Where Is God During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
by Steve Sherman, Pastor
Christian Fellowship Church
North Brunswick, NJ
March 31, 2020
Why has God allowed the coronavirus to make so many people sick and take so many lives? Why doesn’t He stop it from spreading? What is God’s purpose in these things? These are some of the most important questions you should be asking. God has not left us in ignorance about such matters, but has given us some answers in His holy word, the Bible. It is vital for your soul that you listen to what Has said.
The coronavirus outbreak is something that has come, ultimately, from God’s hand. Men speculate about the source of the virus. But no matter what the earthly source is, ultimately it has come from the hand of our sovereign God who rules over all. When God gave Satan permission to afflict Job, and Job’s wife tempted him to curse God, Job rightly said, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). The Lord’s sovereignty over all things is praised in Psalm 103:19, “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” God has a sovereign purpose in ordaining the coronavirus, and He will accomplish all His purpose, unto His glory. Not one COVID-19 virus moves without the permission and complete control of the One who “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11).
Why has God afflicted the world with this virus? The Bible gives several reasons. The first reason goes back to our original sin in Adam (the first man), and the curse that God pronounced because of man’s disobedience. God warned Adam that if he disobeyed, he would “surely die” (Gen 2:17). In grace, God spared Adam and Eve from immediate eternal death. But through Adam’s sin, death “came into the world” (Rom 5:12). This includes physical death, something that is now appointed for every man (Heb 9:27). Because of man’s sin, God pronounced a curse upon the whole world (Gen 3:14-19; Rom 8:20-22). There was no sickness or death before man sinned. But as the wages of original sin, we get sick and die. The coronavirus is part of this curse.
Another reason why God has afflicted the world with this virus is to warn us of a coming day when God will judge all men, women, boys, and girls who have not been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ warned in Luke 21:11, “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” Jesus warned that various things will happen that will instill terror in mankind. He called these “the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt 24:7-8) that precede the far worse judgment that Christ will inflict “on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (Matt 24:36-41; 2 Thess 1:7-10). The world’s fear of the coronavirus pales in comparison to the dread the world will experience just prior to Christ’s return (Luke 21:25-27). The coronavirus should be viewed together with more severe terrors as a warning of the judgment that is to come.
The Bible’s teaching on the wages of original sin and the judgment to come, reflect a more fundamental truth—that God is supremely holy (Isa 6:1-7). It is because He is holy that there is a curse and will be a day of wrath. As a holy God, He is not indifferent to sin. He hates rebellion and wickedness because He is absolutely pure and is all-together worthy of our full obedience and heart-felt worship. The coronavirus should direct our attention to this.
Once you begin to understand these truths, by the Spirit of God working in your heart, you begin to understand the good news that is at the heart of the Bible. Because we are sinners who have broken God’s holy law, we deserve to be eternally punished by Him. But in His great grace and mercy, God sent His beloved Son, into the world to save sinners (John 3:13-18). Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who became a man (John 1:1-18). Unlike us, He is holy and righteous, and lived in complete obedience to God’s law (Matt 5:17-18; Heb 4:15). Though He committed no crime, He was executed as a vile criminal, being crucified on a cross. Yet this was not done to Him against His will. He voluntarily laid down His life in this way, in order to pay the penalty for the sins of all who, by God’s grace, would believe in Him (John 10:17-18; 1 Cor 15:3). Christ was buried, and then on the third day the Father raised Him from the dead for the salvation of God’s people (Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:4). After showing Himself alive to over 500 people over the course of 40 days, Christ ascended into heaven to the right hand of the Father (1 Cor 15:5-7; Acts 2:32-33). Before ascending, Christ commissioned His disciples to go through all the world proclaiming the good news and making disciples of the Lord Jesus. God has promised forgiveness of sins and eternal life to everyone who repents of their sins (confessing sin to God and turning from it to the Lord Jesus), and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior (John 6:37-40; Acts 2:38; 16:31; Eph 2:8-9). Believing in Him involves trusting Him as your Savior, and submitting your heart and life to Him as your Lord. When a sinner first believes in Christ, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins to transform the believer to be increasingly like their Master in holiness and righteousness, unto the glory of God (Eph 1:13-14; Gal 5:22-25).
Knowing Christ makes all the difference in how we respond to the danger of the coronavirus. When we are brought by divine grace to know Christ, God adopts us as His child. We are brought into relationship with God and He becomes our Heavenly Father (Rom 8:14-17). As believers, we can entrust ourselves and our loved ones to the sovereign care of our Heavenly Father who loves us with an everlasting love (Isa 54:8; Jer 31:3; Eph 3:18-19). Our Lord has instructed believers not to worry about our bodies—what we will eat, what we will drink, what we will wear—because our Father knows our needs and is taking care of us as His adopted children (Matt 6:25-34). Not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from our Heavenly Father; how much more He cares for us for whom Christ died (Matt 10:28-31)! Our Heavenly Father has not promised to keep us from sickness, suffering, or physical death. But He has promised to love us always, to provide for our true needs, to protect us from spiritual danger, to work all things together for our good, and to accomplish His perfect will in our lives (Rom 8:28-39). It is for us to trust His will for our lives (Prov 3:5-6).
As believers, we are to always live for our Lord and Savior, including during this coronavirus outbreak (2 Cor 5:14-15). For Christ’s sake, we must make changes to the way we conduct our lives, in order to protect other people. By protecting the people around us from the spread of the virus, we help keep our healthcare system from overload. Keeping our hospitals from overload keeps hospital care available to those who need it most. Doing our part in these matters shows love for our neighbor as Christ commands us (Matt 22:39). As we take precautions out of love for others, we are to do so as part of a life of living for the Lord. Though we refrain now from some of the things we are used to doing, we must not take a break from living for the Lord. We must continue to draw near to Him in personal Bible reading and prayer. We must continue to fellowship with the brethren, even if we can only do so over the phone and the internet. We must continue to actively love the other members of our household. We must continue to love our neighbors and be a witness to unbelievers. We must continue to live for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)!
If you do not know Jesus Christ personally as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to read the good news of the Bible, starting with the Gospel of Mark, and come to Christ in repentance and faith! If you would like a Bible, or help in understanding the Bible, please ask us. When you become a Christian you need to start attending a Bible-teaching church (Heb 10:24-25). We invite you to our services, which are being livestreamed during this virus outbreak. May the Lord bless you as you seek Him in His word, unto His glory!