Journalist Kylee Zempel
“Christians have for months been separated from one another thanks to state lockdown orders. The overwhelming majority of congregations have honored the coronavirus regulations imposed by authorities who would sooner dispense with communion than lottery tickets. To love their neighbors, protect the vulnerable, and remain above reproach, Christians stayed home, resorting to virtual meetings, sermon archives, and other poor substitutes for fellowship. In the process, we sacrificed our spiritual vitality.
As anti-religious leaders and malicious media predictably shamed communities of faith, believers rolled over, our good intentions of meek compliance manifesting in cowardice. When the media employed scare tactics — “gathering will kill Grandma” — Christians fearfully relented. When detractors peddled bogus rhetoric masquerading as science — shopping is fine, but singing is way too “dangerous” — believers capitulated.
We were told groups of more than 10 people were simply not doable. Outdoor services were deemed unsafe. Even parking too closely in a lot or having too many people in a vehicle during drive-in services was prohibited. Police surveilled churchgoers, recording the license plate numbers of service attendees as “the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else.” The message from the media and oppressive leaders has been clear: Church gatherings are deadly.
But now the game has changed. As brutal anarchists take to the streets alongside masses of peaceful protesters, all the media’s cards are on the table. Progressive governors have shown their hand. The coronavirus scare tactics have largely ceased.
Believing fast food is essential while the Lord’s Supper is nonessential has always been ridiculous. But believing worshiping is lethal while looting is warranted is downright infuriating.
Of course, states have kicked off their reopening plans, including, at the behest of the president, allowing churches to reopen with largely arbitrary regulations. But these rules are stifling. We cancel our song services, worship in shifts, and fracture our bonds by congregating in coteries at six-foot intervals.
Religious leaders have bent over backward to ensure public safety and care for their congregations, taking full precautions, but to what end? When will we say enough is enough? Scripture commands submission to government authority, but at some point, believers “must obey God rather than men.”
When have Christians ever regarded physical health above spiritual health? When has enduring persecution ever entailed abandoning firmly held belief? How can Christians expect spiritual revival, racial harmony, and peace, while neglecting our assembly together?
It’s time for believers to sing from the tops of our lungs in one, full accord — not sit silently in countless rotational services that undermine the unified body of Christ. It’s time to gather around the table, contemplating with holy reverence Christ’s body broken and blood shed for us. It’s time to confess our sacred doctrine and call upon our great Redeemer in corporate praise. No longer can we afford to live in fear.”
G.K. Chesterton said:
“When men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing! THEY BELIEVE IN ANYTHING.”
Chuck Swindoll in his daily devotional writes:
“When trouble comes we have two options. We can view it as an intrusion, an outrage, or we can see it as an opportunity to respond in specific obedience to God’s will – that rugged virtue James calls “Endurance”. Endurance is not jaw-clenching resignation, nor is it passive acquiescence. It’s a long obedience in the same direction. It’s staying on the path of obedience despite counter-indications. It’s a dogged determination to pursue holiness when the conditions of holiness are not favorable. It’s a choice in the midst of our suffering to do what God has asked us to do, whatever it is, and for as long as He asks us to do it. As Oswald Chambers wrote: “To choose suffering makes no sense at all; to chose God’s will in the midst of our suffering makes all the sense in the world.”
These words are directly related to what James is telling us:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (endurance). And let your steadfastness (endurance) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Ravi Zacharias once commented
“When you start a train of thought, it’s important to check the ticket to see where it is going to let you off.”
George Mueller, who cared for 2,500 orphans a day by faith alone, said.
“The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.”
Greg Hinnant in his book “Spiritual Truths for overcoming Adversity” writes:
“The power to endure is the ability to bear stress with ease, to be in distress without distress being in you. It’s God’s supernatural grace manifested in us. Situations that wear out others don’t bother us. We go through the fire, but are not burned. We walk calmly and steadily through the midst of the most dreaded difficulties conceivable without mental, physical, or emotional damage. In fearful circumstances, we’re calm and unafraid; in offensive situations, we’re not offended; when faced with a deadline, we’re not at our wits’ end. Where does this grace come from, this power to endure? Not merely from Bible study, not merely from prayer, not merely from fellowship with other disciples, but from PERSONAL VICTORIES GAINED IN PERSONAL TESTS.”
Journalist Kylee Zempel