During this coronavirus crisis, many people, including myself, are wondering why this is happening. Moreover, people of faith in Christ take their curiosity to the next level, asking the question:“Why is God allowing this to happen?” Didn’t God create humans to be in community and not practice social distancing, especially in the church? In fact, Acts 2:44 talks about the early church and says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Now the Church of Christ is forced by state mandate to practice “social distancing,” which seems contrary to what God wants His church to do. So the question is: Why is God allowing this? Or, do I dare ask, does God think this is the healthiest thing for the world to do right now in 2020? I think so.
I believe God is using this virus as a means of getting people to cultivate their relationship with Him and for families to spend more time together. In addition, I think God is evoking greater gratitude for the many blessings we have in life: community, sports, the PLNU campus and non-essential goods and services.
Now this is a bold belief. Is it supported? Well, it is a precedent in the Bible that God uses natural anomalies to get people to do a certain action. For example, the beginning of Numbers 11 tells of an event in which God was angry because of Israel’s complaining, so He sent fire, which burned the outskirts of Israel’s camp. Only when the people looked to prayer, crying to Moses to pray to the Lord on their behalf, the fire stopped. Could the coronavirus be similar to this incident in Numbers 11? Could it be that God is frustrated with the world’s complaining and unbelief in Him so He is using this virus as the method of reducing these bad practices? I think this is very possible.
As for my claim that God is using this pandemic as a means of getting families and neighborhoods to spend more time together, thereby growing into a stronger unit, comes from the biblically supported notion that God prioritizes relationships over work. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus says, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Elsewhere in Matthew, Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Our love relationship with God and other people is clearly the top priority for us to pursue, according to Jesus. The Apostle Paul agrees with Jesus in 1 Corinthians 13 when he says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I believe God is using this pandemic as a means of getting us to improve our relationships: first with Him and second with everyone else.
Here is an anecdote for this pandemic prompting me to improve my human relationships. I gave grapefruits from my family’s outside garden to my adjacent neighbor because our family figured that shopping is a little harder to do now and there is less supply of everything. So we thought giving our fruits would be a good thing to do. This act led to a conversation with this neighbor, which I never really had before. Therefore I owe the strengthening of my family’s relationship with our neighbor to the pandemic. Obviously, it’s different for everyone right now during this pandemic, but I guarantee you have spent more time with those who live with you and adjacent to you than before this pandemic.
I believe God can be using this pandemic to get people to take a Sabbath. It does not take long in college to realize that rest is hard to come by in this world, and I have heard from professors and parents that it doesn’t get any easier after college. If you don’t put your foot down and find rest, I believe the world will work you to an unhealthy and ungodly point. Of course I think we should push ourselves, but rest is indispensable according to Scripture. Why do you think one of the 10 commandments in the Old Testament is to “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy”? Well, I believe God is giving people the rest they need from the hectic busyness the world never ceases from. Moreover, there is Scriptural support for God making the world take a Sabbath, even if people did not want to. The end of 2 Chronicles 36 explains that God delivered Israel into the hands of the Babylonians, and verse 21 states, “The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” God will institute his Sabbaths, and I see this present time as a Sabbath for the world, including the land and its inhabitants.
During this difficult yet unique time, I think God is using it for our benefit, getting us closer to the most important people in our lives and giving us the rest our mind and body need.
Written By: Derek Bonnema