Not every Word from the Lord is “uplifting”. Sometimes it is edifying or perhaps corrective, which is still good and necessary when God our Father. brings it.
In my zeal, one of the issues I have been struggling with recently is what I erroneously judged as a poor witness of the universal Church during this pandemic crisis. Actually, I was more disappointed with God then the Church, which only affirmed the proverb, “Zeal without knowledge is not good”, which I applied to myself.
My struggle was around wanting to see Christ glorified through His people, by seeing the Church gather together to worship Him as He protected us from viral infections, thinking what a great opportunity of witness and wonderful miraculous “sign” this could be that would prove our faith and draw many others to Christ. However, what actually happened was the opposite. The churches stopped gathering and some supposed reports came in that people became sick because church goers did gather. Whether accurate or not, either way I struggled with reconciling this in my mind.
When I finally got down in focused prayer time over this specific issue, asking the Lord for understanding why the Church was NOT EXEMPT from the pandemic effects, the Scripture verse I believe He brought to mind was 1 Peter 4:17
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; And if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
“if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?
What I believe God impressed upon me, was that God was using this time as a sanctifying and sobering time for the universal Church; to humble the Church, to help it see that although those in the Church are in a better position regarding salvation, that the Church too will be subject to judgement, and that it is NOT EXEMPT, just like from the virus. And more so, that the Church will be judged first.
This was a sobering thought, but sobriety is good. Sober thinking is good and biblical, and God uses His Word to bring us to sober thinking. I am not saying that the virus is a judgment from God, but that God is working in His Church through this crisis time to sanctify and soberize it, for something greater ahead.
Then were a few other sobering NT Scripture verses that came to mind, such as,
“Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord”, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”, – Mt. 7:21
“For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself…” – 1 Corinthians 11:29
And then, I was reading Job chapter 40-42 , where Job, who was a righteous man, but was “drunk” in his thinking effected with and from suffering, contending with God and complaining that if he was righteous then why was he not exempt from the sick suffering. Though his friends, who lacked knowledge were unable to reprove Job, God was not unable. Job was sobered up by God’s questioning of him and for his contentions against God, to which Job shut up and repented in dust and ashes, saying that he had spoken without knowledge also and that God could do whatever God wanted without explanation.
So, in similar fashion, God did not agree with my contentions as I was hoping for, but instead sobered up my thinking, humbling me with with His answer. Instead of working miraculously THROUGH the Church at this time, I believe that God is allowing the Church to suffer just like everyone else, because He wants to work something out IN the Church, which involves some humbling towards sober thinking. Certainly, God can still draw people to Himself through this time anyways, as I believe He is, but right now it seems to me that God is more interested in the Church’s virtue and right thinking, than performing a miraculous sign to prove His own worth.
Like Job who said, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand…” this just shows me how little I understand about God and that is very sobering too.
What I do know and understand a little better is that Gods ways are way much higher than mine and that I still have so much more to learn about and from Him, as I grow up in Christ.