I’ve been asked if the current corona virus pandemic is God’s judgement on the world for our rebellion against Him. Well, the answer to that loaded question is “yes” and “maybe, maybe not”.
“Yes” in the sense that all sickness, disease, famine, natural disasters, pestilences, and death are the result of sin. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, disobeying God’s clear command not to, sin entered God’s perfectly created universe and all of creation was cursed. There would now be calamities like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, The climate would be severe at times and the ground would now produce weeds that could be controlled only by hard labor. Disease entered creation and human beings would now get sick and die. So, all of these negative consequences of the fall are, in a sense, God’s judgment on sin.
The “maybe, maybe not” answer to the above question is that the current pandemic could be a judgement on our present society for our rebellion against Him, however, it could also not be God’s judgement. There have been numerous pandemics over the course of history so the question could be asked, then, “have all of the pandemic in history been God’s judgement”? We are not prophets so none of us has a direct pipeline into God’s dealings with mankind. So, then, the corona virus could be God’s judgement, but, on the other hand, it very well could not be. However, we know that God is sovereign over His universe, is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. This pandemic didn’t take Him by surprise, and He is not at a loss on what to do about it. He can let it go on indefinitely, or He can stop it in the next minute. Regardless of what He chooses to do, He has allowed this to happen, and God always has a holy purpose for everything He does or allows. He is not fickle or capricious, but rules His universe with purpose and intent in the context of His holiness. When He allows something like a pandemic or natural disaster to occur, we must take a step back and ask ourselves “what is God trying to tell us in this, what can we learn?”
So, then, what might God be trying to tell us in this current corona virus pandemic? Is God, perhaps, tearing down the idols we have built for ourselves? Is He trying to break us of the things that we have put ahead of Him? Let’s take a look.
Sports have become a major focus in our culture, but now we have had to live without the constant barrage of sports on television 24-7. There was no March Madness, no NBA or NHL games, no XFL football, no Major League baseball, and no golf. We have found that we can survive without these obsessions.
We can no longer go to a restaurant and sit in the dining room to have a meal. We either get take out or cook at home. Likewise, we can no longer go to a movie theater, concert, or amusement park. Our entertainment choices have been severely limited.
We can no longer go to the supermarket and buy whatever we want, as we cannot be certain that those items will be in stock. We have taken for granted the blessing of having a gazillion choices and fully stocked shelves in which to choose from. (On a side note, will any of us ever look at toilet paper in the same way after this is over?)
The idol of busyness has also been torn down. Instead of running around from early morning to late at night taking our kids to myriads of athletic and extra curricular activities, they now must stay home, and we are finding out that life does go on without these endless sources of stress.
The idol of our retirement investment portfolios has been obliterated. So many of us were basking in the booming economy and skyrocketing stock market, and we took our eyes off of the One who alone is the source of all of our needs. We put our trust in Dow Jones instead of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and, in a sense, lost our reliance on God.
And finally, for many people, the jobs that we thought were our right to have and took for granted suddenly vanished. The source of income for many people has now been dried up, and we now long for the jobs that we took for granted and so often complained about.
You see, my friends, tragedies like pandemics and natural disasters, perhaps unlike anything else, humble us and help us hit the reset button so that we get our eyes back on where they belong – on Jesus. We realize that we are not captains of our own ship and masters of our fate. We are not in control of the events of life, and the earthly things we trust in are transient at best. The idols we have built, often inadvertently, are straw houses that can be blown over in an instant.
So, my friends, during this tragic pandemic we all find ourselves in, lets ask God to show us the idols we have built for ourselves, and then refocus on the one who is the only one worthy to be worshiped and trusted in. Let’s acknowledge that God, and God alone, is Sovereign, and let us respond by surrendering totally to Him. This is the only thing that will give us peace and hope in these dark days. And remember to be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus in your community, helping those in need, and offering the words of hope that is only found in Him alone.