By Rikus Jansen
Currently, the majority of the people in the world are finding themselves in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. People are feeling frustrated, confused, and scared. I would image some may be asking: “Why is this happening and what is God’s hand in all of this?”
In this article, I want to explore God’s hand in this pandemic. Did God cause Covid-19 pandemic to punish the world?
I have seen articles on various media platforms where it is stated that the virus is caused by 5G or it is because of Chinese biological warfare, or people who ate bats and even that it is the signs of the times and God sending a message, similar to an article found on Joy News’ website.
To look into this, I want to focus on the following points:
- Is this virus the sign of the times?
- Is it God’s hand that caused this or is it human hands that are behind this?
Sign of the times
Many Christians will recognise or have an idea of what is meant by the signs of the times. The scriptures that usually would be referenced to are:
- Matthew 24
- Luke 21:5-37
Key points out of the two above readings to take note of are:
- Matthew 24:5 Warning against false messiahs.
- Matthew 24:6 “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars”
- Matthew 24:9 “You will be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me”
- Matthew 24:11” …many false prophets will appear and deceive many people”
- Matthew 24:12 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”
- Luke 21:10 “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”
- Luke 21:11 “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
If we reflect on the points above, it does seem to match very closely the situation in the world today. Constant wars, lots of earthquakes and storms. People seem to be more self-centered and wicked. There are famines and diseases all over the world: Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Swine Flu and Covid-19, to mention but a few.
I am sure that people thought the same things during the First World War and even the second, that it was the signs of the time. The reality is that Matthew 24:8 gives us a very important clue. It states that “All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Jesus used this analogy to let the disciples and ourselves understand that when we see these things, it is only the beginning, as the start of birth pains, and birth pains can be quick until the baby is born or labour can go on for hours. Therefore, the signs of the times could have started even before the Middle Ages, and as the labour pains get worse the closer the contractions are, the worse it is getting.
No one knows how long this is going to go on, but yes, all these things are the signs of the times.
God’s hand in Covid-19
Now, what does bother me a bit is when words like “God is giving us a sign” are used in a way that could suggest that God has caused this disaster to happen.
If we read the words of Jesus carefully, where does he say, “… and the Father will send pestilence and famine?” Nowhere does he say the Father will cause war. Nowhere does he say the father will cause earthquakes.
The reality is that we as humanity find ourselves where we are because of our own doing!
In Genesis 1:26 we learn that God created humankind with a plan, and this plan included to have dominion over the earth. From Genesis 2 we get a message that this dominion means to take care of, not to abuse the earth. Yet, due to our sinful nature and greed, we have abused the earth. Now we find a world that is polluted and causing people and animals to suffer as a result.
In Exodus 12:9, God instructs the Hebrews not to eat meat that is not thoroughly cooked, but rather roasted over a fire. This seems to be an instruction to make sure that the bacteria and viruses that could cause disease are completely destroyed.
Then, in recent history, we have thrown God out of our schools and our “secular” lives, stating that God does not belong there or any part of our daily lives; God can only do what we as humanity request and not be part of every aspect of our lives. Therefore, as God did with the Israelites when they turned away from Him, which was to remove His hand of protection, so has he done that to us. At least we know that He never removed His hand of protection from those who kept true to God’s covenant, for example, Daniel and Jeremiah. Thus, God may have removed His hand from humanity as we keep rejecting Him, but for those of us who stay true in Christ, God is still with us.
If Covid-19 was a lab experiment gone wrong or biological warfare, it is due to humanity’s sin and greed. If it is a result of uncleaned foods being eaten and not cooked properly, it is because of not using the wisdom God had provided through His word. But this state of the world is not God’s work, but our own.
The good news is that it is not too late to turn back to God. As we learn from the Old Testament, God is merciful. John 3:16 tells us how much God loves us. Let us all turn back to God and let Him be part of every aspect of our lives.
When the lockdown is over, let us not go back to the old ways, but stop living greedy lives. I pray that governments and leaders will stop being greedy and truly serve their people. I pray that industries will not operate for greedy profits, but that the world will consume what is needed and stop using the earth resources to fill our greed.