Counter-Measures - by Greg Steggerda

Even though it feels like life has been turned upside down, it’s hard to believe that this world will ever end. After all, it’s been around forever, at least relative to my existence, and even though COVID 19 is a huge threat none of us think our controls will have to persist beyond a couple of months. Intellectually I get that there is an end coming, but honestly I expect this old earth to still be here when I die. I don’t think about what happens if it doesn’t.
I should, because being diverted by today may be exactly what the Devil is counting on. I know Jesus warns against it. Look at this, from Luke 21:34: 
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.”
As that last day approaches, inexorably and at God’s pace, life, or maybe Satan, comes at us with the things that look fun and the things that look scary. “Hey, look at this! This is what you should be focused on.” All of our pastimes and the things we do to medicate our hurts and the things that keep us awake at night act as misdirection, like a magician’s sleight of hand. All the while, we’re diverted from preparing for our eternal destiny, all that’s left for us when death or the end of the world comes to us. And Jesus, comparing it to a trap snapping shut, seems to think it will take us by surprise.
Be careful, he says. Be aware that this is our tendency. Be aware of the risk.
In the Army we talked a lot about countermeasures. Active countermeasures were the steps we took to push back against the bad thing. Passive countermeasures were the safeguards we put in place to keep it from surprising us. Between them, these two kinds of countermeasures were how we protected against risk, and we see our government using the same approach right now. The past months we saw predominantly passive countermeasures, and now the steps become direct and active.
Maybe that’s a helpful way to look at this threat of distraction; maybe our national crisis response is a model for the sin pandemic too. Maybe we could use our devotions and prayers and other things like Christian music to keep us spiritually alert - those would be good passive countermeasures. And maybe daily disciplines like petitions and praise - taking all of our pains and celebrations to the foot of the cross - could become active countermeasures that resist our tendency to live these moments apart from God.
The point isn’t to live our days fearfully, with that under-a-deadline stress. Rather, we live each day as we ought even if the end never came, focused on Jesus and his work in our lives. That way we’re always ready. Then any day can be Homecoming.