We do not want to minimise the tragedy of death by whatever means it occurs. But the fact is that every single day, all over the world and for all kinds of reasons, hundreds of thousands of people die – and we all accept this, because it is the natural order of things since sin entered the world. We are born, and eventually we all have to die. So what, then, is different about deaths caused by this virus? Absolutely nothing. Even if hundreds of thousands were eventually to die from it, this is no different from hundreds of thousands dying from cancer, heart attacks, car accidents, malaria, and innumerable other things, every single day. There are almost 8 billion people in the world. Every single day, vast numbers are born, and vast numbers die.
But should we not then be concerned about this virus? Of course we should. And we should take precautions, just as we take precautions to avoid the common cold, or food poisoning, or other things which can make us ill or kill us. We should take precautions to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. This is just sensible.
The Bible shows us what to do when a contagious disease is present. In the nation of Israel, lepers were separated from the rest of the people. They were quarantined for the duration of their illness (Lev. 13). Separating people who have contagious diseases is a tried and tested method of containing the disease. But there is absolutely no need to disrupt the lives of the rest of the population. Those who were leprous as the nation of Israel journeyed through the wilderness were kept isolated from the rest, but the Israelites went on with their lives. We must never object to the proper, sensible treatment of the sick. But wicked men in high authority are using the excuse of this virus to restrict the movements, jobs, associations, religious freedoms, etc., of the rest of the world!
Again let it be emphasised: we need to keep this virus in perspective. We must discern the long-term and far bigger, more sinister picture, which is this: whether the coronavirus really does develop into something which threatens multiplied millions or whether it doesn’t (right now it isn’t), the powers behind the scenes seeking world control are using it to cause panic in the masses, leading to greater population control than ever before. This is the real and long-term danger.
Christian: do not give way to sinful anxiety! Worry, sinful anxiety (as opposed to sensible concern and preparation), shows a lack of faith in the Lord. “Be careful [full of anxious care] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6,7). The Lord loves His saints, cares for them, provides for them, and brings them through numerous dangers. But even His elect have to die sometime. “My times are in thy hand” (Psa. 31:15). “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die” (Eccl. 3:1,2). How true the words of Ryland the hymn writer:
He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb:
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by his wise decree.
Plagues and deaths around me fly;
Till he bids, I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.
We all have to die of something eventually. But we will not die a second too early or a second too late. The arrow which pierces us and causes our soul to depart from its earthly tabernacle into the realms of glory has to hit eventually, but only when the God of love has decreed it.
Take reasonable precautions, not because of the virus so much as the fact that people’s wrong perception of the extent of the virus is causing widespread panic and physical essentials are beginning to run out in many places. If this persists for weeks or months, things could get very ugly indeed. Social unrest could ensue. Make sure you have sufficient supplies of food, water, such medicines as you need, various other basic items, and have cash on hand as well, to last at the very least for a number of weeks, more if possible.
This is not a lack of trust in God, as some foolish professing believers try to claim. It is simple common sense. It is making provision for difficult times ahead. The rich man who built huge barns to store “much goods for many years” sinned because he was covetous, greedy, and wanted to take his ease, eat, drink and be merry. He laid up treasure for himself, and was not rich toward God (Lk. 12:15-21). But if we say that to stockpile sufficient essential items for lean times displays a lack of faith in God, then Joseph sinned when he advised the Egyptians to store up food during the years of plenty for the years of famine – and we know that he did not sin in this (Gen. 41). In fact, those believers who live in the colder northern climates sin, then, when they hoard food for the winter!