There are a few things that came to my mind as I pondered on the global pandemic that has brought the world to a virtual standstill. Let me share a few of thoughts that have helped me during these trying times.
This is certainly not the Final Judgement that ultimately ushers the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is definitely part of God’s already revealed wrath on the ungodliness of this world (Rom. 1:18ff). While we live in this world believers are not exempt from the consequences of our fallen, rebellious world. We need to however be biblically clear in our understanding of the times we live in; attempt to understand God’s purposes in this and every situation; and then respond in ways that clearly demonstrate that we are radically different from unbelievers. What is distinguishing YOU, believer, from your colleagues, unsaved family members and all those you have social contact with, in this situation? Your response must be that of a true Christian. Radically different from the non-believer.
1. The Sovereignty and Providence of God: The global pandemic tests our understanding and confidence in the control of God and His provision of solutions and, where it seems unbearable, grace to undergo all trials and inconveniences. Take time to study the sovereignty and providence of God during these days.
2. Our Plans/Desires and God’s Purposes: When God allows situations to ruin our plans/desires; when there is absolutely nothing we can do to fulfil our plans/desires/ambitions then we are totally exposed – do we really want what God desires? Are our plans/desires/ambitions aligned to God’s eternal purposes? Prov. 19:21 is just one of many texts to ponder on. See also: Ps. 37:5; Prov. 3:5-6.
3. Fear of Death: That foundational fear grips most of us, even many believers. It is a close cousin of the fear of the unknown. In actual fact people are dying all the time – of diseases, in accidents, war and natural calamities. For believers the Bible clearly tells us that we already have “eternal life” the moment we become Christians, through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:24). We have hope of resurrection because Jesus rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15). Jesus has defeated Satan who held us in fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15). We of all people are to be strong and confident in the face of death.
4. Anxiety: Read Mt. 6:25-34 and take serious note that God commands believers to trust in Him as Father and not be like unbelievers who worry about the basic necessities of life. The statement: but one needs to be practical/wise may sound great but is normally used in situations where the believer needs to trust in the Father Who is absolutely capable of caring for all our needs. Tough times test our faith (2 Cor. 4:17; Jms. 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-8). Believers have recourse to rush to their Father in heaven at any time of need (Heb. 5:14-16 with Phil. 4:6-7). I hear of believers rushing to the malls (perhaps before the unbelievers exhaust stocks!) to “stock up” for the days ahead when the stores may run out of provisions – the call is to be conscious of a Father Who provides for us and trust in Him.
5. Cleanliness and Hygiene: It is amazing that we have need to teach one another basic hygiene like washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. There is a world-wide emphasis on this and other basic things we must do to live clean and hygienic lives. Should we not have always been clean and hygienic? Is this such a huge and new discovery on how to live healthy lives? Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and must be kept clean from the inside out – see: 1 Sam. 16:7; Mk. 7:1-23; 1 Cor. 2:16; 6:19- 20; Lev. 11-15 (Chapters).
We are not on holiday. I am troubled when I hear believers using their children’s schools shutting down as a time for them to sleep in. It is sad that we believers think of a “work at home” order as an opportunity to be laid back, catch up on rest and be on a holiday. Is it not instead a great opportunity to catch up on our individual and personal walk with God, bible reading and prayer life and build up our personal and inner holiness. This is also a great opportunity, in the providence of God, to come alongside unbelievers and give them the only hope for a secure and stable life of peace and joy not in this life only but for all eternity.