Can a virus like COVID19 offer world health? Sounds like a really stupid question. Almost as stupid as a question like, “Can a dead king offer hope to a dying world?”
I don’t want to be in any way flippant about COVID19. This virus has led to our churches suspending services and it has caused great heartache and led to the death of people loved and now grieved for and I am praying for a cure. However, experience often teaches us that the best lessons in life are taught through adversity and those lessons are often curative if we learn them. Let me try and explain.
I recently found myself in a room of people who are committed to praying for our community. No one would know they are doing this, they just do it. One old fellow accompanied by his walking stick, a kind of symbol of the toll life takes on a person, began to pray. His life had spanned a history of events in the 20th century and some as full of anxiety as those we face today. I expect that he will not see too many more years of the 21st Century but that doesn’t stop him from praying for them and for his children’s children. None of this is all that important but his prayer was. It went something like this: “Dear God we have seen drought and fire across our land in recent times and now we are confronted by this COVID19 virus. Are you trying to tell us something?” and his prayer continued with a desire to hear the answer.
What a question! “God are you trying to tell us something?”
When a virus so microscopic that we can’t see it and can’t control it can disrupt the world, is there a reminder to a proud humanity that thinks it has no need of God… that perhaps we do need him? How small we are and how great our need!
When a virus makes us act like enemies toward one another in shopping centres, in business, schools and homes, is God offering us a diagnostic proof that we are sicker than we thought we were or could be? And when there is no pill, no medicine, or vaccination, are we meant to learn we need God?
When a virus with no cure can affect the financial markets around the world so significantly, is God telling us that it’s not in money that we should trust? When a virus has the capacity to strip the world of its wealth, then our idolatrous worship of wealth looks ridiculous. If our markets are this insecure, then is God telling us we should look to Him, the one whom viruses can’t affect, for our security?
When something you can’t see gives rise to dramatic actions to preserve life, closing schools, churches not meeting, gatherings becoming illegal and nations closing their borders and quarantining the contagious because death is a real option, is it worth asking if God is trying to tell us something? Are we being made to realise that life is of such value that we should protect it while recognising that we can’t? As God gave humanity dominion over the created world and responsibility to be good stewards of it, I expect that we will exercise that dominion and probably find a cure to COVID19 and to any future “COVID’s” that will inevitably appear. But in our panic to protect life from death, is the threat of an unseen virus reminding us that we have no cure for death and we cannot live without God?
Can a virus like COVID19 offer world health? I am not sure that this is such a stupid question. It is certainly rattling our insecure foundations and insecure foundations are no basis for confidence. But God is.
“Can a dead king offer hope to a dying world?” That is not a stupid question - it’s a crucial one as we deal with killer viruses. From the cross, where Jesus died for a sin infected world, He rose from the dead making the promise of life a certainty in an age of uncertainty. Is God trying to tell us something? I think He is, and the critical issue for the world is whether we will listen to Him.