The COVID-19 virus has swept across our world like wildfire, taking thousands of lives and leaving many more seriously ill. We will look back at March 2020 as a historic moment, much like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, when our lives were changed forever.
According to The New York Post, China has reported that “patient zero” is likely a shrimp vendor in Wuhan, China. It’s almost unfathomable that a microbe that was transmitted from a tiny shrimp to a 57-year old woman could unleash this level of global disruption.
Now, in the midst of sickness, an increasing death toll, quarantines, job losses and bare grocery store shelves, people are asking the question, “Where is God in the midst of our suffering?”
And here at His friend’s tomb – even moments before He knew He would raise Lazarus – we see His anguish of soul in the presence of sin’s most gruesome banner: death. Already emotionally unhinged by Mary’s weeping at his feet, Jesus came to the tomb, and we read those two words that deserve their own verse: “Jesus wept” (v. 35). Death stands against God, against the world, against life, against hope, against possibilities.
The Lord of Life, He by whom and for whom “all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities” (Col. 1:16), now found himself overtaken by grief. More than grief, in fact: anger. And why not? There He stood face to face with “the last enemy” he would defeat in his crusade against Satan. And he “wept.”
The good news in all of this is that “the last enemy is death.” “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” That is the bad news. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:56). Triumph at last outruns, outspends, outstrips tragedy. But it does so at a painful cost.
Just as Jesus allowed Lazarus to die before He brought him back to life, we may not know at this time how God is using this pandemic to show His love and graciousness to a sinful, dying world through his Son, Jesus Christ.
The good news is that ultimately Jesus will defeat hunger, sickness and death because of His saving work on the cross. For those who belong to Him, He will dry every tear. He will right every wrong. And in looking back from eternity, we will know how God used this present trial to further His purposes.
What a comforting reminder that God does care for us, even in the midst of a pandemic. In becoming man, He understands our trials and will provide for us a way out of our present and future sufferings through His saving work the cross.
If you’d like to interview Dr. Michael Horton on this or any other topic, please let me know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org