As the madness of the year 2020 rolls on and as we approach the midpoint of the year, there seems to be a spiritual low point going on. Just when we thought the chronavirus saga was dying down, it once again swirled back up as health officials claim there is an upsurge in cases and once again, cities across the United States are either shutting down, or placing ridiculous ordinances such as forcing those outside to wear a mask.
Whether or not you believe the chronavirus is real or some kind of political ruse is not really the major problem that is going on. And whether you believe masks can stop chronavirus, or is some kind of weird power trip by Karens running the government is not the point. What is going on, as I stated in previous articles, is that there is a demonic spirit at work in the United States and in every fabric of public life that we live in. How anyone cannot see the masks, and the “social distancing” signs and not think that it is demonic is beyond me.
What makes the mask so eerie and wrong is that they dehumanize a person that is wearing one. No longer can you see the person’s face. No longer can you see their facial expressions. No love or hate, no smile or frown, no general curiosity or disgust, no friendly gestures or sarcastic smirks, no laughter or agony. Hell, sometimes you cannot even hear the person talking depending on if they are wearing a bandana or not. It is just a blank slake. Sure, some people can choose to wear custom made masks or other headgear to show uniqueness or personality. But ultimately everyone is anonymous when it comes to the masks. It reminds me of what we are online. Social media and the internet in general is full of anonymous posers, fakers, and other “blank” people that can do or say whatever their heart pleases. Even in the world of social media, we are only static pictures of what we want to show the world. No one ever poses a pic of themselves in their bed crying at night, in the bathroom puking because of an overdose, in their car after a severe bout of depression, or on their knees in their closet praying to God for a miracle. No, none of these things we dare show to the internet. We only want to show an illusion of what we want to be instead of who we really are deep down inside.
It is easy to backslide into old habits and old pasts in a time like this when you have no work, no friends, nothing to do, no one to hang out with, and are isolated. It is easy to slide into pornography, drugs, social media baffonary, video game addiction, junk food addiction, alcohol, and all the other vices of mans heart. We become more abusive to our family, more sharp-tongued against our neighbors, and turn our rage against our fellow man at a store for just doing their job. The children are abused and the elderly are neglected. Through this one moment in time, God is exposing the hidden idols of man’s heart and putting even the elect to the test. It is especially hard for single people like me who suffer from extreme loneliness and depression. It is very hard being forced to be at home when you have no one to come home to. The places to hang out are shut down. And no one wants to hangout because they are afraid of the virus. It is a NEET’s paradise come to life as we are all now living the gamer’s lifestyle. This is in contrast to the married individual, who will now be put to the test as he is forced to spend all day with their family as the jobs they escaped to have been taken away. In a lot of cases, married people experience extreme loneliness, some even worse than singles. A lot of people have no job anymore. Careers have been crushed and identities have been trampled on.
It’s one thing during times of peace to be gung-ho saying we must have love and joy during troubled times. It’s another when you are right in the middle of a nationwide crisis, so much so that your mental patience is being challenged as all your social activities and work are shut down and your vices and deep fears of isolation are brought before you forcibly. It is a massive disadvantage spiritually to live in a country like the United States due to the fact we have so many distractions, pleasures and idols we can dive into to feed our flesh. We are well fed and well entertained. The Romans had bread and circuses, and in America we have Pornhub and McDonalds to keep us from opening our eyes to what is going on. The only reason why the country is not in total meltdown mode is because we still have access to plenty of food and no one is starving.
But while we may not be starving physically, we are starving spiritually. Just this past week I spent a portion of my Sunday seeing if there was a church open. And yet there were none. Despite some states and municipalities easing restrictions on churches, many of them choose to be closed or move their services online. And I get it why many church leaders are choosing to stay closed. What if someone’s child or an elderly person gets sick and dies? No one wants that in their conscience. And who can forget the army of lawyers salivating over the thought of suing a church like a bunch of vultures circling a dying man. No pastor ever wants to deal with a shyster lawyer.
The truth is, no matter how many zoom calls, or streaming online services we do, it is still not what makes church “church.” The church is a community, a family of people of all types of backgrounds. Yet the one thing we have in common is that we are followers of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. We stir each other up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another. It’s not the business of Christianity Inc and Big Eva that I am hurting over but the overall community in lockdown mode and people getting split over how the church should respond.
