What does a pandemic reveal about the human heart? Fear. Frustration. Courage. Certainly, all of these and more. But have you ever thought that suffering can actually reveal pride in the human heart?
Bill White was riding in the passenger seat of a dilapidated van. The driver was someone he knew. The man had been arrested several times. He was unemployed. His family was in shambles. His daughter was terrified of him, and his wife was leaving him.
Bill took the opportunity to share the gospel of Christ with his driver. The man’s response was startling. He looked Bill in the eye and said, “You know, my biggest problem is pride. I can’t humble myself. And do you know why?” He leaned onto the steering wheel, paused, and said, “Because my pride has brought me so far.”
Bill could hardly believe his ears. This man’s pride had brought him nothing but trouble, but he was convinced his pride had served him well!
One thing I’ve been praying as our nation and world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic is that God will confront the pride so rampant in society and in our own hearts.
Bill’s driver is a perfect illustration of the human race. People are proud, defiant, and obstinate—even in the face of terrible suffering, fractured relationships, and financial distress. Despite what comes, most people are still convinced their pride has brought them “so far.”
God’s Word tells us that obstinacy and pride will always be problems for human beings. Even through the future tribulation, people will cling to their pride, ensuring their downfall. Though their world is crashing down around them, they will hold to their stubborn rebellion against almighty God.
During the tribulation, 144,000 evangelists will deliver the gospel worldwide, and there will be a great harvest of souls. The world will be reeling from plagues of pestilence, earthquakes, asteroid impacts, darkness, and famine. Still, in spite of all that madness, and in spite of the presence of those evangelists, millions the world over will say, “We will not humble ourselves before God. We’re clinging to our pride; it has brought us so far. We refuse to repent!” (see Revelation 16:9-11).
Friends, the people of that coming day are no more foolish in their pride than people of our own day—the man who works in the office next to you, the woman who lives next to you, or the student who sits next to you—people whose lives are in shambles, whose relationships are self-serving, whose bank accounts are never full enough, and whose world is never quite secure enough.
In spite of a pandemic, they will refuse to repent. And should a vaccine be developed, they will merely boast of their own ingenuity and indestructability and continue living for themselves. Unless the gospel of Christ reaches their hearts.
That’s my prayer—and our mission at Wisdom for the Heart—as we take God’s Word around the world.