“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13–14
It is no coincidence that the coronavirus pandemic appears during the season of Lent. Lent is the season when we prepare our hearts and lives for the death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His victory over sin and death. We are reminded of Isaiah 53.4, “Surely, he hath born our infirmities (diseases) and carried our sorrows, yet we did judge him as plagued and smitten of God and humbled.” The appearance of pandemic diseases such as coronavirus may or may not be tied to God’s specific judgment of sin. It can also be the result of living in a fallen world. In the 2 Chronicles verses, we see God urging people to humble themselves, pray and seek His Face. God urges us to see disaster as a call to repentance. God still allows sickness today for His own purposes. There is no way to determine whether or not a pandemic has a specific spiritual cause. Yet repentance is always in place. What we are sure of is that God has sovereign control over all things (Romans 11:36) and will indeed work all things together for the good of those who know and love Him (Romans 8:28). The spread of sicknesses such as the coronavirus, is a foretaste of pandemics that will be part of the end times. Jesus referred to future plagues associated with the last days (Luke 21:11).
How should Christians respond? First, do not panic. The Bible tells us not to fear over 300 times. God knows our tendency to blow events out of proportion, especially with the constant flow of news and the increasing number of coronavirus cases. Remember that your God IS IN CONTROL. The coronavirus did not catch God by surprise. 1 Peter 3:13 urges us, “don’t fear what they fear or be disturbed.” Second, be wise. Take reasonable steps to avoid exposure to the disease and to protect and provide for your family. Proverbs 22.3, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Do take this pandemic seriously. Third, seize the opportunity. When people are fearful or anxious, they are more willing to have conversations about eternity. 1 Peter 5.15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” For those who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, disease should be a reminder that life on this earth is fleeting and can be lost at any moment. As bad as pandemics are, eternal separation from God is much worse. A Christian has the assurance of salvation and the hope of eternity because of the blood of Jesus.
Let us rejoice in the Lord even in the midst of a pandemic.