An invisible virus has affected the entire world. As human beings we are subject to the rapid contagion of COVID-19, also known as “The Corona virus.” This virus lingers on physical objects for days. It can be passed through human contact and travels aimlessly throughout the air we breathe. A simple conversation between friends can spread germs that ultimately may cause untimely deaths. This virus is no respecter of persons. It circumvents one’s socioeconomic status, it supersedes fame, it bypasses preexisting medical conditions, and overlooks age, gender and race. The virus has a specific agenda and at the completion of its meeting with humans, its course of action is pain and suffering.
The onset of the news of COVID-19 has produced several invisible by-products, such as panic, anxiety and fear, which have infected the minds of many people in a negative way. The inception of negative thoughts can be rooted in several ways: the fear of the unknown, the inability to be able to control the virus, the urgent stay at home order and the immediate need for social distancing. Rapid social interactive changes and constraints have forced people to refer to their day to day virtual exchanges of communication as “the new normal.” However, there is nothing normal about constant isolation. As humans, we were created to love and help one another, especially during times of distress.
Due to the pandemic, many schools, arenas and places of businesses have shut down; from Broadway Theaters in New York City, to the Staples Center in Los Angeles California. There are no more sporting events, no more plays, and no more open movie theaters. Airports are shut down and even the doors of the church have been closed causing church leaders to stream their services virtually. Many Christians believe that there is still a need to gather in a physical building. Some churches have gone against the grain, defying the social distancing order and have continued to meet as a demonstration of their faith. Nevertheless, a higher level of faith is required to preach to a camera and an empty sanctuary, than to a room full of active participants. However, the virus does not discriminate and many leaders, full of confidence, have crossed paths with death and become absent with the body and present with the Lord, proving that one can have faith, but lack wisdom and proper discernment of the times.
“Now faith is the substance or things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew 11:1). We cannot see the Corona virus with the human eye, but the nation’s increasing death toll is steadily rising and that provides evidence that the virus is indeed real. The Corona virus is worldwide, but so is the omnipresence of God. The virus is highly contagious, but so is faith in Christ and hope in his saving power. Although there is an elevated amount of uncertainty currently sweeping the world, this is the time for true believers to put their faith and trust in a God that is certain. “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7). Can you imagine… an invisible virus caused many to use their invisible faith and believe in an invisible God? Although there is no current cure for COVID-19, there is a cure for fear and that cure is infectious faith, hope and love.
“Now faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” If I listen to the news, podcasts, Facebook, Instagram, and my worried grandmother on the phone and all I hear is “CORONA VIRUS” or “200 people are dead today,” and “10 million people filed for unemployment” as my constant listening diet, what room does that leave for my faith to digest? It is imperative to counter those unhealthy media messages with the unprocessed word of God: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). “Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalms 34:18). The Corona virus is beyond our control and it is spreading throughout the world, but we must all strive to make our faith just as infectious. The only cure for fear is the presence of faith and our only deliverance from COVID-19 is to put our unwavering hope and trust in the healing power of God.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain undeniable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is included in The Declaration of Independence (US 1776.)”
The truth is the world got it wrong. Something that God quickly began to teach me as I attempted to watch the well-known movie The Pursuit of Happiness. As we embark on what is easily the most hostile election year to date, it is evident we need to pursue what Jesus instructed from the first day of his ministry. We need to pursue the Kingdom of God.
As Christians, too often we associate ourselves and our circumstances with the pursuit of things that make us happy or feel good. This takes us away from the purpose of God in our lives. Happiness by definition comes from the root word, hap – which means luck, chance, or fortune. This sets the way to create an idol in our lives, one that causes us to focus on the pleasures of life and the circumstances that surround them. Take note this is something God clearly speaks about in Isaiah 65:8-12. This is even true when it comes to the election and voting for a person who makes you feel good, or even secure and happy, not necessarily what lines up with the will of God.
Does that mean that God’s will is for us to never be happy? By no means. Quite the opposite in fact. God wants us to be happy. Jesus preaches it very much so in Matt 5:3-12 commonly known as the beatitudes. Take note, however, this sermon is preached as characteristics for those who have entered into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). ‘Blessed’ in Greek means happy and in Aramaic means prosperous. What does that mean for us? It means that in order to be really happy (blessed), we need to pursue God and His Kingdom. Deeper than that, seeking God, staying in His will, produces joy, and that is something that is not dependent on circumstances, it is indwelling and solely dependent upon God.