Like millions of others here and around the world, my wife and I greet the sunrise of every new day with a familiar list of questions regarding the viral plague enveloping our nation and threatening many others. Has there been any hint of a reduction in the speed of its proliferation or the level of its impact on those infected? Did any of the worst hotspots show any signs overnight that the curve might be flattening? Was there any indication that the escalating number of those who succumb to it shows any signs of slowing? Did a group of researchers discover some ingenious new procedure, or innovative combination of chemicals that heralds a medical breakthrough? Is there anything unfolding in the search for a cure, or at least a viable treatment, that offers a fresh foundation for hope? Will the entire economic structure of our country be sacrificed on the altar of this horrible little microbe? And finally, what does God want us to learn, and other than avoiding contact with people, what are the followers of Jesus to do in the midst of this unprecedented time?
No Response to Distant Threats ~
One of the obvious truths freshly unveiled in the past few weeks is that the idea of death doesn’t particularly bother us unless and until we see ourselves in its crosshairs. For instance, we weren’t making radical adjustments to our behaviors and totally rearranging our lives when Covid-19 was just a problem in China, but things are different, now aren’t they? People are wearing masks and gloves and are more conscious than ever before about where they go, what they touch and with whom they engage in close contact. When the virus was an enemy targeting other people in some far away land, we may have voiced some concern, but we didn’t do anything different. We didn’t adopt behaviors designed to mitigate its spread or to protect ourselves from infection. Once the virus is seen as a living enemy stalking us personally, multitudes of us suddenly become willing to do whatever we can do to counteract it. There’s a vital spiritual principle glaring at us in this plague, and a priceless opportunity.
I’ve mentioned multiple times lately that Covid-19 is not the most lethal enemy threatening our personal and national wellbeing. There’s a plague with far worse implications than anything this virus can do to us, and some of the same strategies we’re seeing advocated every day can be effective in mitigating its spread as well. For thousands of years, God has called His people to separate themselves from contact with certain people, things, practices, and ideas that are contaminated, potentially deadly, and highly contagious. Isn’t it absolutely fascinating how God’s words, spoken and written so long ago, can sound so contemporary today? Paul’s quote from Isaiah could fit quite well with the anti-viral admonitions in nearly every newscast this morning.
Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV)
A Lethal Force Unleashed ~
God made it clear that a lethal force had been unleashed and that it had infected the whole human race. The problem is stated in simple terms, but the implications are profoundly serious.
Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned– Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
Our current situation is a powerful illustration of how easy it is to be lulled into a false sense of security when we’re threatened by an enemy whose capabilities we don’t really understand. As the virus continued to spread and the threat became more personal, our interest level grew. Fear and confusion led us to begin to look for “experts” to tell us about it. The experts told us that the problem was worse than we thought and that defensive measures needed to be applied everywhere, because the virus could infect virtually anyone.
Sin used to be treated as a serious problem that carried potentially deadly consequences. Every Sunday pulpits across the land warned people to restrict or totally eliminate contact with it in all its forms. There were spiritual “tests” applied on a regular basis to determine who needed help. Churches were a kind of spiritual clinic where those infected and most at risk could find help. There were spiritual “experts” available, and people wanted to hear from them to better understand the enemy and how to keep the threat at bay.
A Dangerous Attitude Adjustment ~
Then, the message that sinful behavior wouldn’t always kill you right away began to gain traction. People were shown that you could live with it, and in some ways, sin was quite enjoyable. When it was seen as less of an immediate threat and the fear of it subsided, and protective efforts began to disappear. It was still a bad thing and the body count around it was staggering, but its consequences didn’t seem so immediate, so the plague continued to spread.
The great push in the Covid-19 war is to find a cure, to find some vaccine that will render the virus harmless and ensure that our lives are no longer threatened. That’s what we desperately long to hear from the scientific and medical experts. Until that happens, we remain at risk and cannot freely live life the way it ought to be lived. The announcement that such a cure has been found would be heralded as the greatest good news we’ve heard in a long, long time.
A Perfected Cure ~
As this viral battle rages, my great hope is that it will resurrect a realization that a pandemic of sin that has been growing and spreading death throughout our nation for generations. The wonderful good news regarding that plague is that the cure has been perfected and is available to anyone and everyone who wants it. Sin affects behaviors that take someone’s life away every minute we live. Unnecessary pain, suffering, fear, and death follow sin everywhere it goes, and we who have received the only cure that exists are called to be first responders. We may not see ourselves as “experts”, but those who know Jesus have the answers about this enemy that so many don’t understand and we can direct people to the cure.. In response to the threat of sin’s condemnation and eternal death, Jesus delivered this astounding announcement:
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. John 11:25-26 (NKJV)
It will be a glad day when a cure is found that disables the Coronavirus, but it will be an even greater cause for celebration if God’s people take this opportunity to rise up once again and engage in the battle against the more deadly plague attacking the heart of this nation. May God empower every first responder, both medical and spiritual, with fresh energy and insight, and may victory reign supreme on every field of battle.
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- “God made it clear that a lethal force had been unleashed and that it had infected the whole human race. The problem is stated in simple terms, but the implications are profoundly serious. (Romans 5:12).” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Sin used to be treated as a serious problem that carried potentially deadly consequences. The announcement that such a cure has been found would be heralded as the greatest good news we’ve heard in a long, long time.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The wonderful good news regarding that plague (of sin) is that the cure has been perfected and is available to anyone and everyone who wants it.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “We who have received the only cure that exists (for sin) are called to be first responders. We may not see ourselves as “experts”, but those who know Jesus have the answers about this enemy … and can direct people to the cure.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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