I’m perplexed. A large group of Christians in this country are rallying around the scripture of 2 Chronicles 7:14. People I know and love are gathering together to pray and humble themselves and receive healing for this land. They’re asking that God would make the pestilence that is the coronavirus miraculously pass over America on Easter weekend.
God loves our prayer. He loves to hear from us and consider our thoughts and desires. He chose to partner with us and that means He chooses to listen to us. He loves it when we pray. He loves it when we have faith to make bold and audacious requests to Him. He can do it and we believe it! Look at this scripture. There are some big promises here.
11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 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. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’
19 “But if you[c] turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will pluck you[d] up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’” 2 Chronicles 11-22
We are promised healing but we have defiled the house of the Lord. I think repentance, not healing, needs to be our focus.
If we love God then we know He will use this contagian for His purposes. He will use it! I keep seeing and hearing how He’s using it! Families are coming together. People are reaching out to each other with intentionality and love. People are helping one another. Social distancing has brought a lot of good attention to our need to connect with people. And people are connecting!
What else will He do? I can’t help but think of my years of chronic health problems. For years people have prayed for my healing, but if I had been healed instantly every time, I would have lost so much! I’ve learned how to draw close to Him in those times. So close. And in those times He has proven His love and care for me.
Now I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t pray for healing. I want our land to be healed! But I want repentance more! I want to see this virus drive people to God. I want to see God use it as a shepherd’s crook, pulling people close to Him. I don’t want one sheep to be lost.
He will be coming soon to reclaim and rebuild His Kingdom, so how can we ask Him to allow the coronavirus to pass over us, when we know that it has stopped the worship of so many idols? How can we ask Him to spare us, when we’ve taken part in the love of worldly freedom and arrogance? How can we ask Him to stop shaking the Earth, when we know He’s giving people one more chance to turn to Him?
I would rather die of Covid-19 than see my neighbors spared the opportunity to drop to their knees in desperation and cry out to God for salvation. Because I think that is what it’s going to take.
If people remain comfortable, if people can claim peace and security and watch the miracle of God’s protection from the coronavirus, will they repent? Will they really? Will they turn to God and be saved because they were spared? Or will they continue in their wicked ways, oblivious still to the One True King.
Suffering, discomfort, fear: these things will drive people to seek God. I know this from personal experience. People will seek him because they have nothing else. Let’s not ask God to deny them that opportunity.
Aren’t they worth it?
I pray that we as Christians could stop asking for peace and comfort and healing, and start asking for the conviction of God to overcome us that we would repent of our sins and live as Christ: sacrificing our own comfort that those who are lost may be found.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27