This a time of anxiety and confusion for many as we follow the advice of the government and self isolate. Food and basic household items such as toilet paper are no longer so easy to get hold of. News of hospitals across the world struggling to keep up with the spread of the virus can overwhelm us. Many are struggling to keep children entertained or battling isolation and loneliness. And many are wondering where God is in all of this?
"Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay." - Romans 8:20-21
These verse remind us that, firstly, all creation is under God's curse and humanity is responsible for this horrific state of affairs because we live in a world which long ago chose to replace worshipping God with worshipping possessions, power and pleasure. Sadly, you even find this today in churches. When humans abandoned God, the effect on all of us was catastrophic: the world became a place of danger, disease, decay and death. Covid-19, just like other deadly diseases such as rabies, smallpox and meningitis, is a powerful reminder that we are not immortal and will one day face our creator. God is in the Covid-19 crisis as He corrects our tendency to live like we are immortal.
Secondly, these verses encourage us to hope. The author, Paul, is describing creation as if it were a human with a mind and heart. Creation didn't desire to be cursed but it does look forward with 'eager hope' to a better time of 'glorious freedom from death and decay.' Paul is talking here about the new creation. When God will end this cursed universe and create a new creation without danger, disease, decay or death. God is in the Covid-19 crisis as He coaxes us to focus on the glorious future of the new creation.
Finally, these verses challenge us to recognise that the glorious freedom from death and decay belongs solely to God's children as their inheritance. When we follow Jesus we are more than followers, even more than His disciples, we become His brothers and sisters, sharing in His moral goodness (righteousness), His death, the power of His resurrection and all the privileges of His inheritance for eternity. God is in the Covid-19 crisis as He challenges us to live as His children, free from the fear that neither decay nor death can destroy us.
God is in the Covid-19 crisis as He corrects our tendency to live like we are immortal. So, let's follow the government self-isolation and social distancing guidance strictly as the best way to care for ourselves and the elderly and vulnerable around us - and let's reshape how we spend our time, focusing on prayer and fellowship instead of possessions, power and pleasure remembering that all we have that is not eternal will one day be dust. God is in the Covid-19 crisis as He coaxes us to focus on the glorious future of the new creation. So, let's show each other and our unbelieving friends that we are people confident of our future by not acting in a selfish, rude or panicky way such as arguing with our families in the claustrophobic atmosphere of homes in lockdown. God is in the Covid-19 crisis as He challenges us to live as His children, free from the fear that neither decay nor death can destroy us. So let's love each other with encouraging texts, phone calls and zoom meetings.
By Senior Pastor Arni Pelosi
Arni Pelosi was the Senior Pastor of Longheath Baptist Church for 9 years and has been in Church Leadership for over 18 years.