As an infection specialist for over 30 years, I have learned a lot about germs and the diseases they impart on humans—from mono to E. coli to HIV to septic shock to meningitis and flu. Now we have coronavirus, just another plague for mankind. There will be others to follow, for sure. So far, it pales in comparison to more serious ones that have decimated peoples from all culture groups. All to test the resilience of men an women. If you are a believer, you should be asking yourself, why God?
This coronavirus strain may be novel, but the millions and millions of deaths that viruses like it have caused over thousands of years is nothing new. At least now we have some science at our fingertips to understand how to defend ourselves against coronavirus in the future.
Today is a continuation of my last blog on the problem of sickness and the coronavirus. If you missed the last two blogs on sickness, go back and check them.
Big picture—what can we learn from sickness—in this case the noxious COVID that kills off feeble humans at an alarming rate? But forget about coronavirus– it could be cancer, dementia, stroke, heart attacks, or the complications of diabetes too. There are thousands of other sicknesses. COVID is simply a capitulation. We have pandemics of obesity, alcoholism, smoking, (to name a few) and we humans don’t bat an eye. Why now?
1) Sickness can no doubt be very trying to our flesh and blood. Rather than swear at it, we can learn to bear it patiently. This is the hardest because we like to fight. Proverbs 16:32a say “Better a patient man than a warrior.” Learn to turn to God first, your Comforter! Learn to utterly rely on him alone in difficulty! Ask for his guidance.
2) Sickness gives us who are healthy a chance to help our fellowman. There is a call-to-duty here. “Carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Jesus himself was about “going about doing good” to the sick and healing (Acts 10:38). Do anything you can to help those in need. Act on your Christian principles.
3) Either you have a soul or you do not. You will surely never deny that you have one. Eternity was placed into the heart of all men and women. They know that their souls will go on forever. If you don’t know Christ, turn to him without delay, and be saved for eternity.
4) If you are the one who is sick, you can put yourself in God’s hands. Be a patient sufferer. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).
5) Sickness makes believers more like their Lord in experience, than health. “Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17). Jesus was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Our goal is to imitate Christ, but in his suffering also, you ask? Yes.
A few more sicknesses, and few more funerals, and your own will take place–someday– medicines, friends, hearing, eyesight, earthly miracles, the power of prayer, will fail us. The world will melt before us. Eternity will be looming large. Nothing will enable us to feel “I fear no evil” (Psalms 23:4), except a close communion with Jesus Christ.
“Cleave to Jesus more closely, love him more heartily, live for him more thoroughly, copy him more exactly, confess him more boldly, and follow him more fully.” (-J.C. Ryle, Christian bishop)
What did the wisest man who ever lived say about the topic of illness, disease, and death? Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 7:2— “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every person; the living should take this to heart.”
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