Epidemiologists not longer classify COVID as a pandemic. Now, apparently, we are in an ‘endemic.’ A disease becomes ‘endemic’ when it “persists in a population or region, generally having settled to a relatively constant rate of occurrence.” In other words, the virus has become a part of the furniture of life and is no longer ‘going viral.
The phrase ‘going viral’ used to carry only bad connotations. But social media has made ‘going viral’ the goal of influences, extroverts, and narcissists of all stripes. It means you are getting noticed. And most of us want to get noticed. Our style, our vibe, our pursuits all tend toward this end. We want to be seen, loved, valued, cherished. Yes, even introverts want to get noticed. They just don’t want to have to talk with anyone about it. Even Solomon recognized this need in the Proverbs when he wrote.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;Proverbs 27:2
a stranger, and not your own lips.
But there are times we don’t want to get noticed. When we prefer anonymity. Times we would like to be an Invisible Man. When we want to say, do, or think things we shouldn’t. Or when we don’t want others in our business. We try to fly under the radar. Or at least deceive ourselves that we can. The hard reality is that we never live outside scrutiny.
While the Orwellian suspicion that ‘Big Brother is watching’ is increasingly plausible, there is without a doubt, an Eternal Father who is. Nothing escapes his gaze. The things we want to go unnoticed are not. And the things no one else seems to notice, are. The Chronicler’s words are both encouragement and warning.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.2 Chronicles 16:9
Unbelievers hope God will not see. Believers pray He will. The temptation for both is to believe that God either cannot or prefers not to see and act. But the Heavenly Father comforts his children with reminders that He sees, cares, and acts. This theme repeatedly shows up in the tears and prayers of Psalmists.
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”
Understand, O dullest of the people!Psalm 94:4-9
Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
God does see. God’s purposes are not thwarted. He is not apathetic to the condition of the world. The universe is not spiraling out of control. Injustice does not have the upper hand. Oppression is not the inevitable last word. The English poet William Cowper struggled with God’s Providence. His collaboration with John Newton on the Olney Hymns was repeatedly halted by bouts of deep depression. Yet this collection, included some of the great hymns of the faith, including one which gave voice to Cowper’s own struggle.
God moves in a mysterious way,God Moves in a Mysterious Way, William Cowper
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill;
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev’ry hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
Whether you recognize it or not. You are getting noticed. There is one who sees. Who cares. Who acts. Does this give you comfort? Or does this terrorize you? Are you afraid God sees you? That nothing is hidden from him? You need to know Jesus, the Worthy One, who endured God’s wrath and justice for what we hope God will not see in us. Believe in him and when God looks at your sin, he will see only Jesus’ righteousness.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21
In Revelation 5, this Worthy One comes forward to take a scroll from the hand of God. This scroll is the book of God’s eternal decrees – the unfolding of redemptive history. As Jesus opens the sealed book in Revelation 6, a series of visions remind us that any apparent delays in God’s fulfillment of His redemptive plan for this world are just that – appearances. God is at work. Everything is unfolding just as He intended. The unjust are getting justice. The people of God have not been forsaken. And God is winding down the old heavens and earth to make way for the new. God sees. He cares. He acts. And this is comfort when everything we see seems to say otherwise.
Join us this week as we examine Revelation 6 and find comfort in the reminder that, “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
We meet on the square in Pottsville, right next to historic Potts’ Inn at 10:30 am for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. Or join us on Facebook Live @PottsvilleARP or YouTube. For the Order of Service, click here.