Maybe now is actually the right time to doubt your faith.
How can I say such a thing in the middle of the biggest global crises most of us have experienced? Why would I bring more uncertainty when most of us are terrified by this invisible enemy of our families, our loved ones and ourselves? Is this not a time to build rather than question faith?
It is indeed. It’s also a time to examine its substance.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” Paul admonished in 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) “Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Only three months ago we celebrated a New Year with promise and hope. We considered what achievements lay ahead and made goals to reach them. The year 2020 by its decade marker and its sheer number appeal seemed full of promise. Rumblings of COVID-19 were distant, unreal and irrelevant.
But God knew. These rapid fire unfolding events did not take Him by surprise. He is Sovereign over times and seasons. He knew well how a virus would change our traditional Easter practices. He isn’t surprised at the mourning and fear we experience.
Like the glorious resurrection we celebrate without walls or stained glass, Easter 2020 offers us a step back to examine. It brings concrete hope and new life.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6 (ESV).
I’m not encouraging readers to doubt salvation, rather to examine upon whom it rests.
I know what it is like to doubt. As a child I struggled with Satan’s paralyzing tactic for years. I recently wrote about it in Refresh Magazine. Convinced I’d never prayed the prayer just right, or missed the mark in some way, my assurance of salvation almost in grasp always seemed to sidestep me. Until I recognized the 2% of salvation I thought lay in my court denied the 100% of undeserved work Jesus had done, I fought a battle of doubt. Until I surrendered all, I doubted much.
In a March 18 article in the Italian newspaper Repubblica, Pope Francis was asked, “How can those who do not have faith have hope in days like these?”
Here is the Pope’s answer: “They are all God’s children and are looked upon by Him. Even those who have not yet met God, those who do not have the gift of faith, can find their way through this, in the good things they believe in…”
Such an answer begs examination.
The greatest tragedy of Covid-19 would be for our message of the gospel to lead people to a faith which is no faith or to cling to vague beliefs without Biblical substance. If in our message to a troubled world we give placations and pleasing sentiment but neglect the Scriptural truth of Jesus’ claims, ultimate grief and sorrow will be much deeper than this present coronavirus suffering.
Love indescribable compelled a Father to give His only Son because we are beyond remedy without His saving grace. Jesus’ death and resurrection, the bridge from to a Holy Father to our sinful state offers forgiveness and life eternal.
This is the Easter resurrection we celebrate.
In the dark days of Covid-19 this truth lights our way. It is the solid hope and surety we hold out to a world looking for answers. Jesus is the answer to the spiritual pandemic of our souls.
So maybe this coronavirus time is a divine opportunity to examine faith, to ask questions like what does my hope rest on? For to allow any other man-inspired claim than Jesus Christ to define faith by human reasoning is the real definition of blind faith.
Jesus’ words in John to His disciples confirmed the exclusivity of salvation in Christ.
“I am the way.”
Jesus Christ’s claim defined the pathway to faith.
“and the truth”
His subsequent death and resurrection fulfilled Old Testament law, sharply contrasting religious adherence with Christ-alone surrendered belief.
“and the life.”
He gave Himself as the Lamb of God, a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
This passover week, reminiscent of Exodus 12 when God asked the Israelites to put blood on their doorposts so death would pass over their home, reminds us that the blood of Christ opens the portal to eternal life and frees us from sin’s death blow.
This is the time. This Easter season is the time to surrender to Jesus 100%. May what looks as the most bleak and hopeless time of our history be a new beginning, an Easter revival in our souls and a resurrection of true Biblical faith.
Apostle Paul’s admonition to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith,” is for today.
This is a life and death time. It is sobering and renewing, but it is also reassuring, for we can be certain. Jesus paid it all.
He is risen. He is risen indeed.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”