My friends, I have been laboring in my heart over the matters that face us today. We are certainly at a crossroads in the life of America and in the life of the Body of Christ. There is so much information and misinformation coming at us––at a very high rate of speed. It is almost impossible to sort out the truth from fiction and the situation is exacerbated by the fact that we have “experts” who speak on the matter with widely varied opinions. This may be a bit long for a blog post, but I have a great deal on my heart that I want to share in order to bring some hope into the matter for those of us who follow Christ. I do this because as I talk to folks, read various comments on social media, and read my email it is clear that there is a great deal of fear, and not a little bit of anger over this crisis.
There are some who believe that it’s not real, that its a big hoax to gain more control over the American people. There are some who believe its the end of the world and “we’re all going to die.” These are ideas that run our thoughts and emotions to dangerous extremes and cause our fears to rise and mistrust to run rampant.
I don’t have many answers, but there are some things I know for sure. I will get to those things in a moment. However, I want to begin my comments by sharing my own “conspiracy theory.” I want to warn you ahead of time, these thoughts are not based on any exclusive information I have or any proven evidence. It is my“gut feeling,” a series of thoughts that have arisen in my mind as I have thought, prayed and meditated on these things. Gut feelings are generally useless and in the long term, don’t change anything. And yet, they linger so I thought I would share them.
THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT. THIS “PLAGUE” WAS UNLEASHED ON PURPOSE. I believe the Chinese government has unleashed this virus for the specific purpose of upending the balance of economic power in the world. China has 1.3 billion of citizen and has proven to have little regard for the life of their own people or the people of other nations. I don’t doubt for a moment that the Chinese government would hesitate to sacrifice thousands, even millions of their own people to gain the upper hand in world economics. This pandemic has the potential to completely destroy the US economy (as well as many nations in the west).
It is reasonable to assume that the Chinese had help from within the United States. I don’t think they did this alone. It is entirely possible that this virus was developed in the United States and Americans, for their own gain, assisted in perpetrating this crime. In the weeks before this event broke out, several persons were arrested in America. One of them was apprehended trying to smuggle more than twenty vials of biological material out of the country on his way to Wuhan, China. I have no evidence that these events are connected, but my “gut” tells me they are connected.
If my “gut” is correct––these actions constitute an act of war. The Coronavirus has the potential to kill millions and to upset the economic stability of many nations, including our own. This is not the rantings of a Xenophobe. I don’t believe this was an act of the Chinese people. They are victims, just like the rest of us. However, their government is cruel and oppressive and will stop at nothing to gain great power in the world.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I would say this:
IT DOESN’T MATTER AT THIS POINT WHERE IT CAME FROM – WE MUST FACE IT, MITIGATE ITS EFFECT, AND SURVIVE. The American people have always been able to knuckle under and rise above challenges that are bent upon destroying us. May God help us to do so once more.
However, I am grieved that in the initial days of this outbreak, it has been the worst of us that has emerged. I saw a video today of three women in a market, beating each other over a pack of toilet paper. People with means are stripping the shelves of materials that everyone needs so that they might make sure they have enough, regardless of whether anyone else does. The poor and elderly are the ones we should be caring for. Instead, the young, the well-to-do, and the strong are taking everything and leaving the most vulnerable to do without. So-called progressives are encouraging people to steal, shoplift and loot. The Antifas want nothing less than the total collapse of America and will encourage violence, mayhem, and looting to topple the nation they have come to hate.
We should be ashamed of ourselves. In this matter, we may be revealing the true heart of America and if this is who we have become we probably won’t survive this event, nor ought we to survive. If this is our true heart, we are dead already.
However, for the Church of Jesus Christ, there is hope. With the help of God and the wisdom that comes from Him, we can turn this trouble into triumph! Every catastrophe can be turned into an opportunity if we can get our eyes off the problem and onto the problem solver. The book of James says, “If any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God…” (James 1:5). Let’s ask of God what we ought to do and how we ought to conduct ourselves in this season of trouble.
