As I write this, the world is reeling from the shock of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.
My wife and I were 2,500 miles from home when COVID-19 hit. In a month’s time it had evolved from being one country’s problem to becoming a deadly threat to the entire world.
It had also become a personal threat. For health reasons, I’m in the upper level of vulnerability for a pandemic. Traveling home had suddenly become a lot more dangerous.
Around the world, the number of COVID-19 cases is still increasing rapidly. It could easily be several months before the coronavirus burns out from lack of people to infect.
Disasters like this always have ripple effects. Already millions of people around the globe are without work. The economic and political repercussions of COVID-19 will continue for years after the virus itself has died.
Calamity is nothing new for this world. Almost everyone has heard of the Black Death, the Bubonic Plague, and the Spanish Flu. COVID-19 is just the latest in a list of such epidemics. And in the future we will face more disasters. Some will be personal; some will be more widespread. A few may involve the entire world. That’s life.
So how do we respond to disaster? Do we become afraid? Angry? Disillusioned? You aren’t alone if you do.
We live in a world broken by sin. We should expect accidents, calamities, and diseases, but we don’t. Instead, they often take us by surprise. Our normal response is to blame other people, the government, other countries—or God.
But blaming others never fixes anything. We must refuse to pay attention to the conspiracy theorists or the lies that fill social media. It only feeds the fear that wants to control us.
Blaming God is even worse. God isn’t obligated to explain Himself to us, and He seldom does. We may shake our fists toward the heavens and shriek “WHY? WHY?” But that won’t move God.
God, however, isn’t without feeling for our calamities. His heart is touched with our suffering. But in His infinite knowledge, He knows that we need spiritual healing even more than we need physical healing. He knows that if we receive the spiritual healing He offers through Jesus, our physical troubles become easier to bear.
When we meet God on His terms, healing begins to happen. Our perspective of life and death changes, and our priorities shift. We begin to realize that money and possessions will never fill our hearts with peace.
History tells us of people who have died in cold damp dungeons with a song of praise on their lips. Others have praised God while being tortured to death. Still others, facing the injustice of slavery and brutality, have joyfully endured.
What makes it possible for people to be so selfless? It is a result of surrendering their lives to God and committing themselves to His purposes. God’s hope, peace, and love have filled their hearts. They have realized that God’s hope is what makes life worthwhile and bearable.
Would you like to have a hope like this in your heart? A hope that will give you peace even if your world collapses around you and you lose your job or your home? A hope that gives you peace in the face of sickness and even death? Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).
King David wrote:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me (Psalm 23:4, NKJV).
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV).
Friend, no other god, no other spiritual discipline, no other philosophy, and no amount of money can give you this kind of security. Only by accepting Jesus’ invitation are you truly prepared to face life or death.
Are You Ready?
I’m trying to face the fact that I might not be around to enjoy the return to “normal” life. However, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen, if you’re ready for it.
Are you ready? If not, now is the time to think about it and get ready. Read Jesus’ invitation again and tell Him you want to serve Him. Do it now.