What Do You Really Want?

  • Steve Hatter
sun shining in the forest

I heard a commentator today describe America in the throes of Coronavirus this way: “ It’s 330 million people, all operating in at least one of the stages of the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief Model—whether denial, anger, bargaining, depression, or acceptance—all at once. This man’s description is astute and provides an interesting, if not an accurate description of our extraordinary ongoing circumstances.

We’ve been washed over by a change Tsunami, and we certainly see angry Americans. There are many still in denial, alongside countless discouraged people, and we have endless bargaining going on as people succumb to “every man for himself” temptations. Some hoard, others speculate, still others take advantage through dubious business transactions. Moreover, I doubt many people are ready to accept anything as permanently changed, except, of course, those who sadly, have lost a loved one. Our unreadiness to accept is perhaps because Coronavirus came upon the globe so suddenly. Most people are hoping, if not trusting, that in the coming weeks, we’ll somehow see a return to how it was. We’ll all wake up from the nightmare, a bit worse for its pressure and stress, but “normalcy” will return.

Whether we see a return to “normalcy” again or not, I’m wondering whether, as a Christian, I should even want that. What was our “normalcy” two months ago anyway? Corporately, are we proud of our marriages of two months ago? How about the state of our family, church, city, state, and nation? Individually, I must ask myself, “What was my heart condition two months ago?” Was I ready to meet Christ face-to-face because God’s gracious sanctification commitment to me at my salvation had moved me to real, heart-level Christlikeness? Would I fit in in Heaven with a pure, ready heart to worship God alone for eternity?

Good questions. Hard questions. Faith-testing questions. Romans 8:28 promises we can know “that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes.” And James 1:2–4 exhorts believers to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

As I read and meditate on these verses—words from the very heart of God Himself to believers for such times as these—I’m compelled to examine whether there are things God wants me to let go of that I’ve made more important in my heart than He.

What do I really want? Do I want God almighty just as He is? Do I want the beauty of the Trinity, the magnificence of the Gospel, the perfect truth, more than anything? And I mean, anything?

Coronavirus is helping me see deeper into my own heart, and there is sanctifying work yet to be done. Hmmmmm, perhaps that is what Paul and James, in their inspiration from God Himself, wanted me to see today…..precious truth penned thousands of years ago. These faithful men wrote from God’s heart for you and for me. 1 John 4:8 makes this astonishing claim: “whoever does not love does not know God because………God IS love.” (my emphasis added).

What is love? Check out First Corinthians 13:4–7:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

If God IS love, you can place “God” into this verse wherever you see “love.” I don’t know about you, but such a description of God awakens me to better love Him back.

This Coronavirus, too, shall pass, precious church family. But what will our hearts look like on the other side of it? What do you really want?

Steve Hatter