Walking through the familiar halls of my home this evening, I was struck with recent memories of gatherings that had taken place just about a month ago. I pictured the events as if I were currently there in the room, reflecting on how naïve every one of us was. How could we have possibly known all that was about to happen? It felt so distant then, and we felt so invincible. How could we have ever foreseen the microscopic force of a sickness that was slowly making its way into our world, creeping from person to person, lurking across state lines, and with it so much tragedy that was about to consume us?
I suppose there is one solid option in all of this: disease can consume the economy, disease can consume our jobs and our finances, disease can consume the life-long dreams of high-school seniors, but disease cannot consume us unless we let it. Because disease cannot consume the God that is within us. It can’t consume the innate need for community each of us possesses, or the unstoppable force of the Holy Spirit operating through His church. Nothing can.
As that memory spun around and played itself on the movie reel of my mind, causing me to reflect on how much we didn’t know then and probably wouldn’t have believed even if we did know, the question that shattered my mind was this:
“If I had known the COVID-19 pandemic was going to strike, what would I have done differently?”
The next question that followed was:
“What could I have done?”
Bought more toilet paper? Stocked up on hand sanitizer? Washed my hands more? Made sure I had all of my favorite snacks? Warned people?
This question immediately challenged me in how I view Jesus’ return. I’m fully aware He’s coming. Honestly, it’s probably a lot closer than any of us think. I’m aware. And it’s way more serious than any pandemic. People are lost and dying and an eternity without Jesus is hanging in the balance for them.
And I don’t want to ever look back and think,
“If I had known this was coming, what would I have done differently?”
I do know. And I will be held accountable for that.
My prayer is that this changes all of us, developing a deeper passion than we’ve ever experienced for those who are lost. May we have a consuming, obsessive desire to take the gospel to everyone we can in any way we can.