My family and I—like you, no doubt—have spent two months “sheltering in place” and wondering about the future. COVID-19 has changed the world! As our 24-hour news cycle daily tabulates this global pandemic’s carnage, we have to ask, how are we supposed to live now?
I don’t want to minimize any of the sickness and death, job losses, school and business closures, or financial disasters that have decimated us. Nor would I ignore the emotional fallout of anxiety, anger, fear, depression, and even panic. But what if we can discover a perspective that evaluates things through the lens of divine eternity rather than human time?
What is God doing in this moment in history? I’ve been thinking about that question a lot. God doesn’t create evil, of course. But nothing happens outside His knowledge, and because He loves us He always takes what is meant for bad and uses it for our good.
What if COVID-19 is actually a severe mercy? What if this global pandemic is God giving the Church a chance to pause, repent, and be restored to faithfulness? What if this moment is a God-ordained intervention to get us to stop, examine ourselves, forsake greed and self-focus, help the weak, love the poor, address injustice, forgive our enemies, and walk in righteousness?
I think that God has put us in “time out.”
In an article I just published in Preaching Today, I explore more extensively some answers to these questions. But to summarize: I believe God’s desire is to help us evaluate our lives, our relationships, our idols, and return to Him for the life that’s really life. He has revealed the false gods in whom we have trusted.
Our idols of science, technology, and advanced medicine have been brought to their knees by an invisible microbe. Our faith in the god of money to provide power, control, and security has betrayed us. The god of hedonism that promised personal fulfillment has been quarantined. And the god of self hides fearfully behind a mask, no longer holding power over our carefully curated images on social media.
There comes in our lives very specific windows of opportunities through which we may see life more clearly than ever before. Death and crisis have a way of pushing the really important things to the forefront. God’s loving discipline always begins with His own children.
If this global pandemic is not a wake-up call that shakes His Church out of complacency and calls us back to heartfelt personal devotion, and radical acts of love to all those in need, then I do not know what will.
Can you imagine the impact, if millions and millions of us followers of Christ in America would respond to this pandemic by forsaking our religiosity, our prejudice, our idols, and return to our “first love,” Jesus, with wholehearted devotion and unswerving obedience to His Word?
Will it happen? Only you can decide that. It’s not a group thing, it’s not a club you join. It’s an individual response. It requires each one of us to take this time to get real with ourselves and honest with God, turn from our own wicked ways, receive God’s great forgiveness, bask in His love, and then worship and obey His word 24/7 every day of the year with everyone we meet.
It’s Christians living like Christians every day, in every way, everywhere, for the glory of God and the good of all mankind. If not now, when?
I have to start with me. You have to start with you.
Let’s do this together!
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip