I apologize that I’ve been on a COVID article kick the past several weeks, but I really believe, at a near minimum, we should see the pandemic and resulting fallout as a case study of the end of the age type challenges. Before you put the paper down, go back and read that last run-on sentence — I didn’t say COVID was an end-times event or even that we are necessarily at the end of the age. I wouldn’t take those off the table, but I’m just saying that we could learn a lot about this international challenge and its impact on our churches. Let it be a case study.
By doing this, we can learn how such events change the way we do church, how they impact our faith and the faith of others, how to better lead in such challenges and how the government responds with the possible targeting of churches. The list of lessons could go on.
If viewed as a case study, this pandemic could make us stronger in our following of Christ individually and as a body. It’s not a stretch to say these crazy COVID times could be an end-times case study because I don’t know about you, but every time I turn on the news, I feel like I stepped inside a Left Behind movie. The lessons we could learn from COVID could fill a book (maybe that’s why I’m working on one, don’t tell anyone), but I want to focus on one lesson. I feel like, as believers and as churches who value the Word of God, we shouldn’t have been surprised by the pandemic and all that has come with it.
I don’t think we could have anticipated that there would be such a long-running pandemic nor some of the specific reactions, but if we were studying the Word, we’d know to expect something. The Bible makes clear that challenges will come our way. Jesus showed His understanding of the human condition when He said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34, NIV).
Again, He also made it clear that challenges would come our way in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, but we also have Jesus speaking about how the world will target and persecute believers in Matthew 10 and elsewhere. The Bible makes it clear that to be a believer is synonymous with being hated and persecuted, therefore we should expect the world and government to use any point of leverage to make it more difficult on our faith.
We also have many passages about our spiritual enemy — Satan. We know His mission is against the work of God, and God’s people are in the crosshairs. We read how Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy; how he is like a lion on the prowl, seeking someone to devour. We see that we need to be on guard to stand against his schemes. These warnings aren’t just symbolic sermon material, but the reality in which we practice our faith.
We also have the reality, from the beginning of Scripture, that we’re in a fallen world due to what happened in the Garden of Eden. We should expect difficulty and strife.
Peter clarifies the type of world we should expect. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (I Peter 4:12 NIV).
All these parts of the Bible are things we know, but do they form the lenses through which we view the world? Throughout history, they have guided the mindset of believers and decisions within churches. In other parts of the world, they do so today, but the blessings given to the church in America had reshaped our thinking. Likely, most of us didn’t look at the world expecting trials, attacks from the evil one, persecution, targeting of churches, targeting of believers and difficulty. Though before COVID we may not have viewed the world like that, that’s how Scripture described the world. We could have seen something like the pandemic coming if we had such a mindset. Therefore, let’s use it as a case study so we can weather the next challenge better.
Jake is available for revivals and preaching learn more at standfirmministries.com.