At some point in everyone’s life, something will be the most phenomenal happening that he or she will ever experience. For most of us, perhaps all of us, this is it. The world’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic may be our generation’s great depression. Amid all the noise and confusion, is there sense to be made of it all? Is there purpose in it?
I believe there is purpose to everything. We are often surprised–shocked–by catastrophes. But nothing happens randomly. The same God who created the universe still orchestrates everything. The Bible says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17) He is perfect in all His ways and desires the best for us. With that perfection, He grants us an abundant life of love, happiness, and joy in addition to our basic needs. But sometimes that perfection also brings on corrective consequences when we fall woefully outside of His requirements for our best.
The world in general and America in particular have turned away from God over the last several decades. We have digressed in biblical standards of morality, in attention to the Bible, in worship, in prayer, in church involvement, and in overall obedience to the Lord. This is cyclical throughout history as nations and societies rise and fall. In these cycles, God gives progressive warnings when His people are distancing themselves from Him. These warnings come with ample opportunities to confess our wrongs and turn back to Him. The warnings are often in disastrous natural and man-made events. I believe 911 was such a warning to America. This pandemic is a warning to the world showing His sovereignty over our lives. For America, it includes a demonstration of how little power our “idols” have: economic wealth (stock market crash), entertainment (sports and theater shutdowns), leisure (travel and dining restrictions), and freedom (separations and quarantines).
With each providential correction, God has pleaded with His people through His Word, His prophets, His preachers, and His Spirit’s influence on individuals and populations. The Bible says, “…if I send pestilence (contagious disease) among my people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
This crisis is reportedly already bringing a spiritual awakening in the world. Italy is experiencing revival. Iran’s Christians are breaking through the Islam barrier. Look for this to take root in many other nations. What about America?
We have to deal with the reality of this pandemic. We must listen to the CDC and DHS experts and discipline our lives as instructed to protect our health. But far more important than social distancing, washing hands, and buying toilet paper is concentration on the purpose of what we are experiencing and adjusting our lives accordingly. Get into the Word more, pray more, connect with church more, and love others more. Spiritual renewal happens one person at a time. Pray that America’s spiritual response to this pandemic will be one that pleases God.