We are living in unprecedented times right now. The whole world is engaged in a war, not with each other, but against a common enemy that has no regard for race or nationality. A virus is wreaking havoc and killing tens of thousands of individuals, most notably the elderly, in a very short amount of time.
World leaders, along with state and local governments, are working together attempting to save human lives, while at the same time, keep the world’s economy from collapsing. People are instructed to stay home. Workplaces have closed. Entertainment and all other non-essential venues have been shut down. Economic markets have plummeted. Countries and people have banded together to try and stop the spread of this contagion.
We are warned that it could be months before our lives can resume a semblance of normalcy. And even then, what will normal look like? We are told that the economy is strong and will bounce back, but who knows for sure? From a human perspective, the situation looks bleak.
Does it help to get upset and fight against the system? No. Our leaders are doing everything that they can to mitigate this situation. They have an extremely difficult job to do. It is impossible to know how much is too much to minimize fatalities without completely destroying the world’s economy. They walk a fine line and gather as much information as they can to make predictions. But in the end, nobody but God knows what will happen. Our leaders must make decisions that effect our country and the world as a whole. If they are too aggressive, people die. If they are too conservative, the economy is destroyed and our nation slides into a recession that potentially takes year’s to recover.
We are best suited trusting our elected officials, and in the meantime, using common sense and following hygiene guidelines and recommendations to minimize the negative impact of the spread of this virus. Being patient and courteous with one another helps to lessen tension. But we are warned that the situation will get worse before it gets better. How much worse partially depends on how well we can all work together to make the best of the situation.
What I do know is that God is in control. I don’t know why he has allowed this virus to run rampant around the globe, but it is not the first and will not be the last of such trials that we have to endure.
Shortly after my accident, I found this passage of Scripture that provided comfort that I have clung to since that time:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13–15, ESV)
As a child, I learned about God, how He worked in the past, and how Scripture points toward future prophetic fulfillment. Through this passage, God gave me an eternal perspective that encouraged me never to give up. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
We were all made for eternity. While we all had a beginning at conception, our lives from that point on will have no end. Even if we would manage to live 150 years on earth, that amount of time is like a mist that quickly vanishes compared with the eternity for which we were created. While recognizing that time and eternity have no direct correlation, as eternity is outside time, I like to use the example of a yardstick to represent a comparison of time to eternity. Imagine eternity as a yardstick extending out with no end in either direction. The timeline of our entire created universe could be represented by a fraction of one of the measurement marks on the stick, with each of our lives merely a blip on the radar.
An eternal perspective enables me to endure knowing that all of life on earth is temporary, and we have yet to experience the awesome reality for which we were created. It puts all of our accomplishments and trials into perspective and minimizes the importance of anything that we are faced with during our earthly lives except for those things that are done with eternal ramification.
The apostle Paul had the right perspective knowing that our sufferings are nothing compared with our eternal future glory.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 ESV)
This virus is no different than anything else. Like all things in this created world, it is temporary. For some, the end of the tragedy will be death. There is no escaping that fact, but for most, life will go on. The Bible teaches that because of sin, we live in a corrupt and decaying world. The effects of this virus are evidence of that. Because of sin, we are eternally separated from God. It is destined for every human being to die physically at some point. We don’t know if we will have another day or even another hour. When our time on earth comes to an end, we will each enter an eternal home.
Because of each individual’s sin nature, we all deserve to spend eternity in hell. But God loves us and, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, provided the means to atone for every wrong committed against Him for all time. Through Jesus, God provided salvation and eternal life as a gift for everyone who is willing to accept it. Those who accept God’s gift will live eternally in His presence in heaven. Those who don’t will remain in their sin and eternally separated from God in hell.
So while the immediate virus situation is bad, be patient, and wait it out. Whether it takes three weeks or six months, it is a temporary inconvenience. Whether the economy bounces back quickly or takes years to recover, it is all only temporary. Do everything that you can to practice social distancing to ease tensions and minimize its spread.
Of infinitely greater importance, however, is one’s relationship with Jesus. I know that if I contracted COVID-19 and died today, I would immediately find myself in the presence of God and in a much better place than I am now. I long for that day, however, I am content to wait on God’s timing to bring me home. In the meantime, I live each day to the glory of God.
How about you? Is your eternal destiny secure? Both the glories of heaven in the presence of God and the atrocities of hell in His absence will make your worst earthly trials look like nothing. Where you spend eternity is your choice, based entirely on your response to God’s gift and your relationship with Him through the person of Jesus Christ. It is out of loving concern for your eternal well-being that I urge to not wait. Reconcile your relationship with God today.