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Pandemic Ponderings

SIf you are like me, you are finding that is not very easy to take your mind off the tons of information that is so easy to access regarding this current COVID- 19 outbreak. We are desperate for the latest insights and statistics. We long to hear the good news that we can finally return to some measure of normalcy, while also wondering what normalcy will even look like. This pandemic seems to be a game-changer, doesn’t it? I am convinced that there are certain practices to which we will never return. Transportation? It will change. Large entertainment gatherings? They will change. Even if a cure is found, I believe that memories of this season will remain in people who will develop more cautious ways of relating to strangers and to crowds.

Reflecting on this COVID-19 virus, I have been pondering a few of the spiritual lessons and insights that have surfaced through many conversations regarding this virus. There are basic, biblical truths that we need to remember and that we need to point out to others who may not realize that our God has clearly put pictures of the gospel right before our eyes.

Here are 4 biblical things that I have noticed as I ponder things during this season:

1. I have noticed the Global Nature of the COVID-19 Virus.

Yes it started in China. But it has impacted all the nations of this world. It is easy for us to think only of our national crisis. Certainly we have better and more frequent testing. So the statistics are showing that we have higher numbers than other nations. But if we listen carefully we will realize that this thing has impacted the entire world. It is just like the Adamic curse (Romans 5:12-14). Nobody has been untouched by this virus.

Romans 3:1-23 reminds us that whether we are a Jew (biblically informed), or Greek (biblically uninformed) makes no difference because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The global scope and the desperate nature of our spiritual condition is clearly what the Apostle Paul is teaching in Romans 1-3. Just like the COVID-19 virus, all people, no matter what gender, age groups, ethnicity, religion, demographic category, are infected with the deadly disease of sin. And so Eph. 2:3 says we are all “dead in sin” and “children of wrath like the rest of mankind.”

2. I have noticed the example of the Courageous First Heroic Responders of the COVID-19 virus.

The heroic doctors, nurses, store clerks, delivery drivers…so many people are putting their lives on the line for the greater good of humanity. We don’t want to overlook these heroes. We also want to remember the calling that God has given to each of us to be first responders in the cosmic battle against sin. We have received the good news of salvation and we have a message of hope for a troubled world. In 1 Peter 3:15 we are reminded to “always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have.” The virus of sin has caused people to rightly fear their eternal destinies. Many cling to false hopes. Jesus said that “unless we repent we will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3-4). We who have the only true hope need to share Jesus with others “as one beggar who has found bread giving a slice to another beggar.”

3. I have noticed the tragic, powerful influence of the Asymptomatic Carriers of the COVID-19 virus.

Asymptomatic people are those “who carry the active virus in their body but never develop any symptoms.” Have you ever noticed that much of sin is relational? In Leviticus 4 and 5 we see sacrifices and offerings for both intentional and unintentional sins. The sad truth is that sometimes we unintentionally hurt others while at other times it is quite intentional. The asymptomatic nature of this virus is frightening. The tragedy is that unintentional, asymptomatic carriers are still carriers. However Jesus says that there are some people who intentionally “cause others to sin.”  In Matt. 18:5 Jesus warns of those who “cause one of these little ones who believes in me to sin.” We do not want to ignore the biblical idea that there are some people that are victims of the sins of others.  Obviously, and sadly, the carriers of the COVID-19 virus are spreading it to others unintentionally. But it doesn’t matter. It is potentially just as deadly to those who are infected.

4. I have noticed the frantic search for an effective vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.

This is a good search. Hopefully the greatest scientific minds of our world will soon find a vaccine that will address this deadly problem. The good news of the scriptures is that God has an effective vaccine for the deadly disease of sin! It is free and available for all who will come. Jesus says “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:29). John reminds us that Jesus is the Savior “not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). If, and when a vaccine is created, it will hopefully be universally available. But it will only be effective in the bodies of those who use it. Likewise Christ is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world” (John 1:29). But His blood is only effective for those who humble themselves and come to Him by faith.  Thank God for his grace in quickening many to believe in His saving message!

Saints, we have a gospel that never grows old! We who have the cure need to be thankful that we have it. And we need to pass it on to others! It should be our prayer for one another that we take this message to others in creative, bold, and timely ways. The COVID-19 virus is a reminder to everyone that life on this earth for all of us is temporary. But life in Jesus, the eternal life which is available for all who know Him (John 17:3), is a life that never ends!

Pastor Stan