What is the Lord doing? Word on the Week 21st March 2020.
When I returned to the Office some 60 years ago, having picked up a fine for speeding, the question I was asked was, “Where was God when I needed Him?” It wasn’t asked in a concerned way but rather in the triumphant tones of the unbeliever! There is an indelible link in the secular mind between the Christian’s life and having Someone to look after you. The current pandemic should disabuse people of such a notion. It is no respecter of persons.
Covid-19, unlike previous viruses ‘Saars’ in 2002 and ‘Mers’ in 2012, is unique and this virus is not related to them. It ignores national boundaries and is blind to race. It can infect the whole of society but it does have a preference for older people! In fact, on an inverted sliding scale, it almost ignores the very young. There is a view that it does not do well in heat so for once those living in the tropics may survive this plague better than other ones.
This highly contagious plague has got teeth. It can kill quite quickly those with an existing weakness or simply the infirmities of old age. Since people are carriers of the virus there have been many calls by the authorities to be responsible. This can best be done by avoiding any physical presence or even passing objects to the ‘at risk’ class. Isaiah’s advice should be heeded, “Go my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you, hide yourself for a little until the fury has passed by” (Chapter 26 verse 20).
We are told that we have to prepare for the ‘fury’ of the next two weeks when, according to those studying the virus’s behaviour elsewhere, the disease will peak. Because of the large number of dead military vehicles had to be deployed in Italy to bring the bodies to the mortuary. We are behind Italy in time and hopefully ahead of Italy in our preparation. How does the Bible help in this situation?
Jesus became human in order that, “through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham” (Hebrews Chapter 2 verses 14 to 16). And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians Chapter 3 verse 29.)
The crux of the matter is summed up in the phrase ‘if you belong to Christ’. The Bible teaches that you don’t belong to Christ through baptism or any other sacrament. It involves repentance. This is not simply saying sorry. It is actually recognising that you have wronged God. This leads to a Godly hatred of these sins. This is followed by a strong desire to change and sin no more. And finally believe with all your heart that Christ will forgive all your sin, even the big one that disturbs you, and present you blameless on the judgment day.
What is the Lord doing? He is preparing a people for himself out of every tribe and nation.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude verses 24/25).