Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened … therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts …” Romans 1:21; 24 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Did God send the COVID 19 virus?”
This morning we will continue our discussion from yesterday regarding whether or not it was God who created and sent the COVID 19 virus and pandemic.
When considering the things that God does or does not do, the actions He takes or does not take, the ways He intervenes in the affairs of the human race, or doesn’t, it’s helpful to understand the different ways in which God expresses His divine will. In general terms, the Bible reveals three different categories of expressions of the will of God. The descriptive terms for each of these categories (given to them by Bible scholars and theologians) vary, but for the sake of this discussion we will think of them as the sovereign will of God, the directive will of God, and the permissive will of God.
The sovereign will of God is the way in which God desires things to be. In a perfect world (without us humans screwing things up by misusing our free will), this is how things would be. The directive will of God is expressed by God in specific commands (You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery …) The permissive will of God is what God simply allows to happen, even though such things may be contrary to His sovereign and directive will. This is where the free will of man comes into play. In the Bible God makes us aware of what His desires for us are, and He even gives us specific commands He wants us to follow but then, by means of His permissive will, He allows us to make our own choices. But choices have consequences. And sometimes consequences can be unpleasant (this is what the Apostle Paul was referring to in Romans 1:21-24 quoted above).
Thus, the COVID 19 pandemic. As I noted in yesterday’s devotional, I’m doubtful that God created and sent the virus. Aside from the possibility that we are in the End Times (which we will talk about tomorrow but, spoiler alert: it’s probably not what you’re thinking), baring End Times prophecy, I think it is much more likely that we have done this to ourselves and that God is allowing us to experience the consequences of our own bad choices.
Scientists tell us that we’re living in a world today where “superbugs” are becoming more and more of a problem. According to the Mayo Clinic website, superbugs are “strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that are resistant to most of the antibiotics and other medications commonly used to treat the infections they cause.” Superbugs come first, from the massive improper use and overuse of antibiotics. Other causes include poor infection prevention and control practices, lack of proper sanitation, mishandling food (like in the Chinese markets from which COVID 19 came), and also from large segments of population groups either not receiving, or in some cases refusing, proven immunizations. Superbugs also mutate and create new strains of disease not previously seen.
The jury is still out as to whether or not the COVID 19 virus meets the classic definition of a “superbug”. Evidence is still being gathered. But we do know it is a virus, it is a new strain, it is dangerous, and it has occurred as a result of poor human behaviors. This is the world we live in today. This is the world we have created for ourselves. God didn’t do this, we did. And now, we’re experiencing the consequences of it.
I believe the question for us is not so much “Did God create and send the COVID 19 virus?” but rather, “Will He intervene and help us to stop it?” And the answer to that question I believe is “Yes, yes He will.” As proof I will close by offering a much-loved, often quoted, and very reassuring promise from the Old Testament:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14