What if the challenges of 2020 represent the greatest spiritual opportunity in our lifetime for us to turn back to God? Will we get back to God? Or will we say to God in view of the disruptions of our lives, “I’ll get back to you on that, God”?
I read that they vacuumed up a nest of “murder hornets” in the state of Washington earlier this week. If we ever get Covid behind us, the last thing we would seem to need is a new kind of insect with a stinger. Then I read Revelation 9. Just when you think you are finished with the locusts, a new variety comes along. In my sermon on Joel at Tallowood last Sunday, I mentioned that I never really feared grasshoppers. But John paints a vivid portrait of a new kind of locust in this chapter. These grasshoppers sting like scorpions.
No, thank you! I was stung by a scorpion once. Melanie and I were newly married, living in the parsonage outside of Axtell and Mart when I felt fire on the back of my calf. By the time I stood to my feet I had broken out in a cold sweat. As I pinned the tenacious scorpion against my leg, he continued to play “connect the dots” on the back of my leg. When we finally shook him out and saw him, sweet Melanie said, “Oh, he’s just a little one.” Thankfully scorpions don’t fly . . . until the new locusts arrive with the ability to sting like scorpions. Not good!
One of my favorite Bible verses is, “It came to pass.” In John’s vision, the locust-scorpions eventually pass. But then come the plagues. These latter day nightmares wipe out a large portion of the earth’s population. So what did the survivors do? Did they turn to God and repent of their sins out of gratitude that they were still alive. Nope. They kept on worshipping demons and idols. They didn’t stop their sorcery, killing, immorality or stealing.
Say we survive the current pandemic: how will we live? What kind of people will we be? More humble and circumspect or filled with bravado and hubris? Will we be selfless or selfish? More concerned about others or centered in ourselves? John reminds us that the appeal of sin remains strong. The challenges of life affect different people in different ways. Some run to God as our refuge, and some remain fugitives running away from God. Who will we be in the weeks and months to come? A sister church posted, “The best is yet to come.” It is. If we get back to God.