“Take a stand, hit your knees” is something a friend of mine said to me last year while we watched on television as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned.
He was talking about how God seemed to be removing himself from Europe and letting the continent basically wither away in its unbelief.
“It’s obvious God is punishing them for their apostasy,” my friend exclaimed. “France is being overrun by Muslims too.”
“But isn’t God merciful?” a woman who was with us asked.
“The only way Europe is going to be saved,” he responded, “is if they drop to their knees, embrace the true faith and beg God for mercy.”
I think my friend was right.
I also think his comments directly apply to what the world is going through right now with the coronavirus pandemic.
Everywhere we look we see sin after sin after sin.
Abortion, drag queen story hours, same-sex “marriage.” These are just a few of the millions of offenses that God, who will not be mocked, puts up with every single day.
Knowing that to be true, how can we act surprised when something like the COVID-19 outbreak happens? Does Proverbs 14:34 not remind us that righteousness exalts a nation but “sin is a reproach to any people?”
Many of the false comforts that bring people a sense of normalcy have been taken away from them lately.
For instance, in recent weeks, sporting events have been canceled and bars and restaurants have been closed. Casinos, music halls and movie theaters have also been shut down.
The “distractions” that rule people’s lives, in other words, are no longer there for them.
Sadly, too many Americans don’t know how to cope with this reality. Among other things, suicide hotlines have seen an increasing number of calls in recent weeks. This is sad beyond belief.
But, again, what do we expect when, according to the Pew Research Center, only 31 percent of Americans attend religious services on a weekly basis?
In a recent essay published in The Wall Street Journal, Robert Nicholson, president of The Philos Project, argues that COVID-19 may well be what leads to another, very much-needed, religious awakening in America.
“Though less devastating than World War II, the pandemic has remade everyday life and wrecked the global economy in a way that feels apocalyptic,” he writes.
But, he continues, “for societies founded on the biblical tradition, cataclysms need not mark the end. They are a call for repentance and revival.”
He goes on to say that the virus has “humbled the country” and “opened millions of eyes to this risky universe once more.”
Nicholson is not the only religious figure calling on the world to turn from its ways.
Pope Francis is asking believers to put away the trivialities of life as well.
During an address to an empty St. Peter’s Square on Friday, the pontiff said that a “darkness” has filled the air as of late and that Christians “find ourselves afraid and lost.”
Pope Francis: “Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things.”https://t.co/31SeaU54qe
— America Magazine (@americamag) March 27, 2020
Francis said the storm currently engulfing the world “uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules.”
“It shows us,” he continued, “how we have allowed to become dull and feeble to the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities.”
“It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others,” he concluded.
My hope, and I pray it is your hope as well, is that despite all the suffering and sadness going on in the world right now, people across the globe will, as my friend once said to me, find their way back to God and hit their knees, embrace the true faith and beg him for mercy.
At the end of the day, what other solution do we have?
Let us glorify him who has glorified us.
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