A Pastor's Perspective on COVID19
To say that this pandemic and its subsequent effects on our society has been difficult to digest is a gross understatement. Three months ago nothing about the progression of this virus and its impact could have been imagined. This virus has taken lives and livelihoods. It has turned our economy upside down and totally redefined how we do life socially. Things once taken for granted are now cherished times that we all pray can be experienced again. With all of us simultaneously experiencing this unprecedented time in our lives, it is safe to say that we all are processing it differently. It's with this understanding that I approach this blog. My process is unique to me as your process is to you. My desire isn't to relay to you how I'm dealing with all of this uncertainty, but to take an aerial approach and look at what I see to be a powerful spiritual principle at play.
As the virus moved from something far away to a real and present danger, it was clear that fear became a driving force in the fight against its spread. Let me be clear, I believe the fear experienced by the vast majority was warranted. It's a fear that was sparked from the potential loss of life on a global scale. This fear and concern led to unprecedented decisions that would change society as we knew it. Changes that would effect almost every area of societal norms. I believe all of us were a bit in shock as we saw events beginning to snowball into uncharted territory. Suddenly things we took for granted were taken away. Seemingly overnight, those things in our lives considered secure were now insecure. A strong American economy virtually turned upside down. Family gatherings now became video conferences.
I could go on and on, but the point is, all these events were set in motion not necessarily by the virus, but ultimately by FEAR. Fear that stemmed from the potential loss of human life. Fear provoked by something we could not control, nor see. This fear, at many levels, was justified. Why? Because when our lives are threatened we fear. Fear is powerful, it's meant to be. Fear is a response to our sense of safety being threatened. It moves us into actions meant to protect ourselves. Now fear is at the center of the division which our country is experiencing. Those who fear for the potential loss of life and those who fear for their financial livelihood. Both are justified, because both sides are wanting to protect their lives and livelihoods of others.
Above any debate and division, what this pandemic has made absolutely clear, is that fear is a powerful motivator. It motivates because our lives and livelihoods are a precious gift, and when threatened, they must be protected. With that said, the biggest spiritual issue I have realized during this time, is the fear of losing life has moved the world to unprecedented action, but the reality of eternal life is an ever present truth that is often neglected, rejected, or not even considered. When our temporal lives are not "threatened", circumstances are comfortable, entertainment is available and things feel as if they are normal, we as humans tend to ignore the invisible reality over all of us: The spiritual reality. The true reality that is eternal.
I believe, there is a shortage of a healthy fear of this truth. A fear that consistently leads us to a place of humility and obedience. Our earthly lives are but a vapor but our eternal lives are forever. Eternity cannot be lived in the presence of God without the forgiveness of sins. This should instill a fear that moves all of mankind into action. Action that leads to Christ because on He offers that forgiveness. But yet, millions upon millions reject this truth and have no idea what eternity truly holds for them and are okay with it. This is a sobering reality when truly grasped. A reality that should move us who believe into action. But often it does not.
What do we need to move us? If we could consistently work toward a deeper comprehension of the awesomeness of our God, the grace found in Christ, and the reality of eternity with or without Him, our lives would dramatically change. Why do I believe this? Because fear is powerful and a GODLY FEAR is produced when His truth is revealed. When we realize that we have no hope before a righteous God without grace. That we have no hope of true life without His presence within us. When the depths of His love and power are realized a powerful God centered fear is created that totally re-calibrates life and its values. Just look at what the fear of a deadly invisible virus did to the world. It completely changed its priorities and how it operates. The truth is, fear that is oriented toward God has the power to totally change us and to save lives. It changes everything about how we operate for ourselves and how we see others and their eternity.
Proverbs 1:7-8 says:
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The fear of the Lord is not a paralyzing and cowering fear. It is the proper reverence that we owe to God who is our Creator and our Redeemer. He is the invisible one who holds life and death in His hands. He is the sovereign Lord over all creation who sits in the place of all authority. The very lives we live exist only because He brought it forth. It's when we dare to fully realize this truth, that proper fear is made manifest and true knowledge and wisdom is gained. Lives are completely changed because the orientation of our lives has shifted.
My prayer throughout this pandemic has been that the fear and uncertainty it has produced would create a GODLY FEAR that would ignite an awakening of God's people. When the church is awakened and cast into action, lives are transformed and lives are saved. When a proper fear of the Lord is held by His people, the reality of sin and its potential for eternal destruction, motivates believers into a rescue mode of those who are at risk. It also reveals unrighteousness in the hearts of those who follow Christ and leads them to press into the reality of true transformation, escaping the snares of sin and its corrosive effects.
Society is at a tipping point, this virus has caused all to re-evaluate priorities at some level, which cast light on the question of purpose and values. Many will fall deeper into the need of protecting their temporary existence, but many can be pointed to their need of eternal life with Christ. A Godly fear can re-calibrate His church and mobilize His people to meet those in the midst of their biggest time of decision. Can we all pray for a Godly fear to be ignited in God's people? Can we all work to orient our lives around the truth of eternal life and the source of entry, Jesus Christ? Can we escape the trap of division and unite around the single purpose of following our king? The world needs us. People are perishing. We have the cure!!