IT’S TIME TO BE THE CHURCH. American Christians may learn during this season that the church is not a building and its not a meeting. For so many of us, our faith has been too much about our meetings. Many Pastors and church boards are not sure the church can survive without regular meetings. It may be that we are getting ready to find out. Unbelievers drive by our buildings and meetings with little or no understanding of what the Christian faith really is. NOW, we have a new opportunity to walk out our faith in the full view of a desperately frightened world. We can no longer hide behind our stained glass windows and pulpit furniture. We have to be the church, outside where everybody else lives. Let’s listen to James and ask for wisdom as to how best to do that.
When we care about the fearful, the suffering, and desperate of our unbelieving neighbors and friends and demonstrate that caring by our actions they will see a face of the church they don’t often get to see. We should see in this difficult season––and it is difficult––an opportunity to be the light in the darkness. Please, let’s not allow ourselves to be so paralyzed by the fear that grips the world that it snuffs out our light.
IT’S TIME TO BE THE CHURCH AT HOME. In just a few days, I will be releasing a new book, OLD PATHS AND ANCIENT MARKERS. Much of that book is an appeal for fathers and mothers to once again become the primary teachers and mentors for their children. In one chapter, I challenge Fathers with this thought: If it should happen that for some reason we were no longer permitted to hold public meetings, no longer get together in the church to sit in front of the Pastor. What if there were no Kid’s Church, Sunday School, or Bible Clubs––Who would teach your children the Word of God? Who would lead your children in the paths of righteousness?
In that same chapter, I provide a simple outline for engaging in meaningful worship and learning in the home. I urge fathers and mothers to equip themselves to lead their children toward Christ.
I sent that book out for final editing about two weeks ago, little realizing that before it even gets into print we find ourselves in just such a circumstance. No public meetings, no school, no going out to eat, no bible clubs, no Sunday schools – SOMEBODY must be the spiritual leader in your home! It’s time to step up. I believe the most powerful evangelistic tool ever can be a godly home in an ungodly neighborhood.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how or where this deadly thing was unleashed. We have had wars and plagues and storms throughout the ages. What really matters is how we respond. Be careful of social media. Since we are more isolated in our homes, there is more time to sit in front of a computer and interact with the world remotely. This has proven to be dangerous. Sometimes the anonymity of the internet brings out the meanness that hides in our hearts. This creates a minefield of opportunity to engage in conversations that don’t help anything. There is too much sniping, criticizing, and name-calling and way too many of us who claim to follow Christ getting sucked into the negative conversation. However, it is also a harvest of opportunity to build folks up, encourage them. Bring a word of Hope. Put your finger of judgment away and extend a hand of help. Soften your tone, lower your voice, and raise the banner of Christ.
I am less worried about how our government will be able to respond to this pandemic than I am concerned about how we, the church will represent Christ in the midst of it. By our responses, we will confirm every negative idea that unbelievers have of the church or we will reveal to them the heart of Christ
One final comment. We must consider that the coronavirus might just be the judgment of God against a nation that has rebelled against Him and His Word. I have been warning for years that because of our grave national sins we were eventually going to feel the wrath of God. The Bible warns nations of grave consequences for any people that turn their backs on Him and willfully rebels against Him. We have seen devastating storms and floods, tornadoes ripping through communities to kill and destroy homes and lives. And now this. We must consider the possibility that the Coronavirus may have come from an enemy unwittingly acting as the agent of God who has decided that He will no longer be patient with our rebellion.
If that is the case, instead of praying for a cure for the Coronavirus we need to be praying for a cure for sinful hearts in a nation that has been overtaken by its own wickedness. God sends calamity upon hardened hearts to break them so that in His great mercy He can restore and heal them. If our nation refuses to submit, then the wrath of God will crush us and we will be no more.
Let us not simply pray that God will drive this pestilence from our midst. Let us pray that this pestilence will drive us as a people to the foot of the Cross.
Watch for the release of my new book on Amazon and at www.mkgantt.com/books