Christ vs. the Coronavirus
Six ways to join in the victory of this grand standoff
What a drama this pandemic is becoming!
Just this week, the entire nation of Italy was quarantined. Just today, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German people that they project 70% of the population will be infected. Already across the planet, the virus has killed (as of the morning of March 11) more than 4000 and infected over 100,000 (that we know of—since ramping up mass testing in many countries, most of all in the USA, has been sluggish, at best).
Just this week officials have projected that as many as 150 million Americans will come down with the disease. Major events—entertainment, sporting, political—are being canceled left and right.
The 1918 plague of the Spanish flu that brought death to millions worldwide had a fatality rate of 2.5 percent. Compare that to the 3.4 percent fatality rate for the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.
As Jesus followers, we know our Savior is fully in charge of the affairs of the nations. Whether reported in the press or not, the real drama taking place before our eyes is “Christ vs. the Coronavirus.” And we know who is destined to win!
Interesting fact: “Corona” literally means “crown”! In other words, what’s at work here is the Crown of Life himself confronting the “crown (corona) of death.”
So, how can believers fully share in the certain victory that is ours in the current face-off between the Sovereign and the scourge? How can we respond to this moment in ways that exhibit how our “life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3)? After all, we know that long before this current emergency unfolded, we already had been transferred to live in the everlasting Kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1).
Here I offer you six helpful suggestions that can turn this time of stress and uncertainty into a season for you to go further and get stronger in your walk with Jesus.
1. Break forth into praise
Let it be said again that there’s absolutely no doubt who the “winner” in this hour will be. With Jesus, already “death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15).
For the sake of all of us, the reigning Redeemer has been “seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God has placed all things under his feet [and that includes every virus that has ever existed!] . . . Christ fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1, adapted).
So, in the face of all the unnerving statistics and tragic accounts that might weigh you down, turn your face toward heaven and celebrate not only the victory that is sure but even more the Victor who comes this very day to
proclaim good news to the poor . . . to bind up the brokenhearted . . . to proclaim freedom for the captives . . . to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61)
And pray that right now many other Americans will be able to discover and experience his saving power in new ways and then join you in your praises.
2. Beat back all fear
Yes, there is every reason to take all of this very seriously. Before the pandemic passes, millions will be sickened, and many will die. At the same time, the financial foundations of the global economy are being shaken.
But there is no room for fear in the life of any believer who has a full view of the spectacular supremacy of God’s Son today. Drink in these promises:
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1).
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Hebrews 2).
Fear has no home with those whose home resides at the throne of heaven.
3. Be ruthlessly practical
At the same time, we need to be realistic—we are still flesh and blood, and that means any one of us could get the virus and suffer the consequences.
However, modern science provides us excellent advice. If we follow it, we will be significantly protected. Remember, all medical wisdom was implanted in creation as our Lord Jesus fully intended because “the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1). To follow the doctor’s advice is to follow the creative genius of our Savior.
The National Association of Evangelicals has just shared on Facebook a post which says, “The CDC now has a webpage dedicated to helping faith and community leaders plan, prepare and respond to coronavirus: Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders.” You should check it out!
4. Bring every sickness to Christ the healer
If the virus reaches your doorstep and you or loved ones become ill, remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13). He who healed multitudes during his earthly ministry has not changed—either in terms of his compassion or his power.
Let these verses, fulfilled by—and filled full of—the Lamb upon the throne, guide you in how you talk with the Father about your need for God’s restoration:
Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion (Psalm 103, now fully ours in Christ Jesus).
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8).
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? (1 Corinthians 6).
Even your body is a member of Christ. Have you ever thought of that? So, in some sense, what happens to your body is happening to Jesus too. For sure, the healer cares.
5. Bear witness to those around you
Because you know who the King of Glory is—the one who calls us to “take heart” because he has “overcome the world” for all of us (John 16)—we have a wonderful hope to offer those who may be trembling before the coronavirus threat. Therefore, we need to assume the outlook of Paul in Colossians 4 and pray for ourselves the way Paul wanted believers to pray for him:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
“Make the most of every opportunity” could be paraphrased like this: “Exploit this crisis moment in the life of your friends and neighbors by sharing with them the very truths captured in this short blog post—maybe even sending a copy of it to them.”
6. Break out the blessings waiting at ChristNow.com.
OK, let’s imagine that you end up under a 14-day quarantine with the virus. Or maybe (as has happened near me in the city of New Rochelle, New York) your whole community gets shut down, with everyone working from home. Maybe eventually there will be corporation-wide, statewide, even nationwide, quarantines. Maybe as it has taken place in Italy over the last three weeks, you aren’t even allowed to congregate in a Sunday worship service.
What does that mean for you? Here’s what I think: It means a new season of spiritual blessings! Why do I say that?
It means you’ve got lots of extra time on your hands that you might use to enrich your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!
For example: The time you usually spend on your daily commute. The days you set aside for that Caribbean cruise. The morning hours you normally spend at church every Sunday. The evening you planned to attend the theater or a concert or a political rally.
Now, what an opportunity this presents you! You can choose to invest those freed-up hours in refreshing your walk with Christ—as you spend those hours seeking to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3).
So where should you begin? Good news: ChristNow.com exists precisely for such a time as this! There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the digital world. And it is all free to you—a rich reservoir of all kinds of resources and social media designed to take you further with Christ than you have ever gone before.
And it will never be quarantined! Furthermore, it can serve you wherever you may be quarantined—doing so right on your laptop, tablet, or cell phone.
ChristNow.com stands ready to help you turn a quarantine from others into quality time with Jesus!
Come visit us! Let’s share together in the “victory” that Christ gives us over the coronavirus!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.
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