Coronavirus - two truths and a lie

It was Friday, March 13th. My wife and I were coming back from a 5-day vacation celebrating our 10th anniversary. When we left for the trip the Coronavirus seemed to be something that was “way over there” in China and Italy. But the second we landed back home everything changed.

As my phone reconnected to data the text messages started to come in. “What are we doing for Sunday?” “There’s an undercurrent of panic right now, people need leadership.” By the time we got home from the airport I had cancelled church for the following Sunday and was busy writing an all-church email with our preliminary response to the Coronavirus-not knowing how long or church would be unable to meet in person. I titled the message “Two truths and a lie.”

Truth number one: God is in control

Romans 8:35-37 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword (or coronavirus)? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

What we are experiencing is part of the fall (Genesis 3) and we have answers for a very nervous world right now. There’s a reason for this and it’s not all scientific. God has used disasters in the past and he will use it in the current, nothing is out of his control. Bruce Ware writes that “Suffering is not a good thing in itself; its only “good” comes in what we learn through it, or how we grow because of it.” We trust even now that God is in control and hold on to that precious truth.

Truth number two: We have a unique opportunity

1 Peter 3:15 says “Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”

Some of what we’re experiencing feels like September 11th, 2001. The Sunday afterwards was the largest day of church attendance in the last twenty years because people want answers!

In a similar way we’ve seen online church attendance soar over the course of this pandemic; so much so that the internet itself has been slow on Sunday mornings because of the millions around the country and globe worshipping God online together. Those that have the hope of Christ have a unique opportunity to share it with neighbors and online during this time.

Lie number one: We need to live in fear

Psalm 23 says “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

The most repeated phrase in the Bible is “do not fear.” Some scholars say it is mentioned 366 times in the Bible-one for every day of the year, including leap year! Corrie Ten Boom said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

No matter how the Coronavirus affects us (loved ones getting sick, losing a job, schooling kids from home, etc.) we can trust that God is in control, Christians have a unique opportunity and we need not live in fear.

Though our vacation came to an abrupt ending, Krystal and I praise God thatall things are under his control and that we can lead the people of Transform and our community to trust the Lord in uncertain times.