It has Arrived
The coronavirus has come; particularly the strain known as Covid-19. If you are reading this from Nigeria, or perhaps another location in Africa, you do not have to be concerned about what I am saying at the moment. This is because I am writing this from my basement office in Canada and, despite being a contagious virus, it cannot be transmitted over the internet!
Here in Canada, the number of those being infected with the virus is going up every day. This is also the situation in most other parts of the world. So far, Covid-19 has only touched down in Africa here and there. Let us pray that it stays that way and does not arrive on the shores of the beautiful continent in greater numbers as it has in most other places.
But, what if it does? What if coronavirus begins to spread across Africa?
As Christians, how are we to respond to times of crisis like this? Many here in North America are fearful and are clamouring to stores in order to stock up on large quantities of products such as toilet paper (which is odd as Covid-19 is not reported to cause an increase in bathroom use!) and hand sanitizer as businesses stop their operations and borders are closed.
The Christian’s Duty
As Christians, our trust must be in the Lord our God. In a time of fear and danger David begins Psalm 11 by saying, “In the Lord I take refuge.” David trusts God because he knows that the Lord is sovereign over all the happenings on the earth. The apostle Paul says this very thing in 1 Corinthians 10:26, “For ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.” Here Paul is declaring that all the earth belongs to God and all that happens in it. This includes the coronavirus. If he was not sovereign over things like the coronavirus our prayers would be useless. Instead, our God has the power to not only hear our prayers, but also answer them.
One key point when talking about the sovereignty of God is that God is not the author of sin. Psalm 92:15 says, “…the Lord is upright, he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Indeed, God is just (2 Chron 19:7) and good (Luke 18:19). Yet, all things come by the hand of God.
It is interesting that Paul is the one to declare God’s power in his first letter to the Corinthian church, because Paul himself suffered through many hardships as a Christian. After listing a numbers of ways in which he was subject to violence at the hand of his persecutors, because he preached the gospel, Paul continued to list his hardships in 2 Corinthians 11:26-27, “…on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure”. Paul suffered much for the gospel, likely even sickness, and he did so with contentment and even joy. Why? He answers this question a few verses later, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
Dear Christian, we live in a world of uncertainty and hardship. Let your trust be in the Lord Jesus Christ alone, our source of strength. He is God. All things were created by Christ Jesus (Hebrews 1:2) and through him all things exist (Heb 2:10). He is also man, and he sympathizes with our weakness, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). Trust in Christ, he died on the cross to remove the guilt and to satisfy the wrath of God against the sins of all those who put their trust in him. He did that in order to bring them, his church, to be with him in glory forever.
What if the coronavirus comes to Africa?
If this virus comes to Africa do not fear; do not panic like so many here in North America who only have this life to cling to. As Christians, we are to be good stewards over our life and therefore we must be responsible and do the things needed to protect ourselves and others from harm. This may include washing our hands often, keeping a reasonable distance from people, and even self-isolate at home to prevent others from being infected if possible.
As Christians though, we must not fear. We must take this opportunity to be witnesses of the goodness and glory of our Triune God through times of hardship. In all things we must glorify God and place our trust in him. If you are a Christian today and trust in Jesus Christ for your life and future, then you can rest confident no matter what providence comes in your life.
I will close with words written by Paul, the one who suffered so much for Christ and who was used by God to bring these wonderful words of comfort to us. Think about them. May they give you comfort when hardship comes to you.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor power, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
 Scripture Quotations Are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a Publishing Ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.