In the past several weeks, we have seen a pandemic grow in the universe called Coronavirus. From China to Italy, USA, Germany, Singapore, Spain and 53 other countries, deaths are being recorded, and panic has exploded its optimum thermometer degree. Many families have lost their loved their ones during these past weeks. Eternity seems to be beckoning without holding back. Many people remain under quarantine and many more hospitalized.
COVID-19 in Kenya
Here in our country, we have already started experiencing the realities of a nationwide scare. Just recently (15th March 2020), the government announced the closure of all schools and called for reduced travelling and office attendance. In Church, sanitizers became the new ushering front as members and clergy sought in ways to help their congregants relax. Why on earth is this happening? What is happening, and where is our God? For others, it is another pandemic sweeping through the globe, and they are praying that maybe karma will by-pass them. For some, it’s a wave of confusion, desperation and profound anxiety. Masks and sanitizers and the banning of public meetings are the order of the day. Is there an explanation? Yes. But more than that, there is a warning that seats at the bottom of this situation. After the end of the physical measures, what next? I will try to give us the perspective from scripture.
A BIBLICAL VIEW OF COVID-19
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden (Genesis 3), several things went off track. First of all, there was a separation from God for the human race. God had warned that eating of the forbidden fruit would bring death, but they ignored it. It may not make sense, especially when you are directly affected, but the beginning of all our suffering is in the garden. When the first man sinned against God, every connection we had with God ended. We became vulnerable to things like anger, depression, anxiety, sickness and even death. From that time onwards, Paul reminds us in Romans 8:20-23 that creation got subjected to futility in hope, and that both creation and humanity seek for a day when they will be set free from the corruption caused by sin.
Before the fall, there was nothing like sickness because the human body was perfect and not corrupted. After the introduction of sin, we fell from glory and became captives to the rottenness of the consequences of sin. Both believers and unbelievers experience this consequence. What is the difference in response for us who are believers to such sicknesses as Covid-19? Well, Paul tells us that there is coming a time when we shall be set free from these things when Christ takes us home (Romans 8:23-25).
Creation was subjected in hope and not in hopelessness. The death and resurrection of Christ achieved this for our eternal deliverance. One day, once the trumpet sounds, our bodies shall be made new! In 1Corinthians 15:52-53, Paul tells us for sure that it is only proper to look at these diseases that hit our bodies in light of the promise of immortality. Of course, we have some believers of Jesus taken under this wake of COVID-19, but that is not to mean that their faith was weak or our God let them down. We, like all other humans, will experience the desperate and painful sting of disease and death as Romans 8:20-23 tells us. However, to look at sickness biblically means that we only look at it in the light of the healing that Jesus promises both now and later. Sometimes, death is better healing than physical healing if the patient has a perfect understanding of what comes next after death. Therefore we do not lose hope (2 Corinthians 4:16). All this is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).
A POSSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR COVID-19 RAVAGING NATURE
Secondly, many people have questions about the meaning of such a disaster. Why would God allow such a menace to weigh heavily on unsuspecting and mortal men? Well, the answer is not necessarily something that feels good, but here is the truth. Scripturally, God allowed disease as a sign of judgment and as a consequence of original sin. Just as he is the healer of diseases, he is also in control of everything that happens in the world. Everything that happens in this world has happened under Christ’s authority (Colossians 1:15-17). For instance, some years ago, we had the Ebola virus taking many at its wake. HIV/AIDS has been spreading and killing many in its wake. In East Africa, we had Polio take many young children. Is our God dead and unresponsive? No, he is not. He is in the heavens, doing whatever he pleases (Psalm 135:6).
There has been a rise in killings of saints/ martyrs in many countries around the globe. The Middle East, China, and Europe have become overtly suppressive towards the children of God and the gospel message. Africa is joining in this murderous roll, with many countries nowadays putting unthinkable sanctions against churches and believers. The rise of sin and those who invent newer ideas of sinning is mind-boggling. Homosexuality and Lesbianism have become rampant. On our website, we have been called names and abused because of raising a red flag against such sinfulness. When we think of the rate of sexual sin in our homes and the injustice done against the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized, we must remember that God lives. Could it be that God has dealt out judgment against the land? Could Covid-19 and even locust be God’s judgment against Kenya? We are not sure, but it could be. Not all death and disease is a sign of sin, as we see in Jesus’ ministry. Tsunamis, cancer, drought, and other disasters are not always a sign of judgment, but they are a reminder to us that judgment is coming, and we need to repent (Luke 13:1-5).
We cannot ignore the reality of sin and judgment; hence a call to repentance to the nations sometimes comes through a thunderclap like Covid-19. Think about it; whether or not Covid-19 is on account of sin, it still leaves us at a point of need. What is the only way of having assurance when death seems to be coming fast in this thing called COVID-19? Salvation! When God allows a pandemic to ravage the earth, the only sober thing to do is to turn our eyes upon Jesus! We are better off born again and washed off our sin rather than be stricken sick, die then eternally burn in hell. Will it get to us? I don’t know. I hope not. However, as the hymnal rightfully says, “Whatever my soul, thou has taught me to say; it is well, it is well with my soul.” Is it well with your soul? Do you have salvation? Covid-19 is a reminder that you need it.
A STRONG ANCHOR FOR THE SOUL AMIDST COVID-19’s WAKE
Now that we are in the eye of this storm, what should be our focus? God! More than ever, believers need to deal with the fear and stigma by fixing their eyes on things above, where Christ is seated (Colossians 3:1-4). Believers need to find hope in the character of the God of their salvation. As I said; once the sanitizers, gloves, quarantine and travel bans end, there is a greater truth that remains- our God is sovereign in all things.
God is, before all things and in him, all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). Nothing is too old or new for him to handle.
God produced all things, even the human body. All the biology of the body is under God’s sway. He can move it the way he wants. Science and doctors don’t have answers minus the insight of God-given wisdom (Colossians 1:16).
God knows all things. There is nothing in all creation that is beyond his knowledge. Everything is naked before him, even the cure of such a disease (Psalm 147:5).
God can do all things. Nothing is too difficult for him to handle. Not even a worldwide pandemic. He has the power to speak to the waves and the seas and sickness an disease (Jeremiah 32:27).
God owns all things. The earth is his and the fulness thereof: Yea, even the people in it. Money for medicare, or wisdom for getting a cure. Everything belongs to him. Because he owns all things (hopefully, even your life), he must receive all things to himself on the last day (Psalm 24:1-2).
Finally, God rules over all things. He is exalted on high as King forever. All power, glory, majesty, and splendour belongs to him (Revelation 4:11).
Today, this COVID-19 disaster is under the rule of God. Whether or not you get infected is not the issue. Should you get it, what is the anchor that will hold you through the storm to the quietness of heavens shores? Should you be saved from it, what is the solid joy for your heart? In his sovereignty, God works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). We may not see it nor understand it. Countries are in disarray and lockdown and fear is rampant. But the righteous shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). Hope beyond the visible—strength beyond physical healing. This God is our anchor through the storms of life- yes. Even amidst COVID-19. Shalom! Shalom!