Repent and Turn to God!
This is Day 21 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways , then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
I believe that the government is doing the best it can in this pandemic crisis. They have certainly made some mistakes, but it's easy to criticize when I'm not the one making the tough decisions. For the most part the people here in Tallahassee seem to be doing a pretty good job of getting through it. Everyone remains friendly. I haven't seen anyone get shot over toilet paper.
The truth is though, that even if the government response is perfect, and even if the citizens acted perfectly, this outbreak is still going to be damaging to our country and the world, both physically and economically. But there is one place I pray that the crisis is actually helpful: Spiritually.
Sometimes God disciplines us, and discipline is never an easy thing to endure. When He disciplines us as a whole nation or a whole world you know we've gone off the rails. And we certainly have gone off the rails.
To be clear, God is always in control. Everything that happens in our universe was either caused by God or allowed by God. To opine that Coronavirus has nothing to do with God is an insult to His almighty power! So why does God allow something like this pandemic which is causing so much suffering? The answer is spread throughout the Bible--to cause us to humble ourselves, repent of our sins, and turn to Him.
God loves us--all of us. He wants us to love Him in return. He wants us to love each other as much as He loves us. He wants us to live as He instructed us to live, because he knows that is best for us. Like a parent making a child eat vegetables instead of candy, God realizes that if left to our own choices we will normally choose the wrong path. God allows us to have freewill, and when--like unruly and defiant teenagers--we ignore Him and trust in our own wisdom and invincibility we get ourselves into trouble. When we stray too far He disciplines us. And make no mistake, we deserve the discipline.
It is actually a mercy for God to discipline us. Just like children who are never told no by their parents turn into adults nobody can stand to be around, if God never disciplines us we become very difficult to live with. Just look at the millions of babies that have been legally aborted in the United States alone.
Mankind has turned away from God. We think we are better than God--more morally upright. We think we don't need Him and in fact cast Him as the villain. In our arrogance we bring the world to the brink of destruction. God must humble us again. God must show us that we are powerless to save ourselves. And it is time we admitted it.
If we want God to lift this pestilence and heal our land we need to humble ourselves. And by humble ourselves I mean literally get down on the floor and grovel. We need to honestly admit the evils we have done personally and as a society, beg God's forgiveness, and turn from our wickedness. We need to seek Him as our everything. He's made it easy to do by eliminating many of the idols that often get in our way. There are no sports to watch, there is not shopping to satiate our material greed, and limited entertainment to distract us. Turn to Him!
Churches all over the world are holding prayers at the same time. This is wonderful, but it isn't all we need to do. We need to personally admit that in our pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, and wrath we are reaping what we deserve. And make no mistake, if the Coronavirus doesn't turn us back to Him, the next plague (or three) will be worse. So let us fall down before Him now, admit our inability to save ourselves, repent of our wickedness, beg His forgiveness, and turn back to Him.
Lord, I am a wicked person living in a wicked society. I do not deserve You. In fact I deserve death. But You are a loving and merciful God. Therefore, I fall at Your feet and beg You to please forgive me. Please forgive my wicked sins that I have committed against Your holy name. I have been prideful, greedy, lustful, envious, gluttonous, slothful and wrathful. In my selfishness I think only of me, when I should be thinking of You and my brothers and sisters. Forgive me Lord and forgive the society that I and others who are also sinful have created. Forgive us for the evils we commit! Help us to turn to You and away from our wickedness. We cannot do it without Your help, because we are too weak, broken and selfish. Only with Your mighty power can we turn from ourselves and our carnal desires and toward Your holiness. Amen.
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.