The calamity of the coronavirus must be viewed as a call to the nation to humble itself before the God who controls the advent of all diseases.
More than two months into the lockdown, it is the case that groups of Christian all around the country are much in prayer, but there is little indication that the nation generally, including its political leaders, see the need for a corporate humbling of the whole country before God. There is no public acknowledgement that the hand of God’s blessing has been removed from Britain and that we need to seek His mercy.
The nation must collectively cry out to God in prayer as the One who alone, ultimately, is able to protect us. As we pray for the medical staff and care home workers, and for those suffering from the virus and for those who are bereaved, we must at the same time do so in a spirit of humbling ourselves before God as nation which in recent decades has done much to show that it now repudiates its Christian foundations and the authority of God’s commandments.
Many are fearful and anxious. They urgently need the peace of mind which only faith in Christ can bring. The Bible teaches that in a fallen world sickness, disease and death are always present in every generation. This has been the case since man first rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden. This is in no way to minimise the seriousness of the present pandemic, but it is the way to begin to understand the whole issue of why there is suffering in the world.
All people need to face up to the relative brevity of life and to the reality of human mortality. This is where faith in the Creator God, who determines the length of our days, is so important.
Many in the face of this crisis have turned to human solidarity as the solution. The watchword frequently uttered is, ‘If we come together, we can beat this virus’. It is not human togetherness, however, which will remove the pandemic; only the power of the risen Christ can accomplish that, He who when He walked upon this earth proved by His miracles that He has power over all sickness.
Viruses and pandemics occur within the providence of God, and that is precisely what our secularised society does not understand. Yes, we employ all the appropriate medical means available to us, but it is to the Lord that the nation must turn at a time like this, humbly seeking His aid. Society must not make the State and its institutions, along with medical research and vaccines, its only trust, for these things can quickly become substitutes for a people who have turned their back on God.
Just as man shall not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4), so he shall not live by medical precautions alone. Yes, the precautions are important, but above all else the nation must come to the Trinitarian God, reverently bowing down in their hearts before Him who is well able to remove a grave epidemic from a people who begin to honour Him.
The lockdown is going to lead to serious economic decline, which will bring further major difficulties for very many families. The Bible tells us that if there is economic collapse in a nation, it must mean the withdrawal of God’s blessing from that nation (see, for example, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). Therefore, the country needs to cry out to God in prayer. We must not adopt the attitude that the Government, their scientific advisers and the medical experts are our only trust.
Yes, of course we listen to the scientific experts, but we must also be able to scrutinise what they say, because the research behind lockdown and social distancing is far from uniform in its findings. What we can assert, however, on irrefutable authority, is that the ultimate solution to this crisis is that the nation comes in repentance and faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, for it will only be at His decree that the virus will be eliminated and that life will return to normal.