Introduction: I have carefully followed the news, the jokes, the fear, the panic, the uncertainty, the helplessness, the disappointments and the confusion that greeted the human race since the outbreak of corona virus. Like a joke, the reality of social distancing has come to stay as a means of avoiding being infected and combating the spread of the virus. In Europe and America, all forms of gatherings have been banned. Schools, Churches and mosques are shut down till further notice. On shutting down of Churches, Cardinal Thomas Collins called it a “painful moment in the life of the Church”, but hoped that the extreme measure will help stem the
“pandemic that has affected so many” around the world. James Smith, an American based Pastor grappled with the whole idea of shutting down the churches because of the pandemic staring at the world. According to him, since he was 17 years, now he is 55 years, he had spent his time and energy encouraging people to come together to worship. But at this time because of the fear of the spread of Corona Virus people are asked to desist from coming together for worship. Humanly speaking, it is understandable. It is the best thing that should be done, James admits. He however, raised an important question: Is Corona virus a Problem or an Opportunity for God’s Church? I will extend this question to the entire human race. : Is Corona virus a Problem or a Divine call to order? In order words, is God calling humanity to order?
Forced to stop and think!: Before the outbreak of the pandemic, everyone was busy planning for this or that, strategizing, calculating, booking appointments and so on. People were engrossed in their businesses, jobs, work, studies, travelling for vacation and attending conferences. Everything at the moment is put on a hold. Airlines have cancelled their flights, different countries of the world have closed their borders, Schools are shutdown, economic activities have been disrupted, public gatherings are prohibited and everyone is encouraged to stay at home. We are all forced by the reality of Corona virus to stop and think.
Who owns the world?: Thank God Health experts tell us that Corona Virus is not airborne. If it were, we can imagine what could have happened to world’s population. Although not airborne, we observe the struggle different countries are going through trying to stop the spread of the virus. At the moment, we are not interested in who is the world’s power? It is not a time to talk about who controls the economy of the world,
we are not looking at who is black or white and it is not about Christians or Muslims. Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen will not be our worries at this moment in Nigeria. Even the terrorist will be afraid of being infected with the virus. There is a natural ban on traveling, so our ‘Big Men’ in Nigeria will be forced to be around. What is at stake is our common humanity. We are all global citizens. No culture, no religion, no ethnicity is older than being human. There is need for the world to come to this understanding. From this stand point we can ask the question, who owns the world? Who are we all accountable to? Who in actual sense is the world’s power? Who truly controls the flow and governs the activities of the world?
A time to live by faith not by fear: This is not to be sarcastic. When it comes to precautions, let us do all within our power to take precautions. Let us faithfully abide by the idea of social distancing. In the end however, let us not allow what we hear, what is said on the media and the very many explanations about the corona virus instil fear, worries and anxiety in us. Let us live by faith not by fear. God is still in control. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). “Though a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, no harm will come near you” (Ps 91:7). “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps 23:4). In the final analysis, only God can save us and heal our world. The doctor dresses the wound and says, “Nature [God] heals it!”
There is going to be unwarranted rush for this or that, there is going to be natural and artificial scarcity, tension will arise from here and there, there is going to be all kinds of suggestions about what one can do to prevent being infected with corona virus, do not panic, live by faith and not by fear and take informed decisions.
James Smith, reflecting on the tension posed by the outbreak of corona virus wrote: “In every generation, the accuser has re-invented the same old story lines of doom and gloom. Only his tactics are more overt and have gotten more brash and unbelievable. Far too many have come to except defeat and live in a depressed and fear-based mentality. God knew there would be chaos and times of uncertainty in the world. That’s why God gave us a relevant Word, for every situation and for every generation!”
No matter what’s going on around you, God’s Word has the final authority. It’s the same yesterday, today and forever. All we need to do is to come before him in humility and ask for his mercy. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicle 7:14).
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