Updated: May 5
I reached my breaking point today in regards to COVID-19.
Until today I was making the best of it. Unlike many of my friends, my job still had me coming into the office. My favorite restaurant was still open. My skating rink (I figure skate) still had ice time available. My gym still offered workout classes. Despite all the media hype surrounding the pandemic, I personally was not affected. When I saw a new article, post, or picture with “Coronavirus” or “COVID-19” I got annoyed for a moment- but even my discontented feelings merely merited a roll of the eyes before I was back to my own business. Unbothered.
That all changed this afternoon. As I was driving home, my phone was chiming away with countless email alerts. These notifications told me that my favorite restaurant was closed, my skating rink no longer had public ice time, and my gym was shutting down indefinitely. I was finally forced to embrace the catastrophe that is at hand. As I realized that every activity I typically fill my day with was now unavailable, I was mad. I felt an unsettling ache settle into my gut. When will all of this come to an end?
I am not the type of person to join in on all the hype. I am a skeptic. I am naturally critical of people who lead with their emotions. I’m the sort of person who is likely to stand still for a moment when the fire alarm goes off rather than run around screaming. Because of this, it has been very challenging for me to buy into all the media excitement we are being pounded with surrounding this moment in history. This includes posts from well-intending Christians about “End Times”. If ever there was a time for the Adventist community to let their crazy shine through, it seems like that time is now. I’m seeing phrases such as, "Ten habits Adventists must break before the end of the world", "Covid-19 linked with new world order", "Coronavirus and Ellen White", “COVID-19 Vaccine and the Mark of the Beast.” Let’s be honest, it looks pretty ridiculous.
Yet today as I was driving home and talking to God about my anger, I had a startling thought. What if this WAS end times after all? I’m not talking about Sunday laws, Ellen White theories, or corrupted vaccines (nor am I advocating that there is any truth in such claims), my point is, what if I could never go back to the comforts of my usual lifestyle?
There comes a time- a moment where each of us must evaluate what we stand for and what we believe in. I call this phenomenon, “The Value of a Trial”. For some people this presents itself after the loss of a family member, the betrayal of a spouse, or amidst a financial failure. Perhaps for you and me it is coming right now in the form of an incurable illness that is sweeping the globe overnight. Whatever that trial looks like, I believe we should embrace it. Instead of running away from our discomfort we must look it in the face. Am I really ready to give up the world if it truly did end in my lifetime? Am I willing to cling to Jesus?
We as Adventists have grown complacent in certain aspects of our faith. I don’t mean this as an insult, but rather a simple fact. The truth is, when I woke up this morning I wanted to go eat tacos and practice my toe loop. When I allowed myself to consider NEVER being able to partake in those activities again, I was angry. I wasn’t ready to give them up. We find comfort in telling ourselves that we have preached “end times events” for years and yet we are still all here. We still have plenty of time.
I remember going through high school praying that God would hold off on returning so that I could get married first. In college, I was praying for a job. Now that I am married and working full time, I sometimes catch myself asking if God could maybe wait until I have my first kid before destroying the planet. Before I know it, I’ve rescheduled Jesus’ second coming completely out of my lifetime. The worst part is, sometimes I want it that way.
Does any of this sound relatable?
Here is my challenge to you: regardless of if this is or is not the end of the world, it is time to start living like it is. It is time to share Jesus with that co-worker you’ve been too scared to speak with. It is time to commit to daily Bible reading even though you’ve made excuses in the past. It is time to actively seek help for the addiction, the porn, the alcohol, or the binge eating that you’ve continued to partake in even though you know it’s consuming your life. Right now, the world is literally shutting down. It could be for weeks. It could be for months. You will potentially have more free time on your hands than you have had since you were a child. It is time to spend that quality time with Jesus that never fit into your schedule before. We don’t know when Jesus will come back, but we do know it will happen. Why not make every second count?
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”