I find it both settling and faith-building to seek answers to important questions. That’s how I became a follower of Jesus–God answered my deepest questions about life and meaning.
Looking for perspective on vital questions continues to be a “peacemaker” in my heart and mind.
I believe many people are seeking answers to our global situation involving the coronavirus. Today I will give my best shot.
Why the pandemic?
Why the Pandemic?
When Covid 19 first appeared, one of my students (from South Korea) sent me this note:
“I’m feeling extremely confused about everything that is happening. I keep thinking of when God allowed the enemy to go after Job. I know this virus isn’t from God but how do I make sense of God allowing things like this virus?”
That day I shared a perspective with her that I will expand here.
Let’s begin with simple honesty. Last week, Jim Stier, an international leader of Youth With A Mission and one of the deepest thinkers I know, spoke to hundreds of our missions leaders via ZOOM. He began his message with the question: “Did God cause the global coronavirus pandemic?” He then paused and gave his answer:
“I don’t know.”
Humility is a great place to begin when seeking truth. We don’t know for certain many things above our pay grade. But there are some things we do know and some principles that can help us make at least some sense of complicated issues.
I can think of at least five “whys” behind the Covid 19 pandemic.
Our Fallen World
We must default to one huge truth over most problems in life: we live in a fallen world. Things are not the way they were intended to be.
Genesis 3:1-19 describes in agonizing detail how the sin of Adam and Eve forced God to change his once perfect world to help control the ravages of sin. God did the altering (the curse), but we are responsible for it.
Isaiah 24:4-6 explains: “ The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty.”
When I hear of war, disease, natural disasters and the like, I always return to the biblical truth that ALL these things are ultimately the fruit of human sin. I never blame God.
Human beings bear the guilt of the disasters around us–starting in the Garden of Eden and continuing to this day. A fallen world (including free will) explains most tragedies. It also brings hope that God will create a new heaven and earth one day where the curse of evil will be obliterated forever (Revelation 21:1-5).
We will get to God’s role in a moment.
My Korean friend referenced the story of Job (one of the oldest in the Bible) where a man and his family experienced excruciating agony through warfare (Job 1:14-15, 17) and natural disasters (Job 1:16, 19) that left Job dirt poor and in physical pain (Job 1:16, 19). The Book of Job tells us that Satan was involved in these calamities (1:12 and 2:6).
At least in Job’s case, some of his suffering was directly caused by invisible forces of evil (fallen angels). Unfortunately, many aspects of demonic destruction still play mayhem in our world.
Near the end of his life, Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the US Center for World Missions, began studying the connection between cancer and the satanic realm. His wife died from cancer and he too was afflicted. He felt that many human diseases went beyond corrupted DNA (that’s part of it), to possibly direct demonic activity.
Fallen angels could be active agents in our current coronavirus pandemic.
The Communist Chinese Government
Despite propaganda to the contrary, the Covid 19 virus began in a “wet market” in Wuhan, China, was handled carelessly and dishonestly by the Communist Chinese government and allowed to go global because of their neglect.
From Western Journal, a trust-worthy news website:
“Patient zero was discovered on Dec. 1, thirty days before the government’s admission that a new virus had been identified. Before the end of the month, nearly 200 people were infected. Life in China largely continued as it normally would. Days later, however, the government could no longer hide the severity of the outbreak…The growth of the novel coronavirus in China became exponential.”
Newt Gingrich explains: “The simple fact is that Communist-ruled China has a long record as a source of potential epidemics and pandemics…The Chinese government did nothing to stop the sale of wild animals in wet markets or to stay adequately alert for a potential virus. In fact, the dictatorship took the opposite position in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. It wanted to hide any potential disease outbreak and hoped it would go away.”
I agree with two national commentators that the proper name for the global pandemic should be the “ChiComm virus.” The Chinese people were not the problem in the spread of the disease–nor the city of Wuhan. That falls squarely on their authoritarian overlords (ChiComms).
We must change our view of the Communist leaders of China and remember who they are–ruthless dictators. Soviet Communism fell after 77 years of tyranny (1912-1989). Maoist Communism currently stands at 71 (1949-2020).
Will God use Covid 19 to help topple the ChiComms in the Middle Kingdom and free the Chinese people to bless the world?
A globalized world including air travel stands as a major factor in the spread of the pandemic. In former times, diseases couldn’t multiply so quickly. In late 2019 and early 2020, millions of people going in and out of China, carried the disease to 202 countries and territories with 841,285 confirmed cases and 41,593 deaths (as of March 31).
And with 7.8 billion people on earth today (as opposed to 700 million as recent as 1800), the number of deaths can skyrocket.
An important starting point in any question about tribulations begins here:
It’s not about you.
We tend to view suffering through the narrow, self-oriented lens of “I don’t deserve to suffer” or “Why me?” In truth, we all deserve to suffer because of our sins (Romans 3:9-19). Also, many of the trials we experience in life are part of God providentially guiding the world toward His loving purposes (Romans 11:33-36).
This may shock modern readers, but the Bible is very clear that God causes many calamities in life both for just and merciful reasons (e.g. 2 Chronicles 7:13 and Isaiah 51:20). He also allows other trials to play out unimpeded (both the sins of people and the corruption of nature) to speak to us about sin, salvation, and other important truths (Romans 8:28).
And we’ll probably never know the difference (God causing or allowing tribulation).
We do know this: life is not about you and your happiness. It’s about your relationship to God and His purposes in the cosmos. Personal and corporate suffering are some of God’s greatest schools of training in our fallen world (Hebrews 4:4-12). Even judgment remains a “severe form of mercy” because everything God does is love–1 John 4:8 (willing the highest good).
So why the Covid 19 plague?
Because of a fallen world, fallen angels, Communist leaders, globalization/population and God’s providential works in you and 7.8 billion other people.
How should we then live (Ezekiel 33:10)?
Let’s respond like a returning soldier from Operation Desert Storm in 1991 (another global calamity) who said:
“Before I came to the Persian Gulf. I didn’t consider myself a very religious person. Now I find myself talking to God a lot.”
That’s the reason for the pandemic.
Keep talking to God, serving others, and repenting of your sins.