Lessons from a Virus

Like many others, I have been left stranded in one of two places - my home and my church office. This because upon returning from our abbreviated missions trip to the Philippines, my wife and I entered into voluntary (thought strongly requested) self-isolation. As of today in Canada, that request has changed into law for new arrivals as the Quarantine Act has been implemented. For most of us, this has meant restricted access to just about everything and everyone. Thankfully, through the various social media and technology outlets we have at least been able to have some online communication.

As we all think about the spread of coronavirus around the world, there are some lessons that must be considered in light of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (My wife shared these points with me the other day from teacher and author, Paul Trip. I have edited them somewhat for our use here today.)

1. This pandemic confronts the false thinking of human independence and self-sufficiency.

We like to think, as human beings, that we are so advanced and capable. But look around - all it takes is a single virus to shut down the entire world. Let this “quiet” time remind you that you were created to be dependent on the Creator.

The development of spiritual maturity is a move from independence to greater dependence on God. Exposing our wrong thinking of self-sufficiency is a painful thing, but a good thing.

2. This pandemic makes God’s sovereign power and amazing grace shine even brighter.

In moments where our helplessness is on full display, isn’t it amazing that God remains in careful control of his world? He is not confused or surprised by any of this.

It’s okay for us not to be able to reconcile what is happening. But there is One who is not afraid at this moment. We won’t always know why He does what He does, but we know Who He is, and we know what He has promised to His children.

3. This pandemic reminds us that there is a greater, darker, and more dangerous pandemic - sin.

Not everyone will test positive for the coronavirus, but everyone has been infected by sin, from birth. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Sin is eternally more destructive than the coronavirus will ever be, but there is a known cure. God looked at his world in awesome mercy and love and decided He would not let us perish from this disease. John 3:16

4. This pandemic reminds us that nothing in all of creation can separate us from God and His boundless love. Romans 8:31-39

Each time “church time” rolls around, we are reminded of the changes that have come to us. It is a bit sad. We can’t greet our brothers and sisters in Christ, hear them lift their voices in song, share in warm and sweet fellowship, and encourage one another in living for our Saviour. We are all feeling the effect of “social-distancing.”

But know this: Our greatest Friend, the One who loves us more than any other, our sweetest companion knows no distance between Him and us. He draws especially near to the lonely and broken-hearted in times like these.

5. This pandemic makes us long for our final home.

The final promise of the gospel is this: There will be a day when such things will end forever, and we will be in a place where there will be no more sickness and no more suffering. Revelation 21:4

Hope in heaven is not some faint, dreamy wish, for those who are embracing some religious delusion. Hope in God’s promise is a confident expectation in a guaranteed result. Paradise is coming; it’s ours by His grace.

It’s hard to imagine right now, but there will be a time when we will look back on this as a brief moment of trouble. We will do so in a perfect world, with perfect bodies, with perfect hearts, and in perfect relationship with God. Everything will be as it’s supposed to be, and we will live in peace and righteousness forever and ever.

This scary moment reminds us of the most precious truths of the gospel. So, instead of focusing on the what-ifs and the negativity and fear that wants to overwhelm us, may I suggest meditating on these truths today?

Pastor Gordon Conner

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