Coronavirus. COVID-19. The Wuhan-virus. The Chinese-virus. All of these phrases and words have dominated world news for almost three months now. COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives drastically. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have been put in place in hopes of shutting down the virus and restoring a normal lifestyle for everyone. However, it’s still raging on. But is there something that God is trying to get at through this pandemic?
After being stuck in this situation for quite a while, I have been thinking about what could really be behind this. As Romans 8:28 says, God uses “all things… for the good of those who love him”(NIV 2011). It is apparent that God will reward Christians and in general, the world if they act according to His statutes. Many people around the world have begun to search for answers from a spiritual and emotional perspective in order to explain this situation. Even reality star Kourtney Kardashian implied in an Instagram story that “God would punish an evil world with an “epidemic”” (FOX News).
The Bible passage she quoted was 1 Chronicles 7: 13-14, which says, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (ESV 2016). Said at the dedication of the temple, this passage was used by God as a great awakening for his people. He warned them that there would be a time when great trouble would come over the world. Furthermore, depending on how the people reacted, he would either “forgive the land and heal their land” or continue his judgment. Often, we tend to forget that God is not only loving and gracious but also just. When looking at the direction this world has gone morally, this seems to be a valid reason as to why this pandemic is happening.
Yet, this is not what one would call “retributional theology”. Retributional theology states that bad things happen only as a punishment for sins. But if we look through the Bible, there is no direct explanation for this idea. The book of Job is a very valid disclaimer to this theory. If we look at the story of Job from the perspective of retributional theology, we would have to take out various passages from this book of the Bible. These passages explained that Job was indeed blameless in the sight of God and how God gave permission to Satan to bring misfortune upon Job. Therefore, it is not biblical to believe that this pandemic is most undeniably a direct punishment for the sins of the world, but 1 Chronicles 7: 13-14 is still a reasonable explanation.
Looking back on history, we can see that similar events have occurred. There was the Black Death/ Bubonic Plague, Spanish Influenza, the Swine Flu outbreak, the Ebola outbreak, and countless others. Many people could say that COVID-19 is no different than those and will pass eventually. I agree with that statement but only to some degree. Most people learn at an early age that our actions always have consequences. Again, the severity of God’s judgment relies on our deeds and our reaction to the judgment. Will we humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness for our sins or will we continue to dwell in our wickedness?
However, not everything about this pandemic has been negative. It looks like there is already a small awakening happening in the Christian community. I have observed various Christian organizations, groups, and individuals edifying each other. One example is the field hospital in Central Park, New York that has been set up by Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that has been active for about 50 years. On April 1, Samaritan’s Purse opened an Emergency Field Hospital for COVID-19 patients in Central Park. As of April 17, they have accepted over 140 patients into their respiratory care unit. This proves that when Christians come together as one unified group and minister to those who need it, it really can change the world.
Often, we as teens look down upon ourselves because we think that we cannot help as much as our elders. On the contrary, we are extremely important to the growth of the Christian community. There are various things that we can do as an outreach to help the Christian and world community during this time. One thing is praying for the world population. That they may be able to see the light and turn to God. Another is encouraging one another and even people we don’t know in our neighborhoods. I have found that it is really nice to drop by some houses in the neighborhood and give them some home-baked goods or other gifts. But remember to stay at least six feet away from each other. Never forget that as children of God, we must hold our responsibility of sharing the Gospel to the highest priority. “Wake up!” is not only a message that is directed to non-believers but is just as directed towards us Christians. Now it is only a matter of whether we will become the awakened church or not.
“BibleGateway.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 ESV – – Bible Gateway, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Chronicles+7:13-15&version=ESV.
“Field Hospital Staffers Provide Around-the-Clock Care in New York’s Central Park.” Samaritan’s Purse, www.samaritanspurse.org/article/field-hospital-opens-in-new-york-citys-central-park/.
Roberto, Melissa. “Kourtney Kardashian Shares Bible Passage Suggesting God Would Punish Evil World with an ‘Epidemic’.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 26 Mar. 2020, www.foxnews.com/entertainment/kourtney-kardashian-bible-passage-god-punish-evil-world-epidemic-coronavirus.