14 Feb Why Does The Coronavirus First Come Upon Churches?
<Psalm 37:19; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 2 Chronicles 7:14>
As we are hearing news of the third church in Singapore being affected by the Coronavirus, some may ask, why are these churches affected by the outbreak? Why doesn’t God protect us? The bible tells us, “In this world you will have trouble, but I have overcome the world.” We will still face troubles as Christians, so we cannot say that as long as we believe in God, no virus will penetrate us. God guards our lives, but it is the truth that we will face trails. However, the trials are momentary and light. There is an end to all sufferings and the end is the glory of our eternal home. That is why we see that saints of God also facing problems of their own.
So why does this epidemic come to the churches? Why does it come upon the believers? What happens when we cannot understand the works of God?
Read <Psalm 37:19>
A righteous person will have many troubles because the ruler of the worldly realm will always attack us. But the focus here is that the Lord will deliver- the salvation from God. We love, we pray for brethren, we help practically so that we can testify the salvation of God to the people around us. As we hear good news of brethren recovering, let us not focus merely on rejoicing. We must realise that new issues will surface again in different ways.
Read <2 Corinthians 12:7-9>
Apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh- a sickness. But the Lord does not let it happen without a reason. God permits the thorn in his flesh to make him humble, because the proud will surely fall. But God does not merely want that. He wants Paul to experience the greater grace of God through the process. Therefore, ask ourselves: Is our illness great or God’s grace greater? Are our weaknesses genuine or God’s power genuine? Without suffering, can we know His grace? Can we be in awe of God’s power? This power does not just sustain us when we are sick. It can save our souls, bring us from death to eternal life and testify God’s works.
Let us answer this real question: Why are these cluster cases of Coronavirus happening in churches?
1. The church has sufficient answer and power to face this epidemic: Because God has given the church the truth for wisdom and decisiveness. Therefore amidst the suffering, the church has the right perspective towards these issues, rather than seeing it as karma or blind optimism. God helps church leaders to have strength and wisdom to make the right choices, protect the faith of the believers and intercede for our society.
2. God has given the church real love: Not to ostracise any person or group. Even though our first cases are linked to two brethren from Wuhan, but nonetheless, they are also fellow brothers and sisters in the house of the Lord. We trust that there are even more of them who are facing this in China. Therefore, faith and reality are together. Faith is not empty talk, it comes with love and actions. The Holy Spirit helps the church and the leaders so that we receive instructions of the Lord that decisions we make can impact the world and society.
3. The Lord’s church must also reflect upon ourselves through this <2 Chronicles 7:14>. Every time when suffering comes, God wants His people to humble down and repent. The common things we need to reflect upon in our own lives or churches:
(1) visible idols (earthly possessions, fame, success etc.)
(2) invisible idols (ideology from humans that causes man to pursue things that distant us from God)
However, God is merciful and kind. He has compassion as we turn to Him, live by His will and continue to spread His word, truthfully and faithfully.
Let us pray earnestly and humbly as we are all members of the church. We pray that the Singapore churches will jointly repent and reflect so that the pure gospel of the Lord will be restored to the pulpit, giving us hope in the end days.