Everyone is sick of the coronavirus. We’re tired of quarantining, annoyed with social distancing and bothered by masks. Many of us have missed family gatherings, vacations and are unable to attend church.
Listen, pandemics stink. Everyone knows this. They are deadly and disruptive. No one would vote for a pandemic. No one wants this to linger on. So we wait. Not so patiently, and sometimes agitated, still we wait. In so doing, what should our response be in this time before a herd immunity takes effect or a vaccine is introduced or Jesus returns (whichever comes first)?
I don’t know much about pandemics. I am not an immunologist. I’m a local theologian. As such I can write, with confidence: God Almighty did not send this awful mess. Not to teach us a lesson. Not to punish us for sinful behavior. Not to get us to look to Him. The Author of Life does not send instruments of death. The Enemy brings death. The Enemy lies about God Almighty’s involvement in evil, deadly schemes. The Enemy’s tactics are not that complicated — muddy the waters and get people to think a loving God would indiscriminately kill men, women and children via a virus. The Enemy invented Fake News, especially as it relates to God Almighty.
God didn’t send it, but God will use it. Redeeming horrible conditions are His specialty! This is not the first difficult situation people have faced when God intervened. For example:
Once there was a young man who had questionable taste in clothing and even worse luck in brothers (You can pick your nose, but not your family). Those rotten siblings tossed him in a pit; told his dad the kid was dead; and sold him into slavery. He runs into more trouble with the boss’s wife, lands in jail and it looks like the end of the story will be a bad one. But it’s not the end of his story. In a quick turn of events, the man not only gets out of the slammer but ends up as the world’s leading authority during a global famine. Dr. Fauci has nothing on this cat. The best line in the whole story is when those lousy brothers come to him begging for grain, and he testified: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20). Long story short: Joseph forgave his brothers, gave them grain and eventually the famine came to an end.
God Almighty is not a one-hit wonder. There are plenty of other examples throughout history of His undefeated performances in impossible situations. Here’s a look at the scoreboard in just a few instances of God’s involvement:
Kid with a Sling shot 1
Young Hebrew men 3
Fiery furnace 0
Huge crowd 5,000
Empty bellies 0
And best of all (duh!)
Given God’s remarkable history of tackling impossible, horrible situations and turning them into His glory– why would we ever think that God Almighty couldn’t do it again? Let’s not moan and groan about our minor inconveniences, while so many are struggling. Let’s pray for wisdom and ask for some holy creativity. Maybe we should view our current circumstance as an opportunity to tell nervous people about the Prince of Peace. Maybe this can be the time to love our neighbors like never before. Instead of boo-hooing about what we can’t do in a pandemic, what if the Church of Jesus Christ looked our coronavirus enemy in the eye and said, “You intended to harm us, but God intended to use this situation for His glory, the saving of many lives.”
We all agree pandemics stink but never forget, God wins! He is and forever will be the Undefeated, Undisputed Champion!
I agree with most of what you say in your blog and appreciate the sentiment/encouragement, but disagree on one point. God sent instruments of death many times in the Old Testament…he sent plagues on Egypt (including death of firstborns sons) via Moses as just one example. I believe any and all death is the result of the fall of man, but the Bible has multiple examples of God using instruments of death. Thoughts?
Many people share your view. I believe God can do anything God wants. I am not questioning what God has done in the past, but I am viewing God’s behavior in this day by what is shown in Jesus. It was Jesus who said we are to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” In Jesus life and ministry, He was always about healing. The only curse is to a fig tree and that was more of an illustration than anything else. Jesus preached a message of hope and help— while also preaching that God’s judgment was coming to all. It doesn’t t appear that this judgement was happening in the here and now. When Jesus was asked about a tower collapsing in Luke 13, he didn’t state that it was judgment of God on the victims (which would have been the common belief) but that they were no more guilty than many others and a judgement day was coming. I wrote a book on the issues of God and Pain (which in some ways is about God and the presence of evil in our world). In the book I state that how God works is above my pay grade. I’m in sales, not management. As such, I put my understanding of God through the filter of the complete expression and best of God that we have, Jesus. None of Jesus’ behavior or words would indicate that God would today send a catastrophic plague upon men, women and children.