I’ve been having a hard time finding words to say. Perhaps it is because I’ve said them before, or perhaps I am just tired. The world now is experiencing what many of us have experienced for years.
Some of us know what it is like to have a debilitating, and perhaps deadly, illness that doctors can’t do anything about.
But I really don’t mean this to be a “I told you so” post, because it isn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact. I mean it to be a comfort with the same comfort that my wife and I have learned over the years of struggling with isolation and illness.
It has something to do with idols. Where do we turn when we don’t have any answers? Where do we go when we don’t have any strength? Where do we place our trust when the world is upside down.
When it strikes hard, your idols are revealed. That is painful, and it is a hard ride, but it is glorious in the end. As long as you learn what the Psalmist finally learned:
(Psalm 33:16-22) 16 The king is not saved by a mighty army; A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a false hope for victory; Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.
22 Let Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in Thee.
Remember all of the money that you spent on conferences? Remember all of the power that you gave your favorite celebrity pastor? Remember the televangelist that promised you that you would be healthy, wealthy and wise?
Remember all the books you bought? The long theological debates that you had online?
Remember when you thought that the person you voted in office would really save you from all your troubles?
All of the times you thought that your righteousness and your own hand would save you?
Just 6 weeks ago, I spoke to someone who told me that these kinds of diseases only happen in other countries, where they don’t know how to eat healthy food, and sanitize themselves, and live like proper Christians….
And to a certain extent, we tend to think the same way. These kinds of things happen to others. Not to us.
We are God’s people. We are American Evangelicals! We finally won the cultural wars! We are back in the business of building that “city on the hill” for the whole world to see. The American dream!
Funny how things disappear, isn’t it? Funny how it proves true, over and over again, that we are but dust. Like the flowers of the field, we fade and die.
And God sends things to remind us that the greatest assets that men and women have – wisdom, righteousnesses, social charity, cultural wars, armies, battleships, money, power, institutions (even “Christian” ones) – will all fade and die and be forgotten. One tiny virus brings the world of men to its knees, until the Keeper of Time says, “stop now”.
It is interesting how and illness that no one can do anything about can change our perspective.
And why is this? Because God will never give his glory to another.
So here is the comfort. God has ways of stripping away our trust in horses, armies, kings, medicine, doctors, politicians, elections, church leaders, celebrities.
And the purpose for all of it is for us to finally fall on our knees and say, “Our soul waits upon the Lord. He is our help and our shield.”
We can’t even get toilet paper unless he decrees it. And that is a wonderful thing, for he is good and his lovingkindness is forever.
We hope in YOUR lovingkindness, O Lord. Remember us, for the sake of Christ. He is our help and our shield.