God and Coronavirus

God and the Coronavirus?

  1. This world in all its variety, was at the beginning, declared ‘good’ by God. Something however, has happened, that continues to impact all life. All life is at war with a power working to destroy it, covid-19 being one expression. Paul sees creation seeking liberation from its bondage to this decay (Rom 8.21). I believe this backstory, and our heart-level agreement with Paul, is what wrenches from us in all tragedy the outraged thought, ‘it shouldn’t be like this; this isn’t meant to happen.’

  2. Today, mankind’s rebellion is at an all time high. A revolution has occurred in a generation. Our grandparents could not believe the immorality encouraged and protected in societies the world over. We are sinning with impunity, and the only real crime seems to be to question it. At the popular level, God partners with us in our sin. We say, “God is love,” by which we mean there is no place in him for old fashioned ideas like ‘righteousness, justice and truth;’ and secondly, his only concern, surely, is to keep me healthy and happy. By some pre-copernican aberration, we’ve become the centre of our own universes, and God to being our greatest devotee.

  3. In this present emergency, family and friends are starting to ask: Doesn’t the bible say something about this? I’ve heard some say, ‘this virus thing is almost biblical,’ meaning, big things like this only happen in the bible. Another called it ‘apocalyptic,’ meaning, it has the feel of the end times. Well, Jesus did say, (Matt Ch 24), the ‘end times’ would be characterised by: an escalation in wickedness, an abandonment of the true faith, and distress unequalled from the beginning of the world. And ‘if those days had not been cut short (he said) no one would survive.’ Are these the last days? I don’t know, but the conditions for them are certainly present. Whatever we think of the Coronavirus, it has shown us that a destructive power, which few expected, and with universal effect, is more than able to decimate us, in no time at all. Whatever we think of the Coronavirus, some clearly see it a chilling anticipation of worse to come.

  4. But the days the Lord spoke of, will be cut short, by other world events. For ‘immediately after the distress of those days... the Son of Man (will come) on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.’ Now I readily admit, this all sounds far-fetched. What? A man appear in the sky, and ‘all will see him’ as we’re told elsewhere. How is that even physically possible on a spherical planet? I agree, I struggle to see this. However, I’m bound to believe it. And not because if the bible said Jonah swallowed the whale I’d believe that too (as a critic once suggested) but because the ‘coming again of Jesus’ was central to his understanding of who he actually was. The most frequent title he used of himself was ‘Son of Man.’ Although it can refer to one’s humanity (like the Chronicles of Narnia refer to ‘sons of Adam’ and ‘daughters Eve) on the lips of Jesus it clearly refers to more. In Ch 7.13-14 of the book of Daniel, he has a vision: ‘...I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him...’ Here is the figure who ushers in the end time, who Jesus understood himself to be, and before whom all must give an account. This thought of judgement to come, dispensed by Jesus, underpins the entire New Testament message. It’s nowhere better expressed than by Paul to listeners (Acts 17.31) in Athens, “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

  5. So are these the last days, and if not quite yet, where is God now in all that’s happening? Believe it or not, by all that is afoot at present, he is lovingly calling all to repent and receive his Son. Why? Because despite wickedness deserving judgement, and our fist-waving at the sky, God is on another level not willing that any should perish. The judgement that ought rightly to fall on all, has fallen already on Jesus, at the cross. Jesus, who Paul says, (1 Thess 1) rescues us from the wrath to come. How desperately do we want to be saved? Desperately enough to repent? Jesus issues a clear promise, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.’

  6. What if the last days are not yet upon us? Then we must allow what is happening to prepare us so that when they are, we are ready. We must allow the solemnity of what is happening to solemnise us. God uses such occasions to help us reconfigure our lives in light of what matters, but has been forgotten.

May we all be enabled to trust him, knowing that if he’s with us, he will provide everything we need to see us through what lies ahead. Use the link below to hear these sentiments expressed so beautifully in song, and then come to him in prayer ‘casting all your anxieties upon him, for cares for you’ (1 Peter 5.7).

Kieran

CityAlight ~ Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me