These are words from Ephesians 5:14 (The Message). “Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!” Nothing in my lifetime has gotten the attention of Americans like the Covid-19 virus. People are coming out of their spiritual coffins, asking “God” questions, wondering what is next for our nation. We have no idea what the future has in store for us. It most certainly is a wake up call.
Is interesting that Ross Douthat’s new book, “The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success” was published just before the outbreak. “Decadence” he maintains, “refers to economic stagnation, institutional decay, and cultural and intellectual exhaustion at a high level of material prosperity and technological development.”
Basically he sees our society slowly winding down with an uncertain future. Albert Mohler in his review of the book notes Douthat’s belief, “that our culture just slowly winds down. It does not blow up; it just loses energy….we are facing something of a slow melt.”
Mohler quotes poet W. H. Auden’s familiar description of Rome’s fall: “What fascinates and terrifies us about the Roman Empire is not that it finally went smash, [but that] it managed to last four centuries without creativity, warmth or hope.” “That” says Mohler, “is the vision that haunts Douthat.
I would think that most sincere followers of Jesus would say that our nations has been going in the wrong direction for some time. The virus has exposed a lot of cracks in the foundation. God is certainly using the present crisis to get our attention and the wake up the church. Thus the words, “Wake up from your sleep”
In the next verse the Message reads, “So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times” (v 15). Interestingly in the final page of his book, Douthat makes, unknowingly, this prophetic statement; “I’m not predicting the end of the world or the arrival of the millennium here…..I’m just saying that if this were the age in which some major divine intervention happened……there would be, in hindsight, a case that we should have seen it coming.” If you are living in New York city, I am sure, there is a sense that things might not ever be the same.
As this pandemic continues, I sense greater uncertainty and fear about not only the duration of the pandemic, but how we will function as a nation in the aftermath. I personally, need to be discerning with what I read about the virus. What information can I trust?
As a follower of Jesus, I want to avoid the mistake of listening to the “bad report” similar to the one given to the people of Israel, by the spies, about going into the promised land. The people said, “Our brothers have made us lose heart” (Deut. 1:28).
Moses reassured them with these words, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your every eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (Deut. 1:29-31).
Men, we belong to the kingdom of God. He will carry you and your loved ones like a father in the days to come. We don’t have to fear. He will see you to the end. Let’s stay awake and be “warrior of the light.”