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A New Sight

In third grade, I suddenly found myself having to squint to see the chalkboard. (For those who have no idea what a “chalkboard” is, it was an early form of a computer monitor…) Within a very few weeks I went from being able to see clearly, to needing glasses. Everything forever changed in terms of sight… I had to adjust to a new normal…

We are certainly in a new season, a new normal, as the Church of Jesus Christ in the Western world and as citizens of the United States.

  • 21 million Americans who had a job last month are now unemployed. That dwarfs the job losses of the first year of the Great Depression…

  • New Jersey’s Governor admitted that “he wasn’t thinking about the Bill of Rights of our Constitution when he closed down—totally—every church, synagogue, and mosque to his state. Of course, he was just following the lead of many other governors. It seems like very few have been thinking about the fact that once you give away basic rights, it becomes almost impossible to retrieve them…

  • The Church in the United States will never go back to looking like it did the first of March. Using history as a guide, attendance will never reach the sustained levels of just a couple months ago. Many churches will be forced to close, as economic pressures and reduced attendance combine to undercut them.

This is not the first time, however, that the Church has faced a new normal, a new sight!

  • Think about the week of the crucifixion and resurrection. Talk about rapid change! The disciples moved from disbelief to self-preservation to hope to belief and in the enormous grace of God, to restoration—even Peter!

  • Think about the persecution in Jerusalem under Saul of Tarsus. After a few years of general favor and rapid growth, the Church (at least those who were not already imprisoned) was forced to leave town in a hurry, terrorized.

  • Think about what happened as the Lord made it clear that the Church was equally open to Gentiles. Up to this point, it had been 100% Jewish. Suddenly, that was all changed. Some of the religiously bound believers were never able to adjust…

  • Think about when the Roman Empire turned violently against the early church, complete with viciously cruel methods of torture and execution—a persecution that ebbed and flowed for the next 200-plus years…

THINK ABOUT IT! In each case, the Church grew stronger, not weaker; larger, not smaller. Yes, many people suffered and died as a result. Jesus NEVER promised us some sort of health-and-wealth wonder-life! Quite the opposite, truthfully. But the Church thrives under pressure and learns again to shift from self-preservation to self-sacrifice. Jesus is the perfect example of Self-Sacrifice, and the Church at Her best acts like Him!!

It is a nice dream that things will soon get back to “normal.” They cannot, and never will—and for the sake of millions of lost souls who are not drawn to consumer-church, shallow-church, or selfish-church, they cannot. They MUST see a Church willing to lay down Her life like Jesus did. Otherwise, what will motivate them to give up their own lives—especially when it costs much—as it will soon?!

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