You will not fear the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalm 91:6
Pastoral Thoughts on the Latest Supposed Pandemic
I'm not a doctor; nor do I play one on TV. But as a pastor and amatuer theologin, I want to bring some Scriptural guidance to the current germ infested world.
I give you six thoughts on dealing with plagues and pandemics in our day:
1. Wash your hands. Doesn't sound very spiritual does it? The truth is, the single best way to prevent sickness and disease was discovered 200 years ago. Using soap and water with a good lather helps prevent the spread of disease by over 50%.
Being that is so, the Christian's responsibility of love for neighbor and self can be as simple as taking about 20 seconds at the kitchen sink.
2. Don't live in fear. If I can rephrase the words of Jesus: Do not fear the germs that can kill the body, fear Him who can destroy the body and afterwards throw the soul in hell.
God's word teaches us to fear the living God, not the bacteria that He creates. With that attitude, we live boldly in a world filled with killer pathogens. Christians are light in a germaphobe infested world.
That being the case, if God calls you to be sick or die of a plague, so let it be. Glorify God in it; be bold and suffer well.
But don't cower in corners and refuse to live a normal, God honoring life in community because you may possibly, by chance, come in contact with a random microbiome which may or may not infect your system.
3. Don't Believe the Hype: The news media may be considered a plague in and of itself (This is why I steer clear of them and wash my hands of them for the most part).
Most news outlets love the sensational and the hype it can cause. For that reason, it's hardly ever clear what on their broadcasts is true. Exaggeration, bias, and the desire to get you to buy something from their sponsors often makes them less than a healthy source of information.
From what limited research I've done (and what limited information is available), the coronavirus is not anywhere as bad as the news has hyped it to be. A little googling and you'll see that the Corona is not that much different than the common flu. It may be slightly more contagious, but its symptoms and death rates are essentially equal.
So don't be quick to believe the latest headline promulgating the end of the world. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Above all, remember what Spurgeon said:
"Faith by cheering the heart keeps it free from the fear which, in times of pestilence, kills more than the plague itself."
4. God Protects the Righteous: God is sovereign over every single microorganism on the planet. What's more, His sovereignty is always kindly expressed towards His people. And ordinarily, God protects His people from plague and consumption.
That's what Psalm 91 teaches when it says, "For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence."
Of course, the Psalmist isn't teaching that God's people will never get sick or diseased or die. He's expressing the normal way God operates in this world: The Lord usually protects His people and the righteous will, by and large, be spared from the deadly woes.
It is noteworthy that those most highly affected by infectious disease are, ordinarily, those who are not living for God. To put it in the words of one commentator, those who tend to be victims of contagious diseases are the intemperate, the sensual, the debased, and foolish (...possibly the ones most unwilling to wash their hands?).
In sum, the wicked essentially bring God's destruction upon themselves as they have lifestyles that predispose them to these miseries. The godly, however, seek to live more nearly to God in all holiness and are frequently spared such sorrows.
5. God's people do get sick. No one is hermetically sealed from God's will. Job was one of the most righteous men on earth, but his health was not immune.
So, if God does bring illness into your life, it is because He has a purpose for it. Thus, it is a time to live for Him.
The Westminster Larger Catechism summarizes the Scripture on this point by saying we must "patiently bear the hand of God." That means, we must be patient in affliction, praise God for His mercies, and establish our hearts til the coming of the Lord.
Sickness is also a useful time of spiritual reflection. It is a time to remember that:
We are constantly dependent upon the Lord for our health/life.
We may have sinned and we need to repent (James 5:14f).
We have a future world, cleansed of sin & misery, which we anticipate.
The terrors of hell are much worse, and we have been spared the horrors of it.
Our brethren around the world suffer much greater tribulations, and we ought to pray for them.
6. Live & Die boldly. It's been mentioned before in these articles that so many in our world are afraid to die. The topic can hardly even be spoken of by those whose lives are so wrapped up in this world.
Not so for us. We who are in Christ can stare death in the eye and make him blink. We do not need to avoid it or dance around the topic. We may joyfully live because death is a welcome thing. We anticipate the world to come with great longing and happily draw nearer to Jesus.
Thus, we are lights and cities on a hill in a world haunted by hell and contamination. We will die boldy if God would will it and live heartily until His grace would bring it to an end.
You're 4 Years Old
A group of 9 families began meeting for evening services in March of 2016. It was the infancy of Hopewell, to be sure. But flip the calendar to 2020 and you'll find 16 families meeting together each week. Add in the young people who have turned 18 and entered adulthood and we have quite a testimony to the growth our God has granted us.
So blow out the candles, pin the tail on the donkey, praise God for His faithfulness, and party like you're ready to start riding a big boy bike.
Let's Celebrate with Food!
We invite you to join us for our monthly fellowship dinner this Sunday. The church will provide fried chicken (with a gluten free option). Families are asked to bring a side or dessert to share if able. Drinks and place settings will also be provided.