Our frustrated world is crying out for peace, but there is no peace. Pandemic pain is affecting millions upon millions of souls around the globe in one way or another. Many are still hounded by fear, and many are facing grief over the losses they've endured: Lost loved-ones, lost jobs, lost businesses, lost dreams. It feels like we're either nearing a breaking point – or a breakthrough point.
When will life return to normal? Sometimes the desperate pleas that come along with this pain can get a bit ugly. Judgmental attitudes and harsh words are escalating. Exasperation abounds because we're still plagued by more questions than answers. Maybe it's partly because we're asking the wrong questions.
Spend a few unfortunate moments on social media and you'll encounter some of the worst examples. At one extreme, there are some who essentially argue, "Let the 'old people' die, they're just gonna die anyway, so let us get back to our lives." Heartless. On the other extreme, there are some who believe we should, "Let the business owners eat cake, this shutdown should last until every last case of the virus is extinguished." Equally cruel.
The elderly deserve dignity. On the other side, employment delivers dignity. Are we possibly devaluing someone else's dignity in our quest for deliverance?
Every life is endowed by our Creator with value, from the unborn to the elderly. And every person is called to a God-ordained vocation that also has value.
So what do we truly value? New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently asked, “How much is a human life worth? That’s the real discussion that no one is admitting openly or freely. But we should.” What an incredibly ironic statement from the man who celebrated as his state approved abortion up to the moment of birth, just one year ago.
The question, however, is legitimate – how much is a human life worth? Here's the answer – every human life was worth the death of Jesus Christ in the eyes of the Creator of all life. Has the church truly reached the point of valuing life the way God does? Sure, we're pro-life, but have we reached a pandemic level of desperation for the salvation of souls?
To be sure, these are unsettling times, and there's nothing wrong with wanting a return to normalcy. There's also nothing wrong with wanting to fight this virus and prevent it from spreading. But there's a whole lot of ugly in the way we treat each other right now, treating political opponents as mortal enemies, and it speaks to the underlying issue at the heart of this pivotal moment in history.
So let's shift from the negative to the positive. This season is shining a light on what should be valued. Life should be valued. Freedom should be valued. Sacrifice should be valued.
There are some heroic acts being performed on the daily by frontline food and medical workers around the world. When self-sacrifice is applauded, that is certainly a move in the right direction. Self-sacrifice mirrors the heart of God. We are drawn to these displays because they're a little snapshot of the selfless love of Jesus Christ.
Conversely, all the ugliness exposes a depravity in humanity. We are left with a stark contrast. In the middle of this global health challenge, we can more clearly see what humanity is lacking and what it truly needs.
At the heart of the global crisis is a deeper truth: God wants to accomplish something eternal. He wants us to truly turn our hearts and our eyes to Him.
There's one particular instance of pain and death that took place in the Bible that seems especially relevant right now. When the people of Israel were being bitten by deadly snakes, God instructed Moses to attach a bronze snake to a pole, and anyone who looked upon it would be healed – see Numbers 21:8-9.
In this modern-day deadly attack, God wants to raise up Jesus for the world to look to Him and be saved. He bore the curse of sin and death on our behalf. He was broken that we might be made whole. He was lifted up on a cross so that He might draw all souls unto himself.
As we pause for another National Day of Prayer, it all comes back to 2 Chronicles 7:14, that if we pray and humble ourselves, God will heal the land. The passage is often quoted, but in this moment, do we fully comprehend what it means? Do we want God to spiritually heal our land, no matter the cost? Or do we just want our personal pain to end? Are we focused on what God wants to do, or are we more focused on our fears, or our grief? These are painful questions that have a different answer for each individual.
God's ultimate concern, above everything else in our universe, is redemption. In 2 Peter 3:9, the Bible tells us God is patient, wanting all to come to repentance. God's heart is for us, not against us. God's heart is for your neighbors. God's heart is for your political "enemies". God's heart is for ALL to come to repentance.
So now is the time to draw near to God. Every Christian needs a personal revival like never before. If you think you've arrived, that's a good sign that you're probably not as near to Him as you could be. And our world needs an awakening like never before. He wants a relationship with each and every soul on this planet. As Christians, we must show God's love to those around us – like never before. We must not give up on seeking God – like never before. We must persevere in prayer – like never before – that God would heal our land, but not just with a physical healing, with a spiritual healing as well.
Don't grow weary in praying that more souls will look to the cross and be saved during this season, and after this season, for however long this season may last. Don't grow weary in seeking God for new ideas on how to be a part of His plan to rescue the world from spiritual sickness.
I'm just one person in a sea of billions, but I have a little hunch that God's ways are higher, and His purposes are bigger, and until we actually learn to seek first His kingdom and seek first His purposes, we might still be missing the point of this entire bizarre and painful season in our world.