As national and jurisdictional leaders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge people to stay home and maintain social distance to combat the spread of the new coronavirus, alongside multiple declarations of a national and worldwide emergency, we shiver in fear. In the presence of this frightening pandemic that dominates news-media outlets and personal agendas, one cannot help experiencing a strange melancholy sweeping in its scope of influence. We experience the prompting to succumb to a fearful or pessimistic view of life’s possibilities, fueled by nervousness surrounding the possibility of dying from COVID-19. Much of the mania we see around us threatens to erode our belief in a Supreme Being who is in charge of everything. In a sense, the frightening times in which we live are eroding the God factor in our lives.
However, when we look at the situation from God’s perspective, there is joy, because God stood out on nothingness and spoke humanity into existence. Can you see the excitement of God as He established our first parents in a beautiful home with autonomy to choose to do His will or their own? Can’t you feel the eagerness of God to bring relief to the only creation of His that has fallen?
This pandemic should not heighten our pessimism or fear. The “shelter in place,” “stay at home,” and “social distancing” orders from government officials offer us a new window of opportunity for hope and faith on the way to eternity.
Because we may be circumstantially isolated from others, we are afforded an even greater platform to put some important things into perspective. We are moving closer and closer to the return of Jesus.
As we look around us, it is obvious that this world cannot continue. Its rising population is outstripping Earth’s food supply. The World Food Council of the United Nations declares that scores of thousands of children die of hunger-related diseases annually. Mass starvation is killing millions because of overpopulation. Eight children will die of hunger before you finish reading this editorial. The environmental protection agencies declare that there are enough pollutants in the air to kill us in a few years unless we clean up our act. We are depleting the ozone layer at an enormous clip. Disasters by land and sea signal that Matthew 24 is being fulfilled.
Jesus is coming soon!
Daily updates of COVID-19 implications through media are not designed by God to frighten or demoralize us. They are a plaintive wail urging men and women to make their “calling and election sure” — now. The presence of societal ills may prompt some to succumb to fear and paranoia. Skeptical fixation on the media tempts us to distrust God’s ability to efficiently orchestrate time and eternity. If allowed to germinate and grow, such distrust in God will magnify our fear and drive us further from Him and others. Under the weight of our skepticism, God’s sovereignty, which is designed to protect us and give us assurance, gives way to an endless cycle of insecurity, confusion, and rebellion. It is God’s intention that the promise of “the day of the Lord” be our most consuming preoccupation.
There is a promise in the Scriptures that offers much comfort during these times that try men’s souls. It enters the lexicon of our consciousness by way of one familiar with life-sapping anxieties. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,” wrote the psalmist David, “will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust,” Psalm 91:1, 2. What an assurance!
Scarcely does one passage of Scripture outdo another, but, in this case, I think God may have one-upped David. He gave this assurance to the apostle John as he sat scared and helpless on the island of Patmos:
“Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” Revelation 22:12 KJV.
COVID-19 is swirling. Don’t give in to fear. Talk to God. –RCS
Southern Union | June 2020