"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.’" These are the Scriptures from Hebrews. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these seem to be clearer in meaning and I have a more in-depth understanding of them. Psalm 119 says: " It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees."
From April to May, the churches were reopened and social activities and schools resumed. All kinds of joy, best wishes, satisfaction, happiness, etc. came together, and it seemed as if everything had returned to normal. However, the past had occurred and life could not be reversed. I don't know how many believers have been awakened by the pandemic, learned new lessons, have come to know how to please God in their life, or have become a thankful, reverent or awe-inspiring person.
Currently, in the church, what we have to do is to rely more closely on God, be rooted in Him, as well as do our best in serving. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
The pandemic was a furnace that purified the dross. God has refined us, causing us to abandon the secularized false beliefs such as those of the Laodiceans or the Pharisees. We should accept salvation with a true heart and with faith, have confidence in it and be a true disciple. After having been refined, our faith has become pure, our actions have become holy, and we are capable of witnessing His glory.
Christians should live with a thankful heart. During the pandemic, we became accustomed to praying to God about again worshipping him freely, and now it has come to pass.
When life is back to normal, we will not only have a heart full of thanks to God and to society but will also be more reverent towards God. "People call on God when they are wronged, and their mother when they are in pain." The pandemic was a great lesson and taught people that no one in this world could completely leave God. God exists and rules everything whether we admit this truth or not.
What is repentance? Repentance is a kind of turning from the previous path to the new one. Before we did not want God, alienating Him, and put people at the first place. But now we worship God, put Him first, and fear Him reverently. “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” Brothers and sisters, are we righteous towards others and reverent towards God?
When life is back to normal, we still need to regain our awe and respect for nature, and fear of God and life. The wise king also said: " Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." A person who is in awe of nothing is immature. What a great universe God has created! How small we are! How can we not be in awe? How can we treat life so casually?
We should have an attitude of thankfulness, reverence and fear, as is written in the book of Hebrews. With these, suffering has meaning, and trouble can be overcome.
It’s unfortunate to have to encounter the pandemic, but we have fortunately been awakened. Let’s serve God with thankfulness, reverence and awe, pleasing him in all things, and living a life focused on Him. Love will never fail, just as He never will also. Amen.
- Translated by Elaina Wu