The coronavirus is evil. God did not cause it. But He has most definitely allowed it because He knows that eternal good will come from it. He knows that the Kingdom of God will win through this, and the kingdom of darkness will not.
I wanted to share 5 blessings that I am reminded of especially at this time.
1. Satan has been defeated forever
Maybe this should not be point #1. But since our human instincts are so easily affected by bad news, it's good to know at the very outset that Satan is defeated. There is no evil power or principality that can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38-39).
Satan only wins if I am infected by sin; he does not win at all if I am infected or even die because of the coronavirus. Because of Jesus, the devil is now just a roaring lion – he has been permanently chained, declawed and rendered toothless for every Christian. So the only weapon Satan now has is his roar – and he seeks to deceive and make us afraid with his roar.
It is a blessing for every Christian to see the true defeated condition of the devil. The Holy God who is my Heavenly Father is the only One I will fear (Isaiah 8:13; 1 Peter 1:17). I will direct my fear completely to those sins that I am not repenting of and am not forsaking – because unaddressed sins will surely lead me to hell.
2. Jesus and His Kingdom has gained
Even from just my personal circle, Jesus and the kingdom of God has gained already.
Jesus gave up everything He had in heaven to gain souls and their holiness. And for those who live in darkness, the fear of death can remind them of their sins and a holy God that they will face.
I personally know of people who have repented and chosen to recommit their lives at this time to follow Jesus. And I am sure we will find that there were people who died as a result of the coronavirus, but who repented and surrendered their lives to Jesus because they realized that they were dying. These people might never have had an opportunity to repent and surrender their lives to Jesus if they had died in a sudden car crash.
So eternal good has definitely come from this evil. And I can join the host of angels in rejoicing over that and rooting for even more souls to be brought to Christ!
3. Marriages and family lives have been strengthened
The U.S. and other countries like India, China, the U.K., have enforced strong "Shelter In Place" restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. As a result, people are forced to remain in their homes and spend more time with their spouses and their children.
Probably not all families have grown stronger as a result, but some have. I myself have been able to spend much more time with my wife and my children. And I have been able to enjoy extra-special times with them, playing with them, and engaging with them in between my work and their school activities. The "worst" that my family experiences is that we are restricted in our social activities. But I am with my family all day, and with an abundance of resources to help me. That is all positive! So for me, the coronavirus has helped build up my family.
The devil has a special hatred for marriage and families. God uses marriage (the church is the Bride) and family (we are His children) to describe His relationship with us. And since these two things have been entrusted to humans, the devil has sought to wreck special havoc here. That is why we see so much of a breakdown and assault on marriages and the family unit.
So while the coronavirus has restricted the activities of many families, I believe that the Lord is using this to bring much-needed healing and strength to struggling marriages and families. I am deeply thankful for this unique blessing from the Lord.
Malachi 4:5-6 (The Living Bible) - I will send you another prophet like Elijah (in the New Covenant, the Body of Christ is the "one new man") before the coming of the great and dreadful judgment of God. His preaching will bring fathers and children together again, to be of one mind and heart, for they will know that if they do not repent, I will come and utterly destroy their land.
4. The persecuted church is feeling relief
In countries like China and India, we know that Christians face persecution. Religious fervor and state oppression has increased in recent years. I am sure Christians there have been praying for relief - from staunch religious and atheistic fanatics. And the Christians there have probably wondered how and when relief would come.
With "shelter in place" guidelines, people are forced to remain in their homes. As a result, there is less oppression of Christians from religious fanatics who go out of their way to stir up trouble.
For this too, I rejoice. What amounts to trivial inconveniences for me, are massive reliefs for my precious brothers and sisters in the Lord.
5. A sobering recognition of the weakness of my flesh
I praise God for several Christian sermons and articles and blogs that have exhorted me to guard against the sins of fear and worry. Fear and anxiety is the opposite of faith. I must be diligent to drive out all fear and worry, and strive to remain at rest.
But I am also aware of how "light" this affliction is for me.
The nature of the coronavirus is that it affects the elderly the most, and the children the least. I have elderly parents as well as small children. So I have to be careful when I am around my parents. And by God's mercy, they are both still healthy.
So even in my rest, I know how massively tougher a trial it would be, if the virus endangered the children the most.
Imagine if in the next pandemic, children were most vulnerable. The temptations to be anxious and angry and disturbed and fearful would be a thousand times stronger. So I hear these words ringing in my ears, "This is just a trial run! Be on guard. This is a mock test of something much, much harder that could come down the road!"
In Jeremiah 12, he begins (v1-4) by wondering why God had allowed wickedness to prosper. "How long is the land to mourn and the vegetation of the countryside to wither?" (Jeremiah 12:4). God responds with these words in verse 5 - If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
God is saying, "Get your eyes off the wickedness around you. Stop worrying what other people are doing. And stop looking at the land and the withering of the economy around you with despair. Look at yourself! Look at the pace at which you are running! If this small trial is testing your limits, how will you handle it when things get much worse?"
For this sobering reminder too, I rejoice (Hebrews 12:6).
Now is the time for me to learn to depend more fully on the Lord, and to allow Him to test the foundations of my dependence on Him (James 1:2-4; John 15:2). God is the Vinedresser, and He is inspecting all of His branches. And He wants to ensure that we are dependent on Jesus. The only eternal fruit that I will bear comes from knowing Him (Matthew 7:21-22) and being fully dependent on Him (John 15:5).
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (TLB) – “Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit; though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; he will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains (Note: When singing this, the choir is to be accompanied by stringed instruments).
The Holy Spirit inspired the prophet to instruct that at such a bleak time, these words of triumph be sung with stringed instruments.
God will bring us safely over the mountains through this, utterly dependent on Him, and leaning on the Beloved (Song of Songs 8:5).