COVID-19 has done some serious damage to New York City. And it has done some serious damage in many other states and cities across the nation and world. Whatever our politics or religious beliefs, or lack thereof, we must all at least be willing to admit a sense of sadness at tens of thousands of deaths (unless you are pro-abortion, which would be the height of hypocrisy, but I digress).
I keep reminding myself that extra health safety measures would be more meaningful to me if it were my grandmother or child fighting for life on a ventilator. May we, as Christians, be given the compassion of our Lord. We dare not forget He touched lepers, gave sight to the blind, and was emotionally moved by crowds of unbelievers who needed a shepherd. Before we say too much on social media about our conspiracy theories and vent our frustrations at government overreach (and there’s a ton of it at every level right now), let’s seek to reflect the love of Jesus. A wise brother in our church once shared with me these guiding questions to social media posting:
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind / loving?
- Is it true?
Well, the online world would be a better place, huh?
With these questions in view, I want to urge my few readers to consider humility. That’s right. Humility. Are you being humbled by what is happening around you? I surely am. And I confess I need even more humility. I have been praying to God that He would keep humbling me.
And I long to see our nation and her leaders humbled, too. Granted, I pray it doesn’t take tens of thousands more deaths to achieve, but nevertheless, I pray with Christ, “Thy will be done.”
On Resurrection Sunday, Governor Cuomo demonstrated a sickening lack of humility. Cuomo’s state is literally unraveling at the seams and digging mass graves like we would expect to see only in Iran or North Korea. Yet, he still made sure to say this: “The number is down because we brought the number down,” he told the press. “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that…That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy if that number goes back up.”
Governor, God Almighty disagrees with your brazen assessment:
I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. I am the LORD who does all these things (Isaiah 45:6-7).
What will it take to bring America to its knees? To repentance? To humility before God?
As much as I appreciate so much of what President Trump has done and is doing, his recent statements have made me nervous. Pompous talk of us coming out stronger, beating this thing soon, and even his claim of “absolute power” all belie the National calls to prayer he has issued. I realize the secular motto of leadership is “never let them see you sweat” but maybe we should fall back on our National Motto, “In God We Trust.”
I wonder what impact it would have upon our nation to see President Trump, Vice-President Pence, members of Congress and the Senate, all on their knees crying out to Almighty God for mercy? Confessing national sins and pleading the blood of Jesus over them? Acknowledging the sovereign rule and reign of God alone? What will it take to make them stop talking about prayer, and actually start praying? In broken humility, on their knees, interceding for our nation. Such a scene was normal for the first 100 years of our Nation’s history. I long to see it. Few things matter more than humility in this crisis.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
One of the great Kings of Judah, Uzziah, died as a leper simply because of pride. All his accolades went to his head. The economy boomed during Uzziah’s reign. Other nations paid taxes / tariffs to Uzziah’s government. But a prideful abuse of power ensured he spent his last years as an exiled King, unable to interact with his citizens due to his leprosy (see 2 Chronicles 26).
O, I can hear some readers saying, “But that was the Old Testament. We live under the New Covenant of grace in Christ.” Yes, and amen! But God is still God. That is to say, He is sovereign. Prideful King Herod was struck dead instantly by God and then eaten by worms. And yes, that happened after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension – definitely New Testament (see Acts 12:20-24).
So I ask again, what will it take to humble us? The consistent refrain of the Book of Revelation even with all its plagues that wipe out 1/3 of the earth’s population, is “They did not repent and give God glory” (Rev 16:9, for example). This refrain seems to me to characterize far too many of the citizens of America and her leaders. Jesus said tragedies should elicit one simple response from us: “Repent or you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
But let’s bring this right into our own living rooms, dear Christians. After all, it’s easy to point fingers at pride in someone else’s life. So, as we scratch at the pride speck in our leaders’ eyes, I wonder if we have noticed the pride log protruding from our own eyes? God help us if we followers of Jesus are not yet humbled in this crisis! Here are a few questions to help us self-assess, and approach God for the grace of Cross-centered, Christ-exalting humility:
- Have you fasted at all since the COVID-19 outbreak? As we keep buying luxury items at Wal-Mart while wearing masks and standing 6 feet apart, Christians in Pakistan are refused food at local government distribution points (mosques). Add starvation to a pandemic and now you’ve got real suffering. Can we not fast and seek God’s mercy at least upon those hurting far more than we are?
- Have you prayed, really prayed, daily for government leaders, regardless of their political party?
- Have you truly been trusting only God to bring this to an end? Not Presidents, or Popes, or Doctors, or Vaccines. Just God.
- Are you secretly believing America will just get back to normal next month, and be none the worse by this time next year?
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken (Psalm 62:5-6).
Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for you know not what a day might bring (Proverbs 27:1).
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever (Revelation 5:13).
Come, let us return to the Lord! For He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up (Hosea 6:1).
O God our Father, fill us with Your Spirit and humble us, for the sake of Christ, amen.