Over the course of the last month I have been asked numerous times to give my perspective on why God is allowing these strange days. None of us can know for certainty why God moves the way he does unless he chooses to reveal it to us. We can, however, draw principles from scripture and submit to what he speaks to us on a daily basis. As I have contemplated, prayed, and been driven to scripture throughout these days of quarantine I have a strong conviction that God is using this time to humble us and wake us up from our complacent state.
Let's be honest, we are a prideful people. America is a prideful nation. We pride ourselves in accomplishments and power. We pride ourselves in material wealth. The American church prides itself in worship styles and architectural structures. For many years, I have been burdened by the complacency of such especially when I travel to foreign cultures and experience the simple and honest worship that takes place among believers. We have allowed programs and presentations to draw our eyes off of God and instead we have fixed them on methods. Scripture is clear that God detests prideful hearts and he abhors worship to anyone or anything but himself.
In the snap of a finger God has allowed for the entire world to be completely shut down and no one can do anything about it. Politicians and physicians alike have been working endlessly to try to find the answers. People have been sent home from their jobs with no answer as to when they will be able to return. Our lifetime has never seen anything like this. And yet, God holds the answer - even more, He is the answer.
What are we doing with our quarantine? Are we missing the spiritual lesson God is teaching us through all of this?
My greatest fear is that when all of this is over we will just go back to normal when perhaps "normal" is what got us here. There is no doubt that things are not going to look the same post quarantine. And maybe that is the best part. The church needed a wake up call. We needed to realize that God is not pleased with religious pragmatism and prideful worship centered on structures, instruments, and voices. God is not honored by preaching that is eloquent but doesn't come from a heart completely yielded to the Holy Spirit. God does not use a church that is focused inwardly on comfort and maintaining a status quo. God does not move among man centered worship that is focused on earthly preferences at the cost of kingdom priority.
God desires worship that is free and focused on an audience of one. God desires preaching that is honest and from the heart no matter how eloquent it may be. God desires a missional people who are pushing back the gates of hell to get the Gospel to our neighbors. God desires a people who are committed to pray and seek his face before doing anything else. God wants his "house" to return to a house of prayer. I have been reminded more than ever how many things that simply do not matter in the light of heaven consume our church schedules.
2 Chronicles 7:14 has been heavy upon my heart and I believe that is exactly what God is seeking from us in these days. He is giving his church one more opportunity to wake up - to humble ourselves - to seek his face - to turn from our wicked ways.
Each of our lives have been quieted over the last month. How we have handled those days will truly tell if we are allowing God to change us for the good. I am expectant that our greatest days of honest worship are ahead of us but that will only happen if we refuse to return to "normal." I want better than normal. I want to see a church passionate about the kingdom of God. I want to see a church that has been changed because it has spent time meeting God face to face.
I believe God is trying to get our attention one more time. Will we go right back to our old ways of self reliance or will we truly surrender all on the altar of Jesus Christ and trust his daily control in our lives? That is a question each of us must answer for ourselves.
What are you going to do with your wake up call?