The Agency of Coronavirus
Throughout history, from the shut gates of Eden to the present, there has been disease. Disease literally means discomfiture, and each bacterium and virus, God-made and God-given, is divinely designed to discomfort men and women at ease with themselves.
God says through his prophet, Amos:
When disaster comes to a city,
has not the Lord caused it? (Amos 3:6b)
And through Isaiah:
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
God uses many agents; he uses wind, rain and fire. He ignites volcanoes and shakes the foundations of mountains with earthquake. He commands disaster and calamity. To think otherwise, can only mean one of two things; either God is not omnipotent or that he is indifferent. Both positions would require us to find an alternative object for worship. With the former, we would necessarily seek the higher power; and for the latter, there can be no use for a careless deity.
That is all very well, but to what purpose is this suffering? Unless we trust God there can be no good purpose. We must know:
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works. (Psalm 145:17)
Unless we trust God to act in our best interests, hardship is the product of an indifferent cosmos. It can only have meaning if God purposively directs the hardship:
…do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves… (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Any agent, however unpleasant, painful or inconvenient is visited on us by God, not randomly or cruelly but restoratively and redemptively. Regretfully for humankind, correction can only be achieved by agents bringing pain, suffering and tribulation. When left to ourselves, with every comfort supplied, every need met and every desire indulged, we turn from God and forget him. What need have we for God when we have no need?
Therefore, Covid-19 is best understood as a judgment on humankind – and for some it will be the final judgment, for if any that die without submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, there is no second chance, only an eternity of suffering far worse than any earthly disease.
Thus, to all who profess Jesus as Christ the Lord, we can and should understand that any germ is God’s messenger, expressly bestowed on humankind in order to redirect our preoccupation with ourselves back to him who created us. Coronavirus is a tacit prophet requiring, as John, repentance for the forgiveness of sin. And if any Christian think themselves sinless, they should reconsider this:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)
For those that do not profess Jesus Christ is Lord, there is the Gospel. This, the message of hope, is not a message of condemnation. There is no reason for the Church to speak of, or act in judgment – that is what the Father has given to his Son. The world currently ignores or rejects God, but brought to its knees, all may be disposed to hear a message of purpose and peace. Evangelists are most needed in a time of crisis.