The coronavirus has done more than take the lives of an ever-increasing number of people. It has also seemingly exposed the arbitrariness of our alleged sophisticated and civil society. Local, state, and federal politicians have arguably acted in ways that look more autocratic than they do constitutional. Mainstream media has been unmasked, laying bare their lack of journalistic integrity. Journalists function as political activists, and media companies act as public relations firms for the democrat or republican parties. The CEOs of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google have revealed that they view themselves and their companies as arbiters of truth and morality. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has released more UFO videos.
So what’s a person to think? Who do we believe to tell us the truth? Social media is awash with conflicting opinions. The media constantly run stories about the coronavirus that scare and arouse anxiety. Politicians keep moving the date for when businesses can open and we can go back to work. One thing that has been made obvious is that many people are more than willing to trade away their freedom and rights for a feeling of security. People are panicked and have become obsessed with germs. Hygiene is on everyone’s minds. People, for the most part, are content to shelter at home to avoid contact with others so that they aren’t infected with the virus.
On the other side of main street, there are people who protest against their elected leaders. They reject mainstream media’s apocalyptic narrative about the virus. They use social media as a platform to post memes, articles, and videos that argue that the CEOs of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are not the arbiters of truth and morality. They refer to others who give up their personal freedoms as “sheeple,” while the “sheeple” accuse them of not caring about human life. In less than two months, the society that we once believed was so strong has been exposed as fragile and tenuous thing. We are not people who are as bold as lions. We are mice who are timid and easily cowed.
But how can we be surprised by any of this? God’s word has warned us. His word is true. The Lord lifted up David and, through him, revealed our hearts to us. He revealed his will to us at the same time when he proclaimed:
“Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
‘Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.’
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill’” (Ps 2:1-6).
In their blindness, political leaders, media talking heads, social media CEOs, and ordinary citizens don’t realize they are at war with God. God promises that those who don’t submit themselves to him will be “broken with an iron rod and smashed into pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps. 2:9). But he also promises that those who “kiss the Son” will be saved from his furious anger. Earthly leaders are little more than clay pots in the hands of the Lord. They are easily broken and smashed to pieces. But to all those who trust God’s word, who believe in Jesus Christ, God promises his blessing and unending support.
The truth is that whether we choose to shelter at home or move freely within our community, it matters very little if we have rejected the Son and the salvation he offers us. Whether we are sickened by the coronavirus or not, killed by the virus or not, we either believe Jesus is our resurrection and life, or we’re doomed to be terrified (like so many are right now) by God’s furious anger towards sin.
Many people will perish from the coronavirus. Many more will be killed by the flu, car crashes, starvation, IEDs, and diabetes. Regardless of how each one of us dies, what we can learn from all these instances is that we are all born into this world with a pre-existing condition. It’s called mortality, and no earthly authority or expert can save us from this condition. We can wash, scrub, clean, and do everything we can to protect ourselves from SARS, Bird flu, Ebola, Covid-19, and whatever the next pandemic will be, but it doesn’t change the fact that we all die on a certain day, at a certain time, from something outside of our control.
Our Lord reveals the truth to us and tells us what is actually good for us; so good it forgives our sin, gives us new life, and promises eternal salvation to all who believe it.
But as Christians, we enjoy a relationship with our God that puts us at ease, especially when so many people are telling us to be afraid, to panic, or to trust our leaders to save us from the coronavirus. Our Lord reveals the truth to us and tells us what is actually good for us; so good it forgives our sin, gives us new life, and promises eternal salvation to all who believe it.
He says, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Ps 2:12).