It’s happened finally, what we have been expecting for days, the lockdown. Ahhhh!!! What are we going to do, no more “retail therapy” for at least three weeks? Some humour of course might help us through, but there is a serious side to it all, and for some a deadly serious side let’s not forget that or the people in that life or death position.
I was talking, by text of course, to a member of the church family who told me that people of her acquaintance were asking why this has happened and I have to say that I was surprised. I didn’t think that those big questions seeking a deeper answer to the crisis would be asked. Not generally anyway. Then this morning I received two messages from friends saying more or less the same thing and that made me think is there a prompt here from the Holy Spirit. So it is the idea that people are asking why that has occupied me this morning. All sorts of ideas and opinions have been and will be floated again, that this is a plague visited on people because of this, that or the other, that it’s a sign that the end is right around the corner. Maybe it is, but not because of Coronavirus specifically.
There is of course an answer to the question why, but not one that people necessarily want to hear or will accept and some will object to it. Looked at from the perspective of the entire bible this epidemic, like every other evidence of a broken world and decaying culture is the outworking of Genesis 2:16-17 and the warning of God that disobedience to his command would bring death. The devil of course persuaded Adam and Eve, the first humans otherwise, and held out the dream that they could be like God, know everything and decide for themselves what was good or bad. The dream promised hasn’t turned out so well has it? If we’d been sold that as a product in a shop we’d be looking for our money back.
Move forward then to Mark 13, the passage we looked at in church with David a few weeks ago and we find the warning of Jesus that many will come in his name and claim to be the Messiah, that there would be wars and rumours of wars, earthquakes, famines and the like but these are just signs of the times, “the beginning of the birth pains” Mark 13:8. A similar theme emerges in Revelation, the book we studied in evening services last year. These troubles are signs of the end times we are already living in and have been since Jesus announced the in- breaking of the Kingdom of God Mark 1:15. So where does that leave us? Coronavirus is not the first epidemic or pandemic others have gone before it, The Spanish flu which lasted for 3 years from 1918-1920 and killed millions world-wide, Asian Flu, swine flu, Sars , and looking further back in history you had the Black Death in London and so on. We’ve just forgotten about them when the danger passed but what lessons have we learned? This lockdown has imposed on us time to stop and ask those questions and maybe that’s something new.
If there is any “silver lining” to these times directly it’s that’s they seem to have stirred good in many people and a deeper appreciation of the people and services we take for granted. So continue to pray for those who are seriously ill, the front line medical staff in the NHS, your GP’s and other health professionals. Add to that, delivery drivers, the staff in your local shops, your postmen and those providing an essential service for example the emergency services, cleansing operatives (bin men!) and many others. But perhaps more than any others as Christians we should pray that God in his providence and sovereign grace will bring good from this and that there will be an fresh awakening to Christ in the nation and to these spiritual realities in the nations.
A wee bit longer this morning. Hope you don’t mind. Look out for another post with some devotional stuff later. Have a listen to this meantime and ignore any ads that come up first we don’t endorse any product.