God, Why Coronavirus?

It has been two months and counting as our community and the world have been shaken by the Coronavirus.  Governments, businesses, churches, and homes have all been affected by the social, economic, and physical burdens of the virus.  We are filled with questions.  When will things return to normal?  Will we have a new normal?  Why is this happening?  How can we be better prepared next time?  What does the future look like?  I am sure there are many other questions you are asking too.
As we press forward, let us read what the Bible, God’s Word, says about times like these.  I turn to Luke 13:1-5, There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” 

Jesus has been ministering to the people for some time and has preached repentance and the coming kingdom of God.  There were some present who shared news with Jesus that some Galileans were killed at the temple by Pilate the Roman governor, and their blood was mixed with the sacrifices.  The Galileans were considered revolutionaries – they wanted to be rid of Rome, and they made an enemy.  Jesus recognized the assumption in the people’s report.  They assumed these Galileans were worse sinners than others, which is why they were punished, right?

“No, I tell you,” Jesus said, “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  Those are strong words from our Lord.  Jesus warned the people about their own sin and the destruction it brings.  Jesus goes on to explain that when the tower of Siloam fell, and 18 bystanders were killed. It was not because they were worse offenders.  Jesus again warned them against the destructive nature of sin, and they needed to repent. 

This passage describes two horrible tragedies.  One was the result of an evil governor executing unjustly the lives of his enemies.  The other tragedy was an accident – an unfortunate event that claimed the lives of 18 people without blame.  What can we learn from this passage in our time today? 

  1. Sin is destructive. Sin is rebellion against God.  God is holy, good, and perfect.  Rebelling against Him is to choose what is unholy, bad, and imperfect.  Sin has cursed God’s creation including the crown of His creation, man, and woman.  Under this curse we experience the degrading effects of sin like pandemics and other tragedies.  Sin does not improve, support, or give life.  It worsens, tears down, and takes away.  Our world does not just seem bent toward wrong and evil.  It is bent toward wrong and evil.  (See James 1:15)

  2. We are all broken in sin. Romans 3:12 says, “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  Sin leaves us worthless, and what we think is good falls short of God’s holy standard.  We suffer from sin.  We stagnate and spoil in sin.  We think our good works are enough to make things right.  We justify our thoughts and actions, so we feel good about ourselves, but deep down we know something is still missing.
  3. Jesus came to rescue us from sin. What great news!  Jesus, God himself, has come to our rescue.  From the beginning God knew that we could not do anything to make ourselves right with him.  We will always fall short of his holiness and goodness.  No mere human can fulfill the law (Romans 3:20).  But God is able.  Jesus came, lived a sinless life for us, died in our place, taking our punishment for sin.  He rose again from the dead overcoming the penalty and power of sin over you and me.  He offers his own righteous life to us as a gift of grace.  We simply believe in God and surrender our will to His. 

  4. Tragedies and hard times point us toward Jesus. In Luke 13, Jesus reminds the people of their sin.  He explains that these tragedies, much like the Coronavirus today, reminds us of the broken world we live in.  It reflects the sin in our own lives, our inability to control life and death, and our need for God’s redeeming power in our hearts.  Jesus hears the news of tragedy and tells us to repent – to turn away from sin and turn to the One who has overcome and offers life eternal. 

  5. God will work good things from bad circumstances. God works through even tragedies.  In this world we are faced with many troubles that we cannot overcome on our own.  If I am left to my own devices, I will certainly make things worse.  But when I know God and trust His way I am assured of good things.  God is constantly at work in our lives to restore us to Himself.  He will forge us through our tragedies, and we will come out as pure gold (Job 23:10)

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