Psalm 139:16; Hebrews 11:1; Ephesians 2:10
What if death is the doorway to something more extraordinary? What if death, or the end of life here on earth as we know it, is not considered a loss, but a gain of something wonderful?
Western medicine views death as defeat, rather than simply a part of a natural cycle. Sometimes we go to great lengths, spending millions of dollars keeping loved ones alive even if the outcome is a lousy quality of life, just so family “feels better.” What kind of love is that? This win/lose paradigm over life and death is ingrained in our language. Death is somehow the enemy. We say she “lost” the battle to cancer, or he “lost” the battle to Covid-19 as if it was the failure of all health care workers. (Have we elevated physicians to God-like status?) Perhaps it was simply the time for that loved one to pass from one realm to the next. We judge death as “too soon” when it’s unexpected, or when the deceased is a child, youth or under 30. Psalm 139:16 says “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” In other words, our Lord knows exactly how and when each of His followers will be ushered into heaven.
We will not live forever on this earth. We are mortal. God has given us a limited life span. More importantly, the Bible teaches that there is a heavenly realm that welcomes all believers. There is an afterlife so much better than this earthly life. None of us know exactly when or how we are going to die, and none of us want to suffer in death either, and that’s where fear comes from. We do not have control.
Therefore, if we believers remind ourselves of this truth, why are we so distraught by Covid-19 deaths and surges here, there and everywhere or the new “variant” now in Iowa, or the hysteria over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It’s always something. A steady diet of mass media brainwashes us into believing that the absolute worst tragedy is to get tagged by the covid boogey man.
A steady diet of mass media consumes us with such angst and sorrow over a fallen, sinful world. Some of us yearn to make it all better. Some of us yearn for justice and vindication. We are a culture addicted to knowing everything. Research. Understanding. Knowledge. We crave certainty and control. Where does trusting in the goodness of God fit into this chaos? It doesn’t. Choosing to trust in the goodness of God means we release our illusion of control and channel our energies into more serious issues.
The real crisis has not been an attack on our physical health via our lungs and/or immune systems, but an attack on our spiritual health and our attitude toward God. Our eternal destiny is hanging in the balance, and the loving, goodness of God doesn’t want us spending eternity without Him. He will use anything, including a virus, all 75 variants, to grab our attention. Can I have a halelujah?
After spending weeks reflecting and praying about year 2020 and the pandemic that is still far from over, I am confident that the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and us, has had specific purposes for it. Blessings have sprouted everywhere, but we are too busy complaining over how “awful” it has been to notice? I’m not trying to make light of personal tragedy and grief for those whose loved ones have died or suffered financial instability due to the pandemic. While my heart aches for all who have died, I also need to stand in the gap and begin the journey of thanking God for all the goodness that has come about from the pandemic even if I can’t see or understand it today. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1.
Please get vaccinated and continue mask wearing and social distancing as long as the CDC recommends it. Taking precautions is all well and good, but also understand that these measures aren’t the magic bullet solution either. This is another example of culture bowing to the altar of certainty and control. We want quick fixes and instant relief from all suffering. Last year, mass media convinced us that we were all going to die a horrible death due to the deadly virus. Now that thousands of us are vaccinated, everything is supposedly “all better.” Now we can go back to “normal lives.”
What if “normal” (pre Covid) wasn’t working for us and we didn’t realize it? And by “normal,” I’m referring to a complete disregard for God. What if God is working towards revival? What if God has been trying to wake believers up, and bring about much needed change to the universal Church?
Covid has changed the way we worship, what we worship, how we do business, the work-place, travel, healthcare, and most importantly, how we view community and our loved ones. Covid has changed everything. And maybe this has been the goodness of God all along.
What I do know is that the Lord has all authority, control and power to end the pandemic. I’m also confident that when all the fire and smoke over Covid has cooled, when we’re all breathing easier again and millions are vaccinated, new uncertainties will ignite. It strikes me as comical that religious leaders keep calling the pandemic “uncertain times.” Friends, we have been living in “uncertain times” ever since Eve took that first bite of forbidden fruit. T.D. Jakes has preached a powerful message on uncertainty. “If you are so full of self and your own opinions, there’s no room for the Holy Spirit to intercede. Uncertainty is painful. It’s uncomfortable to admit that we don’t know because we usually worship at the shrine of our own opinion. Experience beings you humility and humility brings you to I know not. You cannot worship or win when you’re in control.” Part of the goodness of God is his desire to take us to a place out of control so that He can begin a great work within us. Ephesians 2:10.
Our time of passing from this world to the next is in His loving control. The pandemic is in His control. Our job is to obey, grow in wisdom and understanding of His word, and love others as He loves us.