Lockdown and the Most Important Thing in Life

Reinhold Federolf

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, completely new or long-forgotten questions have emerged. What’s essential, what’s incidental, and what’s the most important thing in life?

When the famed Apostle Paul began to promote Christianity among the educated speakers and philosophers of advanced Greek culture in Athens, he argued as follows: “And he [God] made from one man [Adam] every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).

God has a clear purpose for all people!

Everything in human life is designed in such a way that leads us to seek God and find Him. This claim has such immense implications that we should really let it impact us. We encounter a related orientation in Ecclesiastes  3:11: “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart…” In other words, we are “preprogrammed” with a predisposition (that is, a predetermined receptivity) to thoughts about God, the meaning of life, death, the possibility of life after death, of being lost or saved. We should seek and find God!

Even internationally-known wrestling champion Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Eugene Bollea) described this time as one of the most powerful gifts to our human race: “In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, ‘You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down civic centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.’ ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ Maybe we don’t need a vaccine, Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters. Jesus.”

When the great king Solomon prayed at the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem, God Himself replied: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence [contagious disease] among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr 7:13-14).—God hears, God forgives, and God heals.

In Deuteronomy, God warned His people Israel of dreadful judgments He would employ as leverage against idolatry, immorality, and injustice: “The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you […] The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew” (Deut 28:21-22). Luther translates “blight” as “toxic air.” We could think of pollution or disease transmission today.

These quoted verses reveal that God can definitely shake and sway people through natural disasters—including dangerous and contagious epidemics—so that we become aware of our own transience and impotence and run to God. “Wicked ways,” “sin,” and “repentance” are clearly defined terms. That’s why God is increasing the external pressure: to provoke reactions, so that we can deal with the important question about Him. God is concerned with eternal salvation or eternal loss. The elephant standing in the room is: will America, as well as the whole world, get closer to God, or move further away from Him? Let’s pray that at least some people wake up, pay attention, examine themselves, repent, and become one with Jesus; to walk a path that is pleasing to Him.

Related to the judgment upon an overpowering military invasion of modern Israel, we read: “And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell confidently in the islands: and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezek 39:6). Whole continents could be meant by these “islands” (of pagans). But the people certainly aren’t living carefree lives (Matt 6:31-32). God warns of carelessness toward Himself and our eternal salvation. This carelessness means that, like in the days before the Flood, God is completely ignored and people do what they want.

The Apostle Paul uses an interesting expression to describe our world: “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage [enslavement] to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). This Greek word phthora (corruption) has characterized our world since the Fall: destruction, decay, decadence, loss, decline, annihilation, dissolution, transience, and ruin. It means we’re living in a dying world.

Before the terrible judgment of the Flood, people’s behavior was described in this way: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). God was being completely ignored, and the godly were laughed at and ridiculed. Don’t we see parallels to today?

Seeking and finding God is the top priority, because in the West—as far as proper faith that aligns with Scripture is concerned—more and more people are saying, “We’re sinking!” Let us not allow this longing for God to be satisfied only superficially, by mere religion and empty rituals.

The crippling coronavirus lockdown was, and is, without a doubt God’s knocking: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

It’s fair to assume that this global pandemic will bring about tremendous changes in the economy, politics, and security, and that the apocalyptic world stage will be further set.

Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?

Midnight Call - 10/2020

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