By Ian D’Souza
The entire globe is stricken with the current Covid-19 pandemic which has overturned our regular way of life. It has shut down the economy of every nation, and plunged the entire globe into a devastating health crisis. At the time of this writing around 3.15 million people globally have died from this pandemic (29th April, 2021). We have survived the first wave by God’s grace only to find that a second wave (more aggressive than the first) is upon us. There is even mention of a third-wave-possibility due to mutations of this virus.
There has been much talk, that this virus has been the work of nefarious men with evil motives. While the absolute truth is elusive at this stage, the strange behaviour of the virus, its panic and fearmongering by certain vested interests reveal that a far deeper level of evil exists. Ultimately, at the source of all evil is the devil himself whose works are manifested through the sin-nature of man.
On the other hand, an excessive pre-occupation with such Satanic and human options causes us to forget that there is a God above who superintends everything. He sees all things and knows all things. We forget that He knows the end from the beginning simply because He is the Beginning and the End (Revelations 22:13). He is never caught on the wrong foot, nor back foot, nor taken unawares about anything. His omniscience ensures that all things are laid bare before His open gaze at all times. In other words, he saw this pandemic coming. It would be more truthful to say that such pandemics (permitted by God), are often God’s ways of visiting judgments upon mankind. The bible refers to such virus-like plagues as pestilences and it contains many such examples of God’s judgment visited upon mankind due to his evil ways. But first, what exactly is a pestilence?
A pestilence is a deadly disaster, usually a disease, that affects an entire community. A pestilence is contagious, virulent, and devastating. For example, the Black Plague in Europe that killed over thirty percent of the population during the late Middle Ages was a pestilence. In the Bible, pestilence is usually a sign of God’s judgment on a nation or people group (See Deuteronomy 32:24; 1 Chronicles 21:12; Ezekiel 7:14–15). The God who protects and blesses is also the God who sends disaster and pestilence when it accomplishes His righteous purposes on earth. Pestilence is promised as part of God’s final judgment on the world in Revelation 18:8. Further, Jesus forewarned of pestilence when He described the end times in Luke 21:11.
Most people find this difficult to accept saying that God is a God of love. But this reflects the lack of a fuller understanding of God as revealed in the bible. They fail to realize that God is the sum total of all His attributes-together at all times. He is a complete whole and operates out of this fullness. So, while He is love and demonstrates His love towards man constantly, He is also simultaneously a God of wrath who hates sin and wrongdoing, and also a God of justice who must punish sin when it continues. He is also a God of grace who is longsuffering and patient with the weaknesses of men, understanding man’s frailties and propensity to sin. Hence, He always gives man a very, very long rope of grace, constantly wooing him to “repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). For this reason, in the fulness of time, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross as a substitute for the sins of all mankind that whosoever believeth on Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Because God is Holy and Just, it was necessary that some punishment be made for the sins of the whole world through the shedding of blood. It could not be the shedding of sinful blood, but had to be the sinless blood of an innocent man. Man has a choice to accept the atonement made by Christ on his behalf and receive forgiveness for his sins and eternal life thereafter. Or we can choose to ignore that ultimate sacrifice and continue in our sins. When man chooses to ignore or reject God’s solution, then his senseless mind is darkened, his heart is hardened in sin and he remains hostile towards God. He is not only lost in his sins but sinks to the uttermost depths of depravity making him a prime vehicle of all manner of evil.
Every now and then, out of His great love for man, God must send wave after wave of judgment upon man as a rebuke for his persistence in sin and refusal to accept His Son Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Can we ever forget the great flood of Noah’s day or the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that were destroyed by fire and brimstone when sin had reached its zenith. It is unfortunate that the innocent also perish with the wicked at such times, for society must often collectively reap the repercussions of its sin. Yet this need not be. For God is a very present help in times of trouble. If we will turn to Him, He promises: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” (Psalm 145:18-19)
When we look at the world around us and see the wickedness of men that abounds, it is heart-breaking. One of the darkest scourges to sweep the globe these days is Human Trafficking. Its not just people at random that are being trafficked, but particularly children who are being sold into slavery for paedophilia, for prostitution, for pornography, for organ harvesting and even for child sacrifice. Without the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of a new nature within procured for us at the Cross, it is so easy for man to slide down the slippery slope of sin.
When we persist in this manner, refusing to acknowledge God and His Son Jesus Christ, then God must do the next best thing to get our attention. He is the Creator-God and He is Lord of the Universe and He calls the shots. So do not be surprised at the pestilence (pandemic) that has come upon us at this time. It is in keeping with the pestilences that have always been sent by God throughout the ages. It is typical of man, when he is besieged with fear and trembling as the pestilence strikes, to cry out in agony and even feign repentance in the hope that it will go away. But does the repentance last? As soon as the pestilence-wave subsides you will find man returns to his sins with a gusto, like a dog returning to his vomit. Is it any wonder then that a second wave or third must follow? It takes a long time and many hard knocks before realization dawns. And yet there are those who will resolutely set their hearts against their Redeemer choosing to depend upon science and the temporary solutions of men rather than the power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
God is not a sadist and is certainly not hard-hearted. His desire is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). His heart is never set on the destruction of man. His desire is to gather us in His arms as a hen gathers her chicks. How long before we will yield to Him? To the searching hungry heart, He gives the following promises:
Psalm 68:20 – “Our God is a God of deliverance; the Lord GOD is our rescuer from death.”
Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
John 14:1 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
1 Peter 5:5–7 “God resists the proud, butgives grace to the humble.Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
Philippians 4:6–7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:3 – “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Christ alone is your hedge of protection for you and your family. Have faith in Him for He is faithful!