Friday, March 13, 2020

Did God Send the Coronavirus?

One of the most common questions surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak among spiritually-minded people is, "Did God send this sickness on us?"

Short answer: Yes.

He is just as in control of this sickness as He is over the stars of the sky and the hairs on your head.

But there's a longer answer.

Biblically speaking, He is as sovereign over this plague as He has been over the plagues of history. Consider these amazing accounts in Scripture.

  • The Lord struck the Pharaoh of Egypt for taking for himself Sarai, Abram's wife. (Genesis 12:17)
  • The Lord struck the Pharaoh of Egypt again for not letting Israel go. God goes as far to say that the plagues are His plagues and that they testify of His power and name. (Exodus 9:13-17)
  • The Lord struck Israel with a plague because of their greed. They were brought out of Egypt, yet longed for God to reverse their deliverance because they missed meat. When God gave them meat, they displayed great sin. (Numbers 11:33-34)
  • The Lord struck certain Israelite men with a plague because they feared the Canaanites and didn't trust the Lord. (Numbers 14:36-38)
  • The Lord struck nearly 15,000 Israelites with a plague for grumbling against the leadership God had given them. (Numbers 16:41-50)
  • The Lord struck 24,000 Israelites for their embrace of idolatry, through joining with foreigners. (Numbers 25:1-9)
  • The Lord warned Israel repeatedly about the curse of the Law, stating that if they failed to obey His Law in the Old Covenant, they would be struck with plague. (Deuteronomy 28:58-62)

And all of this comes from the first five books of the Bible alone! There are 73 appearances of the word "plague" (or "plagues") in the Bible. There are a dozen in Revelation alone. Each time, we see that God is in full control of the plagues, sending them where He wishes and succeeding in His desired result.

This reality will potentially make you uncomfortable. Our natural tendency is to assume that something like Coronavirus is a natural effect of the Fall (which it is) and a freely spreading pestilence to which God can just merely respond (which it is not). A spreading sickness like this is both a natural effect of the Fall and a tool being proactively used in the mighty hand of God.

Now, whether or not Coronavirus is a dangerous plague of historic proportion remains to be seen; nevertheless, it submits to God's will for it. God's will as revealed in the events that have played out over the last few weeks show us that He is pleased for the disease to reach pandemic levels. He takes no pleasure in death simply for death's sake, yet He is pleased to execute His perfect judgments, whether those involve worldwide sicknesses or not.

God is mightier than we often assume and He is quite certainly more invasive than we naturally desire. He has His hands in the bowl of our lives and He does that which He desires.

In light of this, we do better not to focus on current ailments and grocery store toilet paper supplies. Instead, we should consider another virus, another disease -- a truly dangerous global plague.

The sin of man is far more destructive than Coronavirus. Its influence is absolutely uncontainable and its end is certain. All people are sure to get it and all people are sure to die from it. It condemns us and reveals the perfections of God in contrast. These divine perfections, if examined only briefly, reveal also that God is good to crush us for our rebellion. We are worthy of death. Romans 3:5-20 is critical to understanding this truth.

How shall we respond? 

We've fallen short of the glory of God because we've outright rejected the glory of God. If there's any inkling within us that it would be a marvelous thing to be united to God in perfect relationship, we must reply to the Spirit working in us with faith. We must fear God and repent of that which has separated us from Him.

Millions of people around the world are longing for a vaccine or some medical solution to take away the current disease. But there's a more certain solution to the deadly sin that dwells in our bodies -- it's something we have access to right now. It's the gospel. There is no waiting required, and it's not on us to invent the answer. 

The God who justly sent plagues on sinful man became a man Himself. He took on flesh and dwelt among us. He lived a perfectly righteous life and we called Him Jesus. He died the death we deserved -- on the cross, in our place, for our sins. He rose again the third day, defeating death and proving His power over the grave. This is the gospel. This is the solution to our biggest problem.

Trust in His finished work alone and you will be saved from your sin right now and forevermore. Scripture tells us that by grace through faith in Christ our debt owed to God is canceled, our sins are eternally forgiven, and God breaks the power that rebellion once had over us. What marvelous news!

Praise be to God for healing us from our most deadly disease. Trust in the gospel today!

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