With the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) the world has been impacted more than many of us have ever seen in our lifetimes.
Just some of the implications include international airports shut down, national borders closed, schools closed, businesses shutting their doors, and churches scattered. Mandatory stay-at-home measures and government state of emergency declarations have become a part of our every day conversations. Even Waffle House has closed some restaurants as an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. We will not know the full implications of the Coronavirus until the history books are written, but make no mistake about it - history books will be written on what we are experiencing.
I want to put this into a broader perspective for all of us. It is difficult to look at the larger picture of things when when we are right in the middle of adversity. However, in the midst of an era of extreme uncertainty, I am absolutely certain about one thing: God is still God.
"For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord ? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord ?" Psalms 89:6
None of this has taken Him by surprise. We may be tempted to question and wonder why we experience these things. Anyone who says they know with absolute certainty the answer to that question is either delusional or a liar. However, there are things we should consider in light of who God is and what He has done for us.
1. Sickness and disease reminds us of the imperfections of this present world.
Babies come into this world crying for a reason. Life, as we know it, is a struggle. With modern medicine, a growing economy, and advanced technology it can sometimes be easy to forget that to struggle is at the heart of our human condition.
There is a reason for this. Man fell out of a right relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. Things changed. It's been a struggle ever since.
Here is the wonderful news, however. There is a greater world that is to come for those that are believers in Jesus! God made a way for things to be perfect one day through His Son, Jesus Christ. God doesn't want to leave us in our present condition. He wants us to find salvation and restoration through Christ. What mercy! Revelation 21 gives us a beautiful picture of everything being made right one day. No more tears and no more sorrow. Go read it and be encouraged!
2. Gathering with God's people is necessary for our spiritual lives.
Church services will be impacted for several more weeks. When all of this subsides, this will be one of the longest times away from the church gathering that I have ever experienced in my life. I haven't always been where I need to be with the Lord, but the regular gathering of the church as been extremely formational for me.
Coronavirus has impacted all sorts of other gatherings as well. Concerts have been cancelled, Baseball is suspended, and the Olympics are postponed. I even saw where WWE wrestlers performed in front of an empty stadium. Talk about awkward.
But there is something unique about the regular gathering of the church. It is a core component of who we are as a people. My eyes tear up when I think about the first song we will sing together when all this is over. Hearing my church family sing praises to God strengthens by faith, and I sorely miss that.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to live-stream and record our services, but it can never replace the gathering of God's people.
3. Maybe God is teaching us something.
Again, I can't answer with complete certainty why we are going through this. However, I do know that God works all things together for good, for those called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Surely, there will be lessons learned here.
Maybe as a society we will realize the things that really matter. We are at home with the people that matter most in our lives. While my wife and I are concerned about all that is going on, my six year old and two year old are just ecstatic to get so much quality time at home with mom and dad.
We are realizing the difference between wants and needs. We are at home with a roof over our heads and food on our table. We aren't going anywhere or doing anything for entertainment. What I need is right in front of me.
There may be times that we think we have it all together. This truly is a circumstance where none of us can make that claim. Believe it or not, that is a good lesson to learn. It reminds us to put all our trust in the Lord.
Let me close with this encouragement written by Paul while in prison:
'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:6-7