I’m no longer a young man, but more significantly, I live with a compromised immune system. After my kidney damage and the six surgeries that followed, I’ve had to accept that I will never be a fully healthy person for the rest of my life.
As I’ve been thinking and praying about the coronavirus that has spread across the globe, I am reminded how this pandemic preaches the gospel to us.
1. This pandemic confronts the delusion of human independence and self-sufficiency.
We like to think, as human beings, that we are so advanced and capable. But look around - all it takes is a single virus to shut down the entire world. Let this time remind you that you were created to be dependent on the Creator.
The development of spiritual maturity is a move from independence to greater dependence on God. Exposing our delusion of self-sufficiency is a painful thing, but a good thing.
2. This pandemic makes God’s sovereign power and amazing grace shine even brighter.
In moments where our helplessness is on full display, isn’t it amazing that God remains in careful control of his world? He is not confused or surprised by any of this.
It’s okay for us not to be able to reconcile what is happening. But there is One who is not afraid at this moment. We won’t always know why he does what he does, but we know who he is, and we know what he has promised to his children.
3. This pandemic reminds us that there is a greater, darker, and more dangerous pandemic - sin.
Not everyone will test positive for the coronavirus, but everyone has been infected by sin, from birth. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5, ESV)
Sin is eternally more destructive than the coronavirus will ever be, but there is a known cure. God looked at his world in awesome mercy and love and decided he would not let us perish from this disease (John 3:16).
4. This pandemic reminds us that nothing is all of creation can separate us from God and his boundless love (Romans 8:31-39).
On Sunday, Luella and I had to attend church from our little television room. It was sad. We couldn’t greet our brothers and sisters, hug them warmly, hear their voice in song, and remind each other of the grace of the gospel. We’re all feeling the effect of social distancing.
But know this: Your greatest friend, your deepest lover, and your sweetest companion knows no distance between him and you. He draws especially near to the lonely and the broken-hearted in times like this.
5. This pandemic makes us long for our final destination.
The final promise of the gospel is this: There will be a day when such things will end forever, and we will be in a place where there will be no more sickness and no more suffering (Revelation 21:4).
Hope in heaven is not some faint, dreamy wish, for those who are embracing some religious delusion. Hope in God’s promise is a confident expectation in a guaranteed result. Paradise is coming; it’s yours by grace.
It’s hard to imagine right now, but there will be a time when we will look back on this as a brief moment of trouble. We will do so in a perfect world, with perfect bodies, with perfect hearts, and in perfect relationship with God. Everything will be as it’s supposed to be, and we will live in peace and righteousness forever and ever.
This scary moment reminds us of the most precious truths of the gospel. Instead of focusing on the what-ifs and the negativity and fear, how about meditating on those truths today?
Stay safe, hunker down, and remember Jesus and the glories of his gospel of grace.
God bless, Paul Tripp
1. What other evidence is there that reveals you are not as independent and self-sufficient as you want to think? How can this scary reality be a spiritually healthy reminder?
2. What Scripture verses can you preach to yourself and those around you that remind you of God’s sovereign power and control during this dark time?
3. Has this quarantine or stressful situation exposed sin in your heart? Where do you need to ask the Lord and others for forgiveness for recent words and behaviors?
4. Who do you know who is lonely and isolated? How can you incarnate the presence and love of God today? Reach out!
5. How does longing for eternity change the way we think, speak, and live today? Does it have specific implications during a global pandemic? Be specific.