The pandemic revealed some rather scary things about government, like its “draconian measures,” but only in response to people who were scared out of their wits and depended on their politicians to keep them safe and alive.
And isn’t that what government is for? It exists to serve the public need. And credit to those governments that did their very best to do that. But we’ve also learnt that handing over one’s life decisions to government officials can be risky, because government then feels justified in “taking control” and forcing its measures on people, and heavily penalizing those who don’t comply.
What we experienced during the pandemic, therefore, was a switch from government serving us to us serving government. And for some in government that was a huge rush. They discovered they had power. They could close down entire cities, invoke mandates and even emergency measures that gave them the power of a police state. And they could send in the goons to force compliance too. Scary stuff. Fear of the virus was rapidly being replaced by fear of government “overreach.”
Things got worse too, as anyone who questioned the government narrative was censored, ostracized, and even hated by family members and whole communities. But worse still, was the discovery that many of our noble leaders weren’t themselves obeying the rules and mandates they were forcing on us. But even when caught out, there was no apology or remorse, just blatant hypocrisy, arrogance, and no change in behaviour.
Which is tragic, because God gave us human government, and when it’s done well it has a huge positive effect on a nation’s stability, peace, prosperity, justice, and joy. “When the rulers are good, the people are happy,” Proverbs 29:2. And in verse 4, “A nation will be strong when it has a fair and just king.” That’s what God designed government for, as a wonderful servant of, and service to, the people – “For he is God’s servant to do you good,” Romans 13:4.
And one day God’s going to institute such a government, where the increase of peace will never end, and those in charge “rule with fairness and justice,” Isaiah 9:7. So that no longer will there be a question of who serves who – whether it’s government serving us, or us serving government – because both will be a joy.