22 March 2020

What can we learn from the coronavirus pandemic?

We are living in difficult times. This is also a golden opportunity to take a serious look at our lives and our relationship with God. I ask you please to consider these three aspects: our vulnerability, our priorities, and our mortality.

Our Vulnerability

The pandemic exposes our weakness. In normal circumstances, we feel strong and in full control of our lives, and we look ahead to the future with confidence. Then came this microscopic virus that so easily popped our pride. Suddenly we feel anxious and vulnerable and uncertain about what’s coming. For indeed, we are small and weak, and we realize that there are forces out there that we can’t handle.

But God can. He is in full control of all things. He reigns over his creation. Nothing happens in the universe outside of his plan and providence. Including coronavirus. God wounds and he heals; God gives life and he kills (see Deuteronomy 32:39). We are weak but he is strong. Let us then turn to him. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1Peter 5:6-7).

Our Priorities

This crisis forces us to reassess our priorities. What we considered of utmost value yesterday, somehow seems less important today. For our survival, we closed schools, shops, restaurants, and even our churches. Health is more important than our entertainment, certainly, but it is not the ultimate priority. For, after all, even our health will eventually fail. The highest value of all is love ... the experience of God’s love is life itself. That is what really matters.

In a time of trouble, many people turn to God in prayer, asking him for protection and healing. But sadly that is all they ask for. They think of God as if he was a postman – they expect to receive a parcel from him, but they don’t really care about him. Ask yourself, friend, do you want God’s gifts only, or do you want God himself? Does your heart hunger for his love? Can you honestly repeat the words of the Psalmist and say, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25)?

Our Mortality

We know, of course, that death is inevitable, but we normally live as if we are going to stay here forever. Now we have come face to face with death, and we were startled. We see life for what it really is ... a terminal condition. Sooner or later we must go, leaving behind us our possessions and our loved ones, to appear before God for judgement. Heaven or hell awaits us.

Only one can free us from the fear of death, Jesus, the Son of God. He came to earth for this very purpose. He came to die on the cross to take away the sin of the world. Yes, it’s true, he died and was buried. But he was not defeated. On the third day, he arose victoriously from the grave. Jesus is alive, and he offers us this wonderful promise: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11 25).

Dear friend, do you entrust your salvation to his nail-pierced, loving and all-powerful hands? If you do, then you can enjoy unspeakable peace even in this time of trouble, for the worst thing that can ever happen to you, death, is the very best thing also – for then you will meet with your Saviour. For me to live is Christ, to die is gain!