Lessons From Living In A Time Of Plague

Gary Clayton, Copywriter and Editor at MAF, provides some thoughts from someone who, along with his wife and two teenagers, caught Covid in October 2021.

With the passing of yet another coronavirus-dominated year, I found myself wondering what the challenging pandemic has taught us.

Here are some hopefully helpful thoughts:

  • That before coronavirus even entered our consciousness, sin – through Adam – infected the world like a virus or plague; the deadly effects of the Fall leaving no one unscathed.

    ‘The wages of sin is death,’ Romans 6:23 tells us, with Adam’s life-threatening ailment passing itself on to every human being – ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).

    So maybe it’s time people realised that sin is an even deadlier enemy than coronavirus – and belief in Jesus, the cure. As CS Lewis once pointed out, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’
  • That, in the face of coronavirus, everyone is equal. Prince Charles, Dominic Cummings, Chris Whitty, Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Sajid Javid, Donald Trump, and the presidents of Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras and Poland all had COVID-19, along with many others.

    Even those who survived will discover that death will one day claim them. As a friend once pointed out, ‘We’re all on death row – we just don’t know what the execution date is!’
  • That, although we may think life revolves around us and our actions, it doesn’t. We are all totally dependent on God – the giver of life – and need to look to Him.

    As Revelation 3:17 reminds us, ‘You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.’ Without God, and the breath that He gives us each day, we are nothing.
  • That, despite the propaganda propagated in the press, neither the media, the ‘science’ (which seems to depend on which scientists you listen to), nor the country’s politicians can actually control events.

    So, although we should obey those in authority, Psalm 146:3-4 warns against blind trust: ‘Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.’

    Our lives should be governed by God’s grace and mercy, rather than our seeking to lead a statistic-driven life in which every action we take appears to be governed by the ‘R number’.
  • That we shouldn’t ‘worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own’ (Matthew 6:34).

    Before the pandemic, my family had many concerns. But when Covid’s effects became apparent, we had practically only one – survival – each day requiring us to rely on God’s gracious love.
  • That the presence of coronavirus is surely a wakeup call to a complacent, spiritually somnolent society that pays little heed to God or the future – behaviour from which even Christians can suffer.

    As James 4:13-15 instructs, ‘Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow… You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”’

    How often do we make plans, and then ask God to bless them, rather than asking Him first what those plans should be? 
  • That there’s a danger of our being too UK-centric. Yes, we can certainly rejoice that deaths and hospitalisations are, at the time of writing, nowhere near as bad in the UK as they were at the beginning of the pandemic.

    But what about other nations? They too contain brothers and sisters in Christ. So, as we celebrate the fact that things might be looking a little better here, what about there?  

    1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us, ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it’ – with Romans 12:12-15 reminding us that we should be ‘joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’ as we ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.’
  • That it’s often been said ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’. History shows that anxiety, uncertainty, and adversity can be an effective means of bringing people to their knees, and into Jesus’ arms.

    As the repeated refrain from Psalm 107 reminds us, ‘Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.’

May 2022 be a happier, healthier, and more peaceful year as we continue to learn the lessons the Lord has for us.

Written by: Gary Clayton

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