In times like these, the Lord begins stripping back layers to expose the underlying issues.
For so long we’ve lived our own way – according to our own desires & plans – without seeking Him.
And I’m definitely included in that.
We’ve had so much prosperity, so many exciting innovations, and such a move towards chasing money to provide leisure.
And it’s hollowed out our society and much of the world.
We have the outside facade of everything looking fine, but inside there is nothing.
No substance. No character. No love.
We chase after our lusts & desires at all costs.
And in some cases the Lord brings a shaking to get our attention so we will repent and turn back to Him.
It seems we might be at the tipping point of that right now.
With the global pandemic that is Covid-19 it has brought to the surface various frailties that exist – in society, the global supply chain and the financial world. Frailties that we’ve assumed didn’t exist.
It’s shaking the foundation of security we’ve come to assume is there, where we’ve been lulled into trusting sources other than the Lord. But in the shaking there comes a re-evaluation for many where the fervency with which they seek the Lord will be re-ignited.
The superficial & unimportant are stripped away to where we are forced to get back to the basics. And the Lord’s using these difficulties in the natural world to bring that about.
He’s bringing issues to bear that man doesn’t have an answer for, where their desperation causes them to seek out other help.
It’s in times like these that many will turn back to the Lord.
I know there are always those who curse God for the pain they experience asking, “If God is love, why would He let this difficulty or tragedy happen?”
But so often these are the same people who don’t give the Lord any credit when times are good. They don’t see their prosperity and health and glorify Him with thankful hearts. Instead they ignore Him.
Let’s be real.
If that is how we operate, how is the Lord supposed to grab our attention using natural circumstances? If, in good times, we ignore Him and yet blame Him in bad times, how is He to get through to us? If we blame Him in bad times, is He not due credit in the good times? It’s the same principle found in Job 2: 10.
So, if we truly are embarking on some more difficult times, what then?
I see the Lord using this as an opportunity to pull our attention back to Him. And He will be using the same template that He has used over & over in the Old Testament – where the nation of Israel turns away and then comes running back to Him when disaster strikes.
But I feel that this time is different.
This time I don’t feel that the message is about God’s power and what He can do for us. I don’t feel the focus is on God’s healing, miracles, or financial deliverance as much as it’s about Him wanting our hearts.
This time I don’t think we’ll get away with chasing after God for His benefits & what He can do for us. This time I feel like the Lord is sitting back asking, “Do you truly want Me? Do you want me for who I am, or are you just chasing your desired result and you see Me as the means to achieving that end?”
If that has ever worked before, I don’t feel it will now.
That’s not to say that there won’t be deliverance but I believe the Lord is truly after our hearts where we love & follow him regardless of the outcome.
And for those of us in the West and the western church this is a hard thing. We’ve become so entitled and expectant of good things that we’ve largely seen the Lord as an addition to our self-centered lives.
Have we been much different than the pagan nations of the Bible who had their many gods? Where if a new and different god promised something they wanted, they just added them to the pile of gods they worshiped? (Jeremiah 2:28)
I believe this is a shaking where the Lord is testing the foundation of our faith to see whether its been built on rock or on sand. (Matthew 7:26)
I feel it’s coming right back to basics and the foundation of the Gospel where there comes a simplicity of priorities and a re-evaluation of what’s truly important.
Where family is once again a priority. Not where we see them as being in our lives purely to help us achieve and attain what we want, but where the family once again becomes a haven & sanctuary. Where its members can draw together in community and learn to grow together in the Lord.
Where family commitments, time together and growing in the Lord is more important than chasing money.
I see Church becoming more important, rather than the afterthought and brief interruption in our self-centered week that it has become.
I see the Lord hedging us into position by stripping away other options until we are forced to make a decision as to whether we will follow or reject Him.
He’s coming for our hearts – where we will truly seek Him and not just what He can give us.
We’ve had generations of blessing chasers and it’s not going to work. The Lord wants those who will follow Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23)
He’s after our hearts because He wants to affect lasting change.
And a change of heart is the only way.
We often want the removal or addition of certain things in our lives but these are so often just peripheral symptoms.
We feel that once these things are removed or given that everything will be perfect. But the heart still remains. And if left unchanged, it is deceitful above all else. (Jeremiah 17:9)
It’s a time of rest that’s coming. Where we come to the the very end of our striving & scheming and we’re forced to rest.
To re-evaluate. To re-examine. To be quiet and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)
If this the Covid-19 pandemic doesn’t bring this to bear on its own, it is certainly ushering in a new chapter where the Lord is coming for our hearts.
The Lord has allowed us to have our fill of our every desire. Money, success, health and so on.
He’s allowed us to gorge ourselves on our lusts and desires so that we come to a place of finally understanding that our ways and our ideas will never work.
No matter how much we strive. No matter how much we plan. No matter how much we want it.
He’s let us come to the end of our abilities so that we can be humbled and finally understand that true fulfillment can only come from Him – to where we know that His way is the only way. (Proverbs 14:12)
We will come to a place that we realize that we can’t do it without Him. And some of these difficulties in the natural world around us provide a tangible example that brings to light our spiritual need for Him.
When people come to the end of themselves (their options, their abilities etc), they become aware of their need and are open to other options.
And it’s often at this point of desperation that we are willing & humbled enough to turn to the Lord.
Even if this pandemic is cleared up quickly, I believe it will have a significant impact on us going forward and that these events in the natural world around us serve to highlight our desperate need for the Lord and the dramatic intervention He gave us through Jesus.
We have an opportunity to turn to Him now, rather than hardening our hearts and perishing. (Hebrews 3:15)