This is the 63rd essay I’ve written since it became apparent that we were in for the long haul with the coronavirus. We’re not out of the woods yet, but this will be my last installment as things are slowly returning to “normal” – whatever that will mean in the future. Here are some final thoughts, at least in this format:
Invincibility is an illusion. While there have been smaller scale international issues in the past several decades (the dissolution of the Soviet Union; the Gulf War; battling al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; massive refugee migration in Europe; etc.), the entire globe had not faced a common threat since World War II. If we were under the impression that America is invincible, or that the world is too advanced and complex to be crippled by natural or manmade catastrophe, we now stand corrected. Humanity is fragile and unstable, both individually and collectively. Our reliance needs to squarely rest upon God and His providential power.
Our political process is diseased. I am not so naïve as to think politics has always been pristine; just peruse some news articles from a century ago. But I marvel at the brazenness of those who exploit human tragedy, manipulate data, blame others and shamelessly lie to gain political advantage. To prove my point: Liberals will read that last sentence and seethe at President Trump, and conservatives will rail against Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Political disease affects each of us and erodes the foundation of society. The scary thing is that politicians are a microcosm of culture. They didn’t come from Mars; they are produced by our philosophies and values, and they only wield the power we give them. Hope in a political party or an election is misplaced. There will always be unscrupulous politicians, but again, our trust must be in God, who superintends the masses of humanity and the welfare of His people through presidents and kings, senators and governors, judges and mayors – even bad ones.
Our faith must be stronger than our circumstances. While the pandemic has caused major disruption to our daily routines, our worship and our economic infrastructure, it has not been an all-out war against the Christian faith. When all is well, we can fall into a rhythm of life that may obscure a weak faith. We settle into our comfort zone, propped up by routine and social accountability, suffering neither acute need nor offering meaningful sacrifice. Unnoticed, our faith can gradually evaporate and be replaced by pseudo-religion. Then when the crisis comes, we realize too late that we have built on sand. Solomon put it rather bluntly: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24:10).
We have received a valuable wake-up call. If your faith has been shaken, what will you do if greater adversity befalls? “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Heb. 12:3-4).
Let us renew our dedication to the Lord, thank God for our spiritual family, appreciate shared study and worship and remember that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body ... therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren ... so stand fast in the Lord” (Philip. 3:20-4:1).