Coronavirus: How should the true Christian respond?
One of the constants on which you can depend whenever a “wide-spread tragedy” occurs is the syrupy and sentimental drivel from so-called Bible teachers (which appears as if on cue). They skirt the real issue in favor of the “let’s-put-the-best-possible-spin-on-this-terrible-situation-in-hope-that-people-won’t-think-poorly-of-the-God-we-claim-to-believe-in” stance. “After all”, their misguided and careless reasoning goes, “God didn’t really bring this tragedy: He is love. We may not understand why God allows such things; we merely have to accept that He knows best. What is really happening is actually good if we look at it correctly. Humanity will survive, it always has. God always 'has our back'!”
[A current example of this humanistic nonsense may be found here:
Jim Daly: Where is God during the coronavirus pandemic?]
The tenor of these useless treatises sounds remarkably similar to an ancient example in the Scripture (namely, that man is in control of his own destiny, and calamity is just “one of those things that happens from time to time”.):
The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi. “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever.”
The context here is the repeated (and ultimate!) judgment of Edom for their unrelenting sin against the LORD and against Israel. The LORD had many times in OT history judged Edom for their rebellion, their endemic hatred for Him and for national Israel. But what was their response?
“We will get up and survive. We will rebuild.”
Did they ever, as a people and culture, repent? No! They, as a people, remain under the LORD’s wrath and will ultimately be destroyed (“the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever”).
But, how are true Christians to respond—biblically—to the global pandemic of coronavirus?
Here are a few items which come immediately to mind:
1. With a humble and reverent humility, recognizing that the LORD is sovereign in all things!
I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.
[He doesn't "allow" these calamities to happen, He causes them to happen to accomplish His own purposes.]
2. With the full confidence that the LORD does only good for His true people (not for the world in general).
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
[It is vital to note that this incredible promise does not apply to the lost, only to true believers! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Rom 8.28 misapplied by those who should know better.]
As the Bible says,
God is a righteous judge,
And a God who has indignation every day.
3. With a renewed vigor to ask the LORD to grant true repentance to the people of the earth for their global sin. Ancient Israel was the most obstinate and rebellious people the planet has ever seen, but the LORD’s promise to them was clear:
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.
True repentance brings true mercy, because the LORD is gracious. This was true for the Israel of the OT and will be true today if —and only if—the earth repents of its sin.
In the fall of 2018 I posted an article on this site:
The LORD: the Author of Calamity
This article is presented in 7 chapters:
- The LORD is sovereign.
- The LORD is patient and merciful.
- The LORD uses calamity to punish sin and enforce righteousness.
- The LORD brings calamity to nations and peoples.
- The LORD brings calamity to a single person.
- The exceptional case of Job’s calamity.
- A Call to Repentance.
I believe that if you carefully and prayerfully read this article, and in obedience believe and obey the Scriptures I present in it, that you’ll be greatly encouraged in the grace of the Almighty to forgive the truly repentant and heal the world.
2 Chr 7.13-14
If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.