Are We Living Through an April Fool’s Prank From Hell?
Okay, I have a theory. I could be wrong. (Darwin was, and I’m not as smart as Darwin.) But let me lay it out for you and offer some pieces of evidence. Events will reveal, in the long run, if I am right. Here goes:
Satan, or some lesser devil, is trying to fool us into thinking that these are the End Times. Right now, as in this week or this month, the world is going to end. Of course, Christians have wildly varying theories about what that will mean. Some think they might be raptured, and their driverless minivans sent spinning onto medians all across the Bible Belt. The kind of people I know? They’re more likely to believe what the Virgin Mary supposedly told an Italian friar. We will see (rather, won’t see) “three days of darkness” when the air will be poisoned and the only visible light will come from special blessed candles available online from certain websites.
Such details aren’t important now. Because I don’t think the End is near. But I think the Enemy wants to provoke us into dreading it. He wants us to eat too much, drink too much, spend too much, and forget about the future. Because we’re not going to have one. The events in Revelation will come on us quite soon, and there’s nothing we can do. We’re going to die.
Staring Up at the Judas Tree
Sure, we just might be saved, but he’ll urge us to despair of that prospect too. The Enemy will magnify our sins and minimize God’s grace, as he did to the guilt-crazed Judas. And he’ll have a halter ready for us, over there by the Judas Tree, which he’ll whisper to us is really the only sure way out.
Our children? They won’t grow up, won’t give us grandchildren. Our friends? They’ll all be gone soon, in horrible ways he’s happy to encourage us to imagine.
Our favorite restaurants and shops? They’ll all be closed, and those waiters and chefs and small business owners? They’ll be destitute and alone, in quarantined apartments eating their last cans of cat food till the seas all boil away.
Our churches? They’ll never reopen. They’ll go broke during this crisis, and their doors won’t open again before the fire rains down from heaven. Sure we could pray at home, but what’s the point? Or maybe we’ll get around to it after reading … three more hours of bad news on Twitter. Or screaming back at CNN on television. Or crawling into a bottle.
Wicked Caesars, Hireling Shepherds, and Hutu Media
Why do I think that all of this hails from Hell? Well, where else would such “encouragement” come from? But I have other reasons. I think the Enemy’s urging fallen, faithless people to act even more perversely and cruelly than normal, in an orchestrated effort to make the church go crazy. And I find it a daily struggle to push back against that myself. To wit, just a scant selection of insane, infuriating incidents:
- Abortion clinics stay open in New York City, while the mayor threatens to seize the property of churches that don’t stay closed.
- A massive gay pride march scheduled for June in Britain will apparently defy the country’s quarantine. Will authorities step in to stop it? Don’t hold your breath. Gay bath houses stayed open, spreading AIDS, for years until most of their customers simply died off.
- Our media are acting like the Hutu media in Rwanda before the anti-Tutsi genocide started. They’re scapegoating Christians as little better than “cockroaches,” science deniers and infection vectors. See how The New York Times went after evangelicals last week. Then look at their “news” story painting Jerry Falwell, Jr., as a 2020 Typhoid Mary for letting adult students stay in Liberty University’s dorms. Instead of going home and possibly infecting their parents.
- Local governments are closing gun stores, but releasing criminals on the streets for the criminals’ “safety.” Then they’re threatening to fill those (infected?) jails with … citizens who try to go to church or buy a gun, or otherwise violate the quarantine.
- Too many clergy are treating this lockdown as straight-up vacation time. Bishops in several states have banned even “driveby” blessings and confessions, which obeyed “social distancing” norms.
- Meanwhile a priest who runs a major Catholic charity in Austria urged people locked at home to take advantage of … a porn site.
“Curse God and Die”?
I could go on, but why help the devil? He’s lashing his minions into overdrive these days, precisely to beat us down with discouragement, crush us with paranoia, and generally to poke us and prod us until we’re ready to “curse God, and die.” (Job 2: 9)
That’s the fatal mistake, of course, the death of the soul. Let’s cultivate a spirit of trust in God, and humbly remind ourselves that His plans exceed our imaginings. While we should always have judgment day (the world’s or our own) in the back of our minds, we shouldn’t fill our minds with frightening scenarios taken from Revelation. Let’s remember Christ as He always is for His people: the Good Shepherd, seeking the lost.