Tired of COVID Uncertainty?
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,…’” (Isaiah 30:15).
You’ve probably noticed, information on COVID is very dependent on the perspective of the source. It is hard to figure out what is true and what isn’t, no matter where one stands.
Is it a true health crisis or a sheer power grab? Was the virus human-generated or of natural origins? Was the alleged creation of the virus a conspiracy or an accident? Can one trust the CDC or not? Can one trust any of the vaccines or not? Should one take the chance on getting vaccinated or not? Wear a mask or not? Mask if vaccinated or not? And on it goes.
Those on the forefront of both sides are sure they are absolutely “right” — absolutely justified in holding the view that they do. Each side seems even to feel self-righteous about the stance it’s taking, whichever it is. And both sides are sure those on the “other side” are certifiable idiots.
Has there been so much strong division over any other issue recently — besides the “Black lives matter” movement and the last election? Is COVID actually a political issue? Or maybe religious? It’s been likened, and not unreasonably so, to a witch-hunt. What is going on?
It isn’t possible to take a middle ground on this issue when it comes to personal choice. at times, I have found myself utterly exhausted by even the thought, let alone the attempt, of sifting the information that’s coming from all directions, to make an informed choice. (And by the way, whatever happened, on the one side, to “my body, my choice”? and on the other side, to being a “nation under God”?)
This battle over sides hasn’t been isolated to “the world.” It has also saturated the church. First-hand, I have seen individuals who used to be part of our church fellowship become offended and divide off, only because of a stance our church board took on how to deal with COVID. A stance that has had to be very flexible and that has changed over time. There truly was no “winning” stance they could have taken or can take that would please everyone — but thankfully that wasn’t their aim anyway.
During the height of uncertainty about COVID, I was impressed by the care the pastor and elders at our church took to prayerfully seek the Lord’s will on how to deal with this crisis, and their desire to please Him above all. In taking this approach, they avoided an attitude of defiance, even when our rights as a church body were being abused; while they, at the same time, also did their best to be loving and considerate towards those who were/are most vulnerable to COVID and who were the most fearful. It was encouraging to me to see them make such a concerted effort to seek to know the Lord’s heart in dealing with this issue — how they honored the Lord.
Too many in the churches, including myself at times, have left Jesus out of the issue altogether. The example of the pastor and elders at our church was a shining light to me.
For me, during 2020, Jesus was the only source of sanity — the only rock that remained unchanging and solid in the midst of the COVID storm. Because of that, and the example of our church leaders, I came to ask: “If Jesus were on earth today, how would He view the issues surrounding “COVID”? and how would He deal with the people involved (all of us)?” Following are some thoughts on this.
When the nation of Israel arrived in the land of promise after forty years of wandering in the desert, the LORD appeared to Joshua as recorded in the fifth chapter of the book of Joshua:
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
It was the LORD Himself addressing Joshua. The LORD did not, and still does not take sides with “us” against our “enemies” (“them”). The truth is: He is for us all.
From the very beginning of recorded history, He has fulfilled His purposes according to plans He made in His infinite wisdom and omniscience before the creation of the earth. He, as God, will keep His promises. And whether or not we receive His blessings and promises to us depends on our personal, familial, tribal, and national responses to Him.
The injustice that sin (rebellion against God) causes on earth is serious — with the ultimate consequence of both physical and spiritual death to us all — since ALL have sinned (done wrong). Ultimately, sin (injustice according to God) cannot be excused or overlooked. However, in His love, God sent Jesus, and Jesus willingly, out of love, sacrificed his innocent life and blood to eternally pay for or cover the sins (irresponsibility and lack of self-control) of ALL people.
Jesus (who was God and didn’t have to) willingly died on a cruel Roman cross for Democrats and Republicans, for those who hold “liberal” views and for those who hold “conservative” views and for everyone in between and for everyone out beyond these views in what is considered “extremist” territory. He died for everyone who has ever lived or who will yet live — independent of their views or even of their “theology” (knowledge or study of God).
He knows all about COVID. He could take this plague from the earth, but He does not. What are His purposes in allowing it? Why is He letting so many people die — including many of His faithful followers? What good can come out of all of this?
When God resurrected Jesus from the dead, He showed that for all humankind, physical death has been and will be overcome (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). He has promised that a day will come when all people who have ever lived will be resurrected — to physical, immortal bodies.
He has also promised through Jesus (Matt. 25:31-46; Rom. 2:7-8; Gal. 6:8) to bring His kingdom of perfect love and justice, and that on that set day (known only to Him), according to our past choices or responses to Him, each soul will either enter His Kingdom and receive eternal spiritual life, and continue to dwell with Him in His goodness forever — or a soul will go on into eternal spiritual death, which is separation from God and His goodness forever (the same as eternal fire or burning and misery — also rightly called hell)!
I have seen the Lord use this COVID plague to encourage people to turn to Him, to show people He is with us. That His good, kind, sweet, sound, loving Presence is all that really matters, whether we continue to live on this earth or “die” to live in heaven.
It seems to me that God’s concern, and therefore Jesus’ concern is for our eternal souls — for the “COVID” (sickness or disease) of the mind and heart — much more than He is concerned for the COVID that can afflict or kill the physical body. He wants us to turn from lives of self-will or sin to Him through Jesus, so He can bring us to live in His Presence with Him forever.
I believe this has always been and will always be His central concern. Yet He also centrally respects the human will — the choice He gives each one of us to respond to Him or not (to turn to and follow Him into true love, or not). Thus, He allows us to experience the difference, including the consequences of our choices, as we pass through the difficulties of this life.
With God’s purposes in mind, will those of us who call ourselves disciples or followers of Christ follow Him in doing what He did and taught while He was on earth?
It is not easy for any of us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” as Jesus taught (Matt. 5:43-48). It is not easy to always refrain from despising others, or from calling others names, which Jesus taught is akin to committing murder in our hearts and worthy of the severest judgement and hell fire (Matt. 5:21-22).
How do we treat those we do not agree with? Do we let our human causes separate us? Do we allow our stance on COVID or other issues to divide us from family, friends, neighbors, even from fellowship in a particular church if we are Christians? Do we allow political partisanship to sever familial or relational bonds? Do we only see an “enemy”?
Are we truly concerned, as Jesus is, about each eternal soul with whom we come in contact? Do we, with God, by His Spirit love and respect and care for each eternal soul according to His will — because we are seeking it or praying to know how He would have us serve or treat one another presently?
In summary, however this pandemic pans out, I do not think COVID, or any other plague known to humankind, has ever been or ever will be God’s first concern. As Christians, it should not be our first concern either.
Therefore, I believe that extreme fear of COVID, and of physical death, is not from God. He does care about our physical bodies. Sometimes He heals people. He has overcome physical death for us and provided for us to have perfect physical bodies one day. But because He has provided for us ultimately, this is not His first concern.
God knows the number of our days before even one of them begins. I believe our physical life is meant to be left in His hands — whether He allows us to remain healthy or to recover through medical or other means or not. The MAIN issue for us, as it is for God and Jesus, should not be COVID or physical health, but should be seeking the spiritual life of each precious-to-God, individual, eternal soul.
“...Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32a).