"Then Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, "you are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right."
- Acts 13:9
Imagine for a moment that you had never heard of Covid 19. The stores were not closed, the nightly news didn't mention it, the NHL playoffs were in full swing and children were still in school. Of course, the disease was still running rampant and many, many people were sick and dying but the doctors, scientists and politicians were silent. There was no talk of flattening the curve or research being done on how to eradicate the problem instead, we all simply ignored it. Our hope was that if we didn't talk about it, it wouldn't be real. If we ignore the evidence all around us then it will simply go away on its own.
What kind of people would we be if we didn't name the cause of the scourge that is running loose across the globe? How would history remember us if we did nothing to identify the cause of the sickness and work tirelessly to preserve the human race and rid the planet of the disease?
However, isn't that what we do when we ignore the fact that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm." (Ephesians 6:12)? How will we be judged by history and eternity if we don't identify the cause of the scourge that is wreaking havoc throughout our world and do all we can to eliminate it's very presence?
In speaking with the sorcerer Elymas in Acts 13 Paul saw the problem staring right back at him. He knew that the sorcerer was a child of the devil and was acting according to his evil nature and could have done one of two things; he could have ignored the situation or he could name it for what it was and we see that Paul chose the later. "You are a child of the devil" is not a phrase we typically start a conversation with but I wonder if we have gone beyond not verbalizing the sentiment to not even believing its true? Have we strayed so far from the hellfire and brimstone of days gone by that not only do we not preach it but we don't even believe it? By our actions do we relay the message that we don't believe that the devil is "like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour"? Do we give the impression that we don't believe he is the prince of lies or the ruler of this world and ignore him at our own peril and at the cost of many souls who never hear the truth?
As bad as Covid 19 has ravaged our world when compared to the destruction caused by sin and the work of the devil, it is a walk in the park.
In these days we are proclaiming the message of 'wash your hands, stay at home, cough in your elbow and stay safe'. Posters adorn our lobbies, we proclaim the message on our intercoms and freely communicate eradication strategy with our fellow workers. We outfit ourselves with masks, hand sanitizer and safety glasses in an effort to beat back the unseen horde but I wonder what the world would be like if we were as diligent in beating back the unseen hordes of evil? What if the gospel message was what adorned our lobbies and its message proclaimed over our intercoms? What if our PPE was the helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit and the breastplate of righteousness? I wonder how the world would be different?
Just a thought for today.....
Major Mike Hoeft
Area Commander Prairie West/ Emergency and Disaster Services Director