengthy post) to hold onto your faith, not swerve and miss the bend in the s-curve we’re all experiencing. Don’t tumble down the embankment off the road of your faith in Jesus.
Janet Williams…..THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN….A blog to see!