July 21, 2020
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 21 July 2020
What is God doing with the coronavirus? Your initial response may be, “How can anyone claim to know what God is doing?” when Romans 11 says God’s ways are inscrutable (meaning unable to be known). So, how can anyone claim to know what God is doing? While admitting the need for caution, it is also important to recognize that God is not silent regarding his purposes in the world.
One of the primary reasons that God revealed Himself to humanity through the Holy Bible is to help understand his purposes. For instance, Ephesians 3:9 says that by reading the Bible, it is possible to gain insight into “the mystery” of what God is doing. One may not know precisely what God is doing in every aspect of life, yet it is possible to know the general manner of how God works. In that regard, Jesus criticized the religious leaders of his day for being hypocrites who knew how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, yet did not analyze the present time (Luke 12:56-57). So what is God doing with the coronavirus? Consider a fivefold purpose.
1) In the coronavirus, God is letting humanity witness the horror of sin. All misery and suffering is the result of sin in the world. When God created the world and all that is in it, He declared “that it was good.” Human sin is what brought the curse of disease and death into the world. Romans 5 reveals that because of sin “death spread to all” humanity. Romans 8 (v. 20) says “creation was subjected to futility” so that humanity groans awaiting God’s redemption. Futility and groaning are all images of global desolation, which came because of humanity’s rebellion. Sin against God is a somber reality, and physical suffering is a reminder of that. C. S. Lewis once said, “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Misery, pain, and suffering indicate that something is dreadfully wrong in the world.
2) God intends for the coronavirus to prepare humanity for his return. History is, of course, replete with false predications regarding the end of the world, so certainly most people are familiar with false predictions. Nevertheless, Jesus is returning, and Scripture declares that it could be at any moment. Through the coronavirus, Jesus is saying be ready for my return because the present world is not going to endure forever. Everyone needs to prepare themselves for the Lord’s return.
3) The coronavirus should stimulate all people to revive their relationship with God. In Luke 13, a tower collapsed on a crowd of people, killing eighteen. The people wanted to know if they died because God was angry with them. Jesus responded, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (v. 5). The people wanted to know the reason for the disaster, and Jesus explained what it meant for everyone.
Disasters like the collapse of the tower killing eighteen people are not typically God’s specific judgment upon someone; however, they do serve as reminders for all people to repent. Disasters can be a gracious prod from God to repent and be saved while there is still opportunity. How can this coronavirus stimulate you to be more serious in your relationship with God (specifically, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength)?
4) God uses distressing times to demonstrate the generosity of his people, and the gospel message of God’s grace received through faith in Jesus Christ. In Matthew 5, Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you. . . . Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great. . . . You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world.” Jesus referred to persecution not disease, yet the application of his words to life in the present is the same. Generosity motivated by God’s grace exceeds that of normal human goodness. Many people are generous in times of plenty, yet truly reflect the gospel when that generosity is sacrificial because it serves to give reminder of the Savior who gave his life voluntarily for sinners.
5) Lastly, the coronavirus should lead the church to reach those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. In Acts 7, God used a religious persecution that began with the stoning of Stephen to bring a tremendous worldwide expansion of the gospel message. No one expected it or was prepared for it. Satan was the reason for the persecution, which he intended to discourage God’s people, yet the Lord used it instead for a tremendous worldwide expansion of the gospel message.
Do not waste time during this present crisis! Ask yourself how your life aligns with the purposes of God during this pandemic. Of the fivefold purpose of what God is doing with the coronavirus which best indicates what God is doing in your life? Share that with someone else and then with your family.
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.
* If you have the ability and should God lead, please consider financial partnership with this ministry. You can use standard mail (Capitol Commission, P.O. Box 244, Rincon, GA 31326-0244); or, you can give electronically: under the "Fund," click "Active State Ministry," then under "Sub Fund" click "Georgia – Ron Bigalke" and designate the amount you wish to invest. Your gift is much needed and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you to those who have already helped! We greatly appreciate your investment in this vital ministry!!