Seven things we can learn from the Corona Virus pandemic

Posted: March 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

1. God is both sovereign and good

If we believe that God is sovereign, we must also believe that the Corona Virus is from His hand. When assuring us of the Father’s loving care for us, Jesus told us that He cares about such ‘trivial’ things as sparrows (Matthew 10:29), grass and flowers (Matthew 6:28), and the hairs of our head (Matthew 10:30). Nothing in creation is outside of His loving will. This means nothing happens by accident, and everything has a purpose. “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” (Isaiah 54:7). God is in control of the Corona Virus, and it has come in keeping with His good will. If that idea bothers you, consider this: If I do not believe He has power over this virus (to both create it and destroy it), how can I be assured that He has the power to accomplish His work of salvation in me?

2. This world is not the way it should be

The whole creation has been subjected to frustration (Romans 8:20) by God, who ‘cursed the ground’ in response to Adam’s sin (Genesis 3:17). What this means is that all of creation bears the marks of judgement, and while still being essentially ‘good’ in God’s eyes, is now characterised by decay, death and disfunction. God has done this so that we would be surrounded by the signs that humanity has failed in our mandate to rule over creation, that we have turned away from Him and worshipped the creature rather than Him as Creator, but also that we should be looking forward to the new heavens and earth. The frustration of creation, including this virus, is designed to give us hope for the day when we hear God say, ‘Look, I am making all things new!’ (Revelation 21:5)

3. God is patient and gracious

Humanity has faced far worse calamities than the Corona Virus. The Influenza pandemic of 1918 killed 20-50 million people, and the Black Death of the mid 1300’s killed between 75 and 200 million Europeans. While God takes no pleasure in anyone’s death  (Ezekiel 33:11), we can be thankful that the Corona Virus has brought about relatively few deaths, and for most people who contract it the symptoms are mild. This is an indication of God’s patience with this present generation, in that He does not give us what our sins deserve. Instead, He gives us some small insight into what things could be like if He were to allow the curse to run its full course. Why does he do this? So that we will wake up, repent and turn to Him to receive the grace and mercy He is constantly holding out to us.

4. God is good even to His enemies

‘We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.’ (1 Timothy 4:10). God has a special care for those who are his people – saving and preserving us for eternal life; but this does not mean He doesn’t provide for, protect and care for those outside the community of His people – even those who are His sworn enemies! We can see the goodness of God at work through our secular governments and health authorities, using both Christians and non-Christians alike to do good to us all. We should be thankful for all people – regardless of their personal beliefs or religious convictions, who have a genuine care for the safety and wellbeing of our community – and we should recognise that this is the kindness of God to all people, intended to lead them to repentance (Romans 2:4).

5. Human systems are fragile

As sinful human beings we can very quickly and easily become prideful in what we have built and achieved, thinking that, like the city and tower of Babel, we can make a name for ourselves apart from God (Genesis 11:4). We forget that over the course of human history empires and civilisations have risen and fallen, all under His sovereign hand (Acts 17:26). We make our plans, but ultimately it is the Lord’s purposes that will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). Travel restrictions, closing of schools and universities, shortages of essential goods and services, and many more precautions we have been forced to take highlight for us that apart from God, all human attempts to run this world will be inadequate and flawed, and should cause us to look forward to the Day when “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)

6. We are mortal

While most of us are not living in fear that the Corona Virus will result in our death, we are all certainly aware of those who have died, and it is likely in the coming weeks and months that very few of us will not have some connection with someone who has died or come close to death, directly or indirectly, as a result of this pandemic. Living in an affluent society with a high life expectancy has caused us to forget that the length of time we live is determined by God (Job 14:5, Psalm 139:16), and that while we think we can be in control of when we die, that moment is up to Him. Any experience where we know of or witness death should be a solemn reminder to us that we, ‘do not even know what will happen tomorrow,’ and we are, ‘a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ (James 4:14); and it should convey to us a sense of urgency to be sure that we stand in right relationship with our Creator, ready for the day when our time in this world comes to an end.

7. We need the Gospel

The Gospel of Jesus shows us beyond doubt that God is both sovereign and good in the midst of suffering. The Eternal Son has taken on our humanity, walked alongside us, suffered with us and for us, and borne in himself the full weight of the curse as he hung in our place on Calvary’s cross. This same God whose judgements are in all the earth (Psalm 105:7) – including in viral pandemics – has entered into the place of judgement on behalf of sinners, bearing not only all the guilt of our sin, but also, “taking up our infirmities and bearing our diseases.”. (Matthew 8:17) The Gospel message declares to us that through faith in this Jesus we can know in this life the complete forgiveness of sin and welcome into the Father’s family, and in the life to come the resurrection of our bodies and an eternity not only free of death and mourning and crying and pain (Revelation 21:4), but also one in which we see God face to face. The glory of that will far outweigh our light and momentary troubles (2 Corinthians 4:17). The Corona virus pandemic is not only an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate self sacrificial love toward our neighbours; it is also an open door to share and proclaim the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

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