It is a very messy situation with no clear cut answer. because no one knows what is really going on right now or what is true and what is false. What is true and not false is that the situation going on is leaving people isolated and splitting the Bride of Christ in two. There is an army of lawyers, media scoundrels, Karens with iphones, and law enforcement ready to pounce on a local church to bring them down as has already happened with many churches.
Still, there is a silver lining to all this madness. God is in control, and always uses something as bad as a pandemic to further His glory. Many people are now waking up and taking the red pill. Many are finally coming to, and coming back to Christ. As the madness of the world grows, the Bible gets more magnified. As darkness overtakes the land, the gospel shines more brighter. Church leaders are hard at work and being creative to not neglect the elect. Some are having outdoor meetings, some are using a drive-in approach. Others are going back to the original method of home church or small groups, meeting at a home where they will not be harassed by law enforcement. The church leaders are hard at work to make sure their flock is fed and kept safe.
Despite the work God is doing in the background, that does not make this trial any less painful. How exactly does one have joy in the face(mask) of such wild mental calamity? Love and joy are some of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that all believers should have. It is one thing to have joy during times of peace, it’s another when you are going through times of trials and tribulations. Yet God ordains the changing of the times and the seasons of our life. And God has written eternity on all of man’s heart. It is a part of being created in His image, that we were originally designed to be eternal beings. Yet we are so focused on the now and the things of this world which are passing away. We desire pleasure and to avoid all pain instead of looking at our seasons through the lens of eternity. This is a symptom of the fall and man’s sinful nature.
Still how can one find joy in a time of suffering? It is interesting reading John and the Priestly Prayer of Jesus Christ before his coronation on the cross:
John 16:19- 22: 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
This is in context of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, but the point I am making is that we are so focused on the pain of the moment instead of looking at the bigger picture of our sanctification and the new birth. Suffering and pain can co-exist. A pregnant woman has both suffering and joy. Suffering from the labor pains but rejoicing because she is bringing a newborn to the world. A sick man may be in pain and suffering through brutal treatment, but rejoices when he is cured of his aliment. A soldier may suffer the trials and tribulations of his training, but rejoices when his perfected warcraft brings him victory over his enemy. Though we are suffering now, we hope for a better future, a better tomorrow, and a new heavens and new Earth because of the cross of Christ and the gospel of salvation. It is written that creation itself is groaning in labor pains, as do we who believe in the Name above all names. As believers we have the first fruits of the Spirit, we groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, and the resurrection of our bodies.
Nothing lasts forever and nothing is new under the sun. God has ordained the passages of our lives and the fact is, every human being goes through trials and tribulations. Believers and pagans, young and old, married and single, rich and poor, familys, tribes, and nations, and even the world itself cannot escape the storm. It is written also that all men are appointed to die once, then face the judgement. Though it might seem that the world is against you, the fact is no one knows what goes through their neighbor or brother’s heart except God himself.
God disciplines and rebukes those who He loves. Could it be God is preparing us for the real persecution to come? After all, the churches being shutdown due to the virus is nothing compared to the historic and continued persecution of believers in Christ where life and death is one the line. We are a very rich and fat nation with much to lose while those of other countries and cultures have nothing to lose other than their life and many are gladly willing to die for the faith if they ever receive such an honor. Will those in the United States who claim to believe in Christ be willing to possibly go to jail or even lose their life for Christ and the gospel? Jesus even said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I am in no way downplaying persecution of the church in the United States because many, and I mean many, have paid dearly for following Christ in the US in the forms of breakups, divorces, job loses, friendship losses, family disownment, monetary losses, and much much more. But it is one thing facing these 1st world problems and another when you are staring at the barrel of a gun and your life’s on the line. Will we pass the test or be like Peter and deny Him? I write this to you because I have thought about this scenario for myself many times over, if I have that strong enough faith of Jesus Christ that I will be willing to lay down my life for the gospel. Thank God that He is merciful and if that time ever arises that the Holy Spirit will give us strength. It is something to think about and meditate over.
Despite going through severe depression, I will give thanks to the Lord because by gazing at the cross of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, I know that He has loved me and has cleansed me of my many sins. I have been blessed multiple times in my life despite not earning or deserving any of them. And even if I was not blessed, He still deserves my praise because God’s greatness of Holiness is beyond any human or heavenly host’s comprehension. Let us be joyful of our trial as the day of the Lord draws near when all tears will be dried up and all pain will fade.