Truth In The Midst Of Pandemic.
Pandemics were not God’s design. When God created the world, sickness did not exist. After completing the pinnacle of his creation, humankind, God stood back and said, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31a). God did not want us, His beloved image–bearers, to suffer. He created us to enjoy Him without barriers, and bring glory to His name. Sickness and disease were not a part of His plan, but He gave humanity the ability to make their own choices. The very first people chose sin and humanity, myself included, has been choosing sin ever since.
Pandemics are a result of sin. Let me preface this by saying: I do not believe that COVID-19 is a result of one person’s specific sin. However, when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit the consequences of sin, including pandemics, fell on all humanity. We are now living in “the world between two gardens” as Lysa Terkeurst would label our present age. When Adam and Eve chose sin, they were removed from the perfection of the first garden. They entered into a world of pain, tears, toil, and separation from God. Thank God that He loved us so much that He wouldn’t let us be separated from Him forever. He made a way and sent our Rescuer.
In Jesus, we have victory over pandemics. Our Rescuer, Jesus, took the ultimate consequence for our sin, death. The sinless Son of God died a horrible death He didn’t deserve in order to pay our debt. Romans 6:23 reminds us of the free gift we have because of Jesus, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If we believe that Jesus Christ is the perfect Son of God who died for us, turn away from our sins, and ask Him to be the Savior and Lord of our life, we can rest assured that our ultimate consequence is wiped away and we can enter into an intimate relationship with God.
However, Christians are not exempt from suffering. On Sunday, our guest pastor reminded us of the truth of Jesus’ words John 16:33 in light of COVID-19. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulations, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Being a believer does not mean we will be spared from COVID-19 or its effects. We will have tribulations in this world. It is a guarantee. The striking difference is that believers know how the tribulation ends. We can have courage, because we know that Jesus has overcome the world. When He rose from the grave He displayed His victorious power over death. No matter what the world looks like after COVID-19, Jesus is victorious. Nothing will ever change that fact.
One day there will be no more pandemics. One day, pandemics, disease, poverty and all suffering will cease. God will bring justice and redemption to this fallen broken world. That is when we, as believers, get to enter the second garden that is eternal. What a glorious day that will be. I’ve already referenced Romans 8:22, but read it in the context of its surrounding verses. I love the way the NLT translates verses 18-25:
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
In the here and now of our present suffering, we are to wait patiently and confidently, knowing full well that our current pain is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal. The Holy Spirit gives us just a tiny taste of the glory we will get to experience for all eternity, when our hearts, and our bodies, are fully restored. What a good, merciful, gracious, and all-powerful God we serve.