One of these days, we will tell the story of games we didn’t play, graduations delayed, weddings with no guests, cafe’s serving curbside, and an Easter where it was illegal to gather in a church.
The coronavirus has disrupted our lives.
Joel spoke to a generation much like our own. It was a time of disrupted weddings, worship, and work.
Disrupted weddings (Joel 1:8). Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth.
Disrupted worship (Joel 1:9) The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord. The priests mourn, the ministers of the Lord.
Disrupted work (Joel 1:11 Be ashamed, O tillers of the soil; wail, O vinedressers, for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field has perished.
And there are a lot of people, though saddened by these circumstances, who would tell our graduates, brides, and ballplayers to toughen up and get over it.
Never get over it
Joel didn’t tell the people to get over it, but to be disturbed by it.
Joel told the people to lament like that bride whose wedding was canceled. The broken bride, the grieving graduate – these are not exceptions, they are examples. We should not be disturbed by them but disturbed like them.
Churches are trying to figure out how to meet. Joel didn’t call the religious to figure out how to meet, but to mourn.
We are waiting for stimulus checks. Nobody wants to go broke, but Joel wanted the workers to be broken.
We have all been disrupted by the coronavirus, but how deeply have we been disturbed by it?
Are we aggravated or brokenhearted? Are we just waiting for things to be rescheduled, or are we repentant?
Get in touch with your loss
In a crisis, God calls His people to ratchet up the intensity of emotion. He doesn’t call us to get over it but to get in touch with it. Why?
- Crisis reminds us that we are not in control. Crisis shatters our false sense of control. We make plans, but we need reminders that nothing is accomplished lest it be the will of God.
- Crisis reminds us that we are not entitled. This virus has reminded us that we do not have to go to church, we get to go to church. It makes us grateful for graduations. It reminds us of how special weddings really are. Coronavirus reminds us that every act of worship, every wedding, and every day at work is done by the grace and mercy of God.
- Crisis reminds us we are not the focus. Before coronavirus, we picked churches based on preferences. Joel was more concerned that the people get back to God, not just back to church. A wedding is a holy union forged before God. It is about covenants, not shaggy-chic barns. It’s about promises, not pictures.
God wants us disrupted and disturbed. A crisis is a time God calls us to come back to Him before we get back to life (Joel 2:12-14).
He wants our ceremonies to honor Him.
God wants our worship to be for Him.
He wants every day at work to be as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23-24).