This is a profound challenge from our former pastor, Paul Cochrane!
Dear Woodland Hills Family,
Twenty years have now passed since those 2,977 lives were mercilessly snuffed out by heinous perpetrators of terrorism. Do you remember the spiritual shock waves that reverberated across our nation in the weeks and months after 9/11? People were suddenly conscious of God. And their mortality. And how they were living. At least for a season, people prayed, supported charities, attended church, and reoriented their lives. It stopped short of a national revival, but we at least had some movement in that direction.
Fast-forward to 2020 and 2021. As of this writing, the Pandemic has now claimed 656,000 Americans’ lives.1 Twenty-two thousand percent more lives have been lost to COVID-19 than to the terrorism of 9/11. And yet, where is the spiritual sensitivity, the circumspection, the God-consciousness? The 656,000 lives lost is comparable to how many we lost in the Civil War.2 It surpasses World War II casualties by 250,000.3 You would think Americans would be falling to their knees in repentance en masse. But the spiritual silence is deafening.
Instead, the majority of the conversation is about “following the science,” wearing masks, and developing vaccines. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t do those things. But how is it most Americans’ response to this scourge is largely devoid of a spiritual component?
Is it because the 656,000 died over a span of 19 months rather than all in one day? Was losing them more gradually somehow less traumatic? Like the frog that won’t jump out of a pot that is only gradually cooking him, have we become spiritually desensitized to what should shock us to repentance?
Or is it because we have a certain self-assured confidence that we can handle this ourselves? By our medical science? By our collective effort? By our best practices?
And now we have the Delta Variant, and here comes the Mu Variant. To say nothing of hurricanes, floods, drought, and fire. What will it take for our nation to come to their spiritual senses and bow the knee?
O Lord, stir our hearts to repent, that the plague may be restrained from the people. Move us to fall on our faces and confess our sin, that You may command the destroying angel to sheath his sword.4
1 NY Times (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html)
2 Total Civil War casualties, North & South: 655,000+
3 World War II American casualties: 405,399
4 I Chronicles 21:14-28; 2 Samuel 24:15-25