When I worked in journalism, I learned to detect when someone I was interviewing was telling the truth or not. There is no real trick for it. It’s not something you can learn in journalism school. It is something you learn by listening and looking. Often, people think journalism is about talking. Surely, it is an essential part of the job but listening and observing are two actions that are far more essential to understanding and seeing the truth in what is said. Through time and history, God used different ways to talk to His people, and during the crisis we are living in, this is no different.
What is God trying to tell us right now?
How is God using Covid-19 to talk to us?
These are two questions that have been trotting through my head recently. It would be presumptuous for me to say that God wanted this virus to come and ruin His creation. Is it possible though that He is using the situation to humble us and to bring attention back to Himself?
In our cell group the past few weeks, we have discussed the kinds of opportunities that will rise from this crisis. Maybe it is hard to see right now, but I do believe there are opportunities that will come from this. Personally, I believe we are heading towards a renewal. I know this is such a big word that has been thrown around in church circles for years – while still waiting to see this renewal. When I was growing up in Quebec, Christians were saying that a renewal was coming and that God was about to do something so powerful in Canada – that God would start with the province of Quebec. Maybe there was some arrogance in this but truth to be told: we are still waiting for this renewal.
As the world is plowing threw one of its worst crises, God is preparing His church for something so much more. God is planting the seed out of this time to make His church stronger. The church is going to emerge out of the crisis better and stronger. Many great innovations in the world were created when the world was under pressure and there was no other option than to come up with solutions to problems.
What if God was using this time of social distancing to form us in His image? You see, there is something so unique when it comes to solitude. Often in the Bible, times of solitude prepared people for what was coming. Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul all experienced times of solitude and all faced hardship at one moment or another. These might be the obvious, but there are dozens of examples in the Bible.
God uses solitude to transform us, to make us more like Him.
Ecclesiastes remind us “there is a time for everything”. Pastor Carter taught us how the strength of the Church is in unity. Maybe at first, unity and solitude sound like opposites, but we should think about them as complementary. What if we used this opportunity to get closer to God and pray for our neighbours and other Christians? What would happen if we were using this time to ask God to bring more unity in His church? In the words of Thomas Merton:
“It is all very well to insist that man is a “social animal”—the fact is obvious enough. But that is no justification for making him a mere cog in a totalitarian machine—or in a religious one either, for that matter. In actual fact, society depends for its existence on the inviolable personal solitude of its members. Society, to merit its name, must be made up not of numbers, or mechanical units, but of persons. To be a person implies responsibility and freedom, and both these imply a certain interior solitude, a sense of personal integrity, a sense of one’s own reality and of one’s ability to give himself to society—or to refuse that gift. When men are merely submerged in a mass of impersonal human beings pushed around by automatic forces, they lose their true humanity, their integrity, their ability to love, their capacity for self-determination. When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, the society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.”
Right now, God is preparing leaders. No book or Bible College class can prepare anyone for this kind of crisis. God is forcing His church to go into solitude and pray. The face of His Church will have drastically changed when Covid-19 has passed… because, yes it will pass. God is talking to us right now, we have to learn to hear and to understand what he is telling us. We have to learn to ear what God is telling us, but are we listening?
– DM Thibeault