It took one little virus, a little lockdown, some social distancing, a cough on the elbow and a face mask to bring out the worst in people.
Having lived through civil war, bombs in dustbins, churchgoers assaulted with automatic weapons & firearms, mass anarchy by evil socialist communists, terrorist attacks all around me, etc., I am used to distrust, yet still not fear.
For a few decades, I feared being alone in large buildings as I was stuck in one, as a young boy, during the devastating earthquake of 1969.
The sheer terror of life behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains didn’t escape me, although I didn’t experience it first hand. That didn’t make it less real. Ditto WWII, or even worse, WWI. And the most horrific war, the Anglo Boer War.
I saluted freshly filled graves with the trumpeteer playing The Last Post, one time too many.
In following God’s calling and frequently circumvented by His children in business, some just common crooks and conmen, my family and I ended up homeless, destitute, me being disabled because of a plethora of medical situations. We lost our home, all of our means to earn, all our household goods, mostly inherited treasures. We lost friends & relatives who had executed social distancing when we became poor, that hellhole called church, a fountain of intimidation, manipulation, greed and deceit.
We started our various businesses from absolutely zero. No funding, no credit, no bank accounts as we had no address.
Fellow Christians looked on and left us to our own lack of devices. Such Christian love.
Then came loadshedding and it took away 90% of our informal, pedestrian business. By Christmas 2019, the situation was dire. The online English teaching entity stopped paying just after I started with them; they were sequestrated early 2020. Then came coronavirus that had halted anything tourism related in its tracks, well before lockdown.
Finally, lockdown came and we received an illegal eviction notice. The landlord is so typical from his tribe, seen the type before. Let’s not go there, as those chosen people are quick to be offended but bloody careless in how they treat others.
Over thirty-odd years, we have seen it all, suffered tremendously yet, for much of the time, people thought we were filthy rich when they saw God’s spiritual blessing upon our lives. Their first reaction was to try get to the money we didn’t have and, when failing to do so, turned nasty.
We were persecuted, prosecuted, abused by especially charismatics, but other Christians as well. Even physically assaulted be men of the cloth. What a dirty rag a black robe can be!
In all of this, we grew intimately closer to Jesus and totally ceased and desisted from the organised crime called church. I don’t mince my words here. Suffice to direct you towards His Word that so often denounces anything temple-ish:
4. Do not trust the words of this saying, “This is the LORD’s temple, the LORD’s temple, the LORD’s temple!” It’s a lie. 5. “‘Suppose you really change the way you live and act and you really treat each other fairly. 6. Suppose you do not oppress foreigners, orphans, and widows, or kill anyone in this place. And suppose you do not follow other gods that lead you to your own destruction. 7. Then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave permanently to your ancestors long ago. 8. “‘You are trusting the words of a saying. It’s a lie that cannot help you. 9. You steal, murder, commit adultery, lie when you take oaths, burn incense as an offering to Baal, and run after other gods that you do not know. 10. Then you stand in my presence in the house that is called by my name. You think that you’re safe to do all these disgusting things. 11. The house that is called by my name has become a gathering place for thieves. I have seen what you are doing,'” declares the LORD.
It gets worse:
6. Kill old men, young men, old women, young women, and children. But don’t come near anyone who has His mark on him. Start with my holy place.” So they started with the old men in front of the temple. 7. He said to them, “Dishonour the temple! Fill its courtyards with dead people, and then leave.” So they went out and killed the people in the city.
We all know what Jesus, Who is God, had said about church people and folks like Paul agreed. As did John.
Revelation of John 18:4-5
4. I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of Babylon, my people, so that you do not participate in her sins and suffer from any of her plagues. 5. Her sins are piled as high as heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.
After a life with Jesus, spanning seven decades, I can safely say I’ve been around the block a few times.
Just a few pointers:
- Been shot at
- Been shot at and wounded
- Been kidnapped as missionaries, not just once
- Defrauded of our entire net worth by a man wielding his Bible
- A missionary friend was in line to be beheaded, that was traumatic but Jesus spared her
- Been persecuted in my own city like the KGB persecuted believers in the USSR
Oh, I can make a long list. People that had reached out to us, from faraway Vermont, USA, or Johannesburg, South Africa, are all people we had never met. One drove for an hour during lockdown, collected us with our few goods, brought us into his home, prepared a feast and let us live comfortably.
None of these stomp their feet or shout ” Jesus” from the rooftops. They are all flying below the radar. Yet their Love is real. None of them seem to be attending church but all of them, without exception, are doing His will in this. Which is more than the religious clan can say.
Finally, where has the faith of the religious gone to? I see them whine about wine, or another plug of tobacco. I see someone proclaiming Jesus on her Twitter status, yet vociferously wishing for alcohol poisoning on June 1, when liquor stores re-open.
Is this the feeble, thin, easily shaken faith Jesus wants? That a little virus throws us into a spin, or rather, a death spiral?
Where had our corporate faith departed to?
We have never lost hope, there were despondent moments, yet no despair.
We do have Jesus, still, don’t we?