Pandemics & Priorities

I regret to inform you, reader, this blog will discuss the ongoing situation with COVID-19 just a little. I’d rather write about other topics like playing hockey, barbecues, or chainsawing in the woods, but I don’t want to seem out of touch with what’s going on. Even more so, COVID-19 and the Exile Period seem to have an association difficult to overlook.

At the time of Habakkuk, the southern kingdom of Israel, Judah, is about to be punished for its extreme moral decline, idol worship, and forgetting the one true God. They would be exiled from their homes in the promised land, and the first temple would be demolished during the siege of Jerusalem.

As I read, I find myself thinking, “Just turn back to God and he’ll take you back. Stop worshipping these lifeless idols. Stop sacrificing your precious children.” But they don’t stop. It’s like a horror movie and you see it all unfolding.

Then I reflect on life in the here and now. I see people everywhere totally devoted to everything but the one living and true God.

A few months ago, I asked a friend if he and his family attend church. He said they do… when they aren’t going to his kids’ sporting events. Youth sports is the idol in his family, much like it is for many American families. Their children are taught that practices and games are more important than worship at church. Those kids will take these life experiences and pass them on to the next generation. Church will likely continue to be squeezed out further until it’s just something that “other people” do.

And I am not free from guilt in this! I worshipped making some quick cash during my college years as I spent many Sunday mornings pressing buttons on a cash register. I felt little shame in it. If anybody asked why I wasn’t in church, I told them the truth and nobody seemed to question my rationale. I could’ve used some good advice through bold truth.

Recently, I missed two Sunday services because I went to watch a hockey game. I’ve since decided I can no longer do that because it says, “Go ahead and miss church as long as it’s something you enjoy doing.” It sets a bad example for my family and for those I want to share Christ with. I can and want to do better.

The kings in the Old Testament show us very clearly it only takes one generation to backslide toward our sinful desires—and two generations to become even worse.

Maybe God is using this time of quarantine to wake us up to our priorities. Those who have strayed to work on Sunday morning are being called back to Him because work isn’t happening. Those missing worship and fellowship to watch their favorite sporting events are being called back to Him because there are no sports being played. I’m hoping Sunday services are back in session before all these activities start up again. I have been praying for revival. Maybe this is the match that starts the fire.