We need to be aware and cautious of many messages that are misrepresenting God in these difficult times. I’m sure you all get bombarded with well-meaning, very passionate, but seriously misguided texts/articles that portray God as a cruel taskmaster/exacting tyrant, or even the cause behind this calamity, so we can repent and turn to Him!
What I believe is that—yes, this is an opportune time for those of us that have been lukewarm and callous to our faith to awaken from the slumber.
A different Lent
It’s not coincidental that we’re battling this during ” Lent.”
Why not consider this quarantine as borrowed time or a season set apart for spiritual rejuvenation, and growth of the interior life by reconciliation with God.
To mend what is broken and to deepen that which is shallow.
To be enlightened to see God in the ordinary and be set free for a life of vibrant faith.
To come into maturity in our relationship with God.
To fully understand the worth of the things we otherwise participate in without reverence or thought.
To become other-centered and imitate Christ’s altruistic nature in reaching out to those that are looking for Jesus.
It is a wake-up call!
Knowing the One True God
Having said that, does God need a plague to threaten his children into loving Him?
So many folks are comparing this pandemic to the plagues in Egypt while quoting scripture like Isaiah 26:20, “Go home for a while and lock yourself so that the Lord’s anger might pass…”
And loads of such texts using sacred scripture to warrant their stand and intention!
God then seems to be a bitter God, angry, frustrated, vengeful, not sovereign, legalistic, and bereft of mercy and surely of “love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
He also seems to be a God concerned with the safekeeping of only a few while others perish, and so on… an endless list of characteristics that distort His true image.
To me, the graven image/idol worship that needs to stop, is not so much about the idols made of clay/wood, or anything made by human hands, but the trajectory of images carved indelibly in the minds and hearts of people through misrepresentation and lousy experiences of other Christians, which do not paint an accurate and complete picture of God.
As a worship leader, my greatest battle among people has been to bring to the fore the heart of God, not by knowledge alone, but from a place of experience. And it’s common to encounter so many that isolate themselves from God, because He is portrayed, sadly, “in the image of man”. This false god tends to act and react like any human (and a frustrated one at that) would and would use any means to get his people’s attention.
Like The Grim reaper.
God is just, but also merciful
To run to God in repentance out of love with compunction and a wild desire to not offend His tender heart, and not out of fear of condemnation, death, or anxiety is a crucial stance to take in these times.
The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart. It does not speak the language of force but expresses itself in charity and truth.John Paul II
There is call for prudence! Stick to reliable sources. And, be mindful of what you take in.
We, especially Christians, have our shepherds to look to. So invest time in listening only to sound leaders who are now accessible to us on our phones.
Test the spirits and be wise.
And if you are someone who ministers to people, heed these wise words:
It is no part of the Christian vocation, then, to be able to explain what’s happening and why. In fact, it is part of the Christian vocation not to be able to explain—and to lament instead. As the Spirit laments within us, so we become, even in our self-isolation, small shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell. And out of that there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope.N.T. Wright
This a time of great awakening, of a mighty revival in our land. Let us build our faith and one another.
Finally, I want to climb a virtual rampart if I may to echo and declare these words:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.”I John 4:18-19
You could read and meditate on this letter by St. John… it’s beautiful!
Stay safe and blessed.