A few days ago as I scrolled through the television channels, I came across a very well known televangelist. Of course, he was using his platform to speak about the Covid-19 pandemic. In his sermon, he was blurring together the virus and Satan. This televangelist was rebuking the virus, casting it away in the name of Jesus. At one point, the preacher exclaimed, “And we know that God will crush your head Covid-19, just like he did to you in the garden of Eden.” The immediate thought that went through my head was literally, “Wait…what?”
I’d had my fill of daily heresy for the morning, so I turned off the television and decided to see what was happening in the world of social media. As I scrolled through the land of Facebook, I was shocked to see that many people held the same theology as the train wreck of a message that I had just witnessed from the televangelist. Numerous people were posting messages that said things like, “I am binding the devil and Covid-19 from my home!” Another posting stated, “Praying God’s power against this satanic plague.”
I concluded that one of three things was happening. One; I had just entered the Twilight Zone. Two; That televangelist must have a massive following. Or three; There are many people who are not reading their Bibles.
As we see through the pages of scripture, it is not Satan who commands pestilence and plagues. It is the Lord who sends them. That televangelist who prayed for God to “Crush the head” of this pandemic was actually ascribing more power to Satan than he actually has.
“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7.
When we read the book of Exodus wherein God sends the ten plagues against Pharaoh, we give a hardy thumbs up to the fact that God sends plagues to judge evil men. But when trials like a plague come upon us in modern times, by default we all view ourselves to be “good people.” Therefore, in our default thinking, we consider this current plague must be from Satan, because God would never send something like Covid-19 upon His people! Much less would He use a pandemic for good!
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. …” James 1:2-8.
You see, God sends things like a pandemic not always as a means to judge His people, but to strengthen their dependence on Him.
A sharp blade can be used for good or it can be used for evil. If a thief mugged you in a dark alley and held up a knife to your face, his intent would be to harm you and to take from you. Sadly, many believers view the Coronavirus as a knife in the hands of the devil that is being used to greatly harm and take from God’s people.
But a blade can also be used for good and to save lives. Consider someone who has a cancerous tumor. Their doctor tells them that in order to remove the cancer, he must utilize the painful and very traumatic procedure of using a scalpel to cut out the tumor. Although the scalpel will most definitely do external damage to the patient’s body as it cuts through their flesh, it is a necessary tool of the surgeon used for the good of his patient in removing the internal tumor.
We must remember as God’s people that Covid-19 is the necessary scalpel of the Lord, our great physician, that is being used for the good of His people in removing their growing dependence on the cancer of the world and strengthening their faith in Christ. It would be crazy to call an earthly doctor’s scalpel evil, because we know that it is a tool used for good.
The Coronavirus is the spiritual blade that is being used as a doctor would wield his scalpel to remove a cancer from his people, not as a violent thief looking to take and harm.
We need to remember the character of our God in times like these. We know that God is good. God is just. And all that the Lord does is for the good of His people and the glory of His Son. Therefore when we enter into painful times, we don’t interpret our circumstances by beginning with ourselves. We begin by remembering the character of God.
If we truly believe that He is our Great Physician that does all things for our good, then we can look at things like Covid-19 not as a violent knife that intends to hurt God’s people, but as a loving scalpel that is intended to strengthen God’s people.
We do not know why God has sent Covid-19. However, it is not the place of God’s people to speculate and theorize as to the purposes of the Lord. We are called to rest in knowing who God is. We are to rest in His Holy attributes as our comfort. We are to remember that God does all things for good. And we are to let things like a pandemic press the church into personal repentance and joyful proclamation.
In closing, consider Job. God allows Satan to inflict misery upon Job throughout the whole book. The death of Job’s family, the plague upon his body, and the loss of his fortune were all part of the spiritual surgery that God was performing on Job internally. All of his afflictions were not meant to harm Job, but to bring him into a deeper knowledge of his Creator. How do I know this? Let’s read one of the concluding statements of Job as he looks back at the tragedies of his life.
“I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” Job 42:5.
Job had heard about the Lord, but he says that it took the pain of losing his loved ones, it took a plague being sent upon his body, and it took a great economic loss for Job to truly see the Lord as sovereign, providential, and loving.
I had HEARD of you Lord. But now I SEE You.
It took the Lord using a spiritual scalpel externally upon the life of Job to remove the proverbial internal tumors that had hindered the strength of his faith. As a result, Job grew to know the Lord in a much deeper way than previously when everything was going great in his life.
My question to us today is, “Do we really think the purposes of God change for the people of God in our 21st century context?” The greatest comfort that we have is that God is immutable. He is unchanging. And when we seek to understand the hand of God in our world today, we need not listen to the televangelist on the television, but read and recall the ways of God through His Word. God uses all things, good and bad, for the good of those who love Him and the glory of His Son (Romans 8:28).
Is Covid-19 a violent knife or a loving scalpel? Viewing the world through a Biblical perspective changes everything.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15.