The Coronavirus Pandemic, an Act of God?
By Fr. Orlando J. Addison, Vicar
Holy Faith Episcopal Church. Port St. Lucie, Florida
You may have read or seen on social media; perhaps you may have also heard preachers say that the pandemic is an act of God to punish the world for disobedience. Others state the epidemic is a sign of end times. Are all these statements true? Are we been punished by God? Does God delight in the suffering and death of the people for which His Son gave up his life? Is the coronavirus pandemic a wakeup call? Is the world indeed coming to an end? These are tough questions in need of honest, Biblical answers. It is essential to address them with the truth and remove speculations.
It is not difficult to connect today's event with similar Biblical occurrences, particularly in the Old Testament, when God brought plagues and diseases on people, especially on His enemies. As we read Exodus 9:14, for example, it is hard not to see the parallel between what took place thousands of years ago in Egypt and what is going on today; God says, "For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth." In the book of Deuteronomy, God commanded his people to obey his commandments, and as a result of disobedience, the Lord promised to punish transgressors with plagues and illnesses. Here is what we read in Deuteronomy 28:22, "The Lord will afflict you with consumption, fever, inflammation, with fiery heat and drought, and with blight and mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish." As I mentioned above, it is not difficult to connect these statements with what's going on right now in our world and the nation.
If you believe the words of false prophets blowing their horns on social media and proclaiming false prophecies from the pulpit, then you have reasons to be afraid, worried, and concern. However, if you believe the word of God, through Jesus, then there is nothing to be alarmed, Jesus represents the new world, the new Jerusalem, the new Heaven. What God proclaimed in the Old Testament represents a time long gone. Jesus is the embodiment of the New Testament, the new covenant, the new law. There are no diseases nor plagues on earth that He cannot defeat. He has the power to heal every disease and every sickness on earth, including the coronavirus. In the Old Testament, God showed His power through inflicting diseases and plagues on his people and enemies; in the New Testament, Jesus showed love by healing the people he came to save.
There is no absolute way to know if God's anger caused the coronavirus pandemic due to our disobedience. By admitting this hypothesis, we might be speculating with God's intention. What we do know is that God, through Jesus, has total control over His creation. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, 8:28, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."
We cannot connect the coronavirus pandemic with the end times because no one knows precisely when the end will come. The event of the end times is directly connected with the return of Jesus, and since we don't know exactly when Jesus is coming, making this assumption turns us into liars, and many will use it to manipulate God's people.
Our faith informs us that the pandemic is not a result of God's punishment for our disobedience. God is not the only one who can inflict illnesses on people; the Devil also has the power to do so, read the Book of Job to learn more about this. Instead, it is an opportunity for us to stop and reflect on our relationship with God, as well as with one another. It has given us opportunities to spend time with the Bible, to connect intimately with Jesus, to be with family, and appreciate areas in our life we once neglected.
Therefore, do not panic; it is not the end of the world; God has control over this pandemic, your life, and the world. Although the coronavirus is still out there infecting and killing people, it is essential that you be wise and continue to follow the CDC's guidelines, to avoid exposure to this disease and to keep your family safe. As Christians, let us take this opportunity to do ministry by reaching out to those who are in need, praying for those who are sick, and those who have lost loved ones. Saying thanks to those who endanger their lives to save ours; and by being bold and faithful on sharing the Gospel of love proclaimed by Jesus Christ.