COVID-19 another test of man’s resolve to keep the faith
By Brooke Stacia DeMott
The threat level of the global pandemic is oddly debatable.
Rather than making efforts to understand and interpret data objectively, political extremists wield it as a partisan sword.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially predicted the United States could lose 2.2 million citizens, setting into motion strict distancing guidelines and wholesale economic shutdowns, actions that continue to be praised by the left, and scoffed at by the right.
Eight months later, the CDC has determined that the stand-alone fatality rate of COVID-19 is 94% lower than reported (when accounting for preexisting conditions) with a crude fatality rate of 0.9%.
On the heels of such a reassuring new discovery, the political left has turned on the CDC, calling it a “tool of the White House,” and the political right is now hailing its data as infallible.
Meanwhile, states continue to enforce schizophrenic social distancing procedures, refusing to allow certain activities under the guise of public safety, while others are apparently risk-free for no discernable reason.
In California, Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro confides that his children’s Jewish school cannot operate, unless it becomes a “day camp.” COVID-19, apparently, spreads through education, but not free play.
Likewise, in many New York restaurants, you must wear a mask to enter, but once you sit down, masks are no longer required. Sitting, it seems, increases immunity.
Violent riots in major cities have been raging for over 100 days, while police are handcuffed to the will of the criminal. Any efforts to promote law and order would be racist, we’re told, so chaos rules. Such gatherings of thousands, shoulder to shoulder, for 3.5 months, have reported no major COVID-19 outbreaks.
Meanwhile, churches are deemed recklessly dangerous to public health and safety, reducing some — like Grace Church in California — to fighting in court for the privilege of opening their doors.
Lack of linear dealings surrounding current U.S. policy begs the question: “Is there something more to this than what we see?”
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.” (2 Timothy 3:1)
It is to our advantage to remember that everything is spiritual. The reason that world events seem to be woven behind hidden doors by unseen hands, is because, they are.
However, no deception authored by satanic forces, warring with God for our souls, is outside the sovereign hand of the Lord, who “works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
History demonstrates how even the worst plagues have brought about incredible surges of faith by God’s providence.
In 251 AD, an increasingly shaky Roman Empire was brought to its knees by the Cyprian plague. Named for its first victim, the Bishop of Carthage, this precursor to Ebola catapulted from Ethiopia to Rome, taking 5,000 lives per day, recurring for nearly three centuries.
The afflicted Bishop Cyprian encouraged other believers to rejoice rather than grieve at the funerals of departed brethren, celebrating that they were the first to enjoy the presence of Christ. He urged believers to redouble their efforts in caring for the sick, as Jesus himself would have done.
The church served wholeheartedly, and as reported by historian Pontianus, “good was done to all men, not merely to the household of faith.”
Faith conquers all
Fearless obedience to Christ gained Christianity its historic foothold in Europe.
Then in 1351, the Bubonic plague hit Italy like a battering ram. With breathless speed, the ferocious contagion annihilated the developing world, killing its victims within 24 hours of symptomatic onset.
Originating in Asia and trafficked via merchant ships, the plague would claim a third of the earth’s population.
Just like that, exploration to North America was stalled, the war between England and France ended, and the caste system of British feudalism toppled like a house of cards.
By the time the plague reached Wittenberg, Germany, it was 1527 and Martin Luther was a force to be reckoned with.
A controversial religious reformer, he was as close to celebrity as antiquity could offer. Friends and political leaders urged Luther to flee the city and save his life, preserving his ability to continue the important work of holding the church accountable to God.
His unwavering commitment prompted him to author the tract, “Whether Christians should flee the Plague.”
Luther offered this counsel: a Christian doctor, governor, or pastor cannot abandon his God-given jurisdiction; duty to one’s neighbor ought not be abdicated in trial, but amplified.
Luther, his wife, and scores of believers stayed to serve, and Christianity quickly became the fastest growing religion in the history of the world.
God can, and indeed does, work through grave difficulty to build his church. And yet, this time, something is different.
Aggressively secular post-modernism has polluted the church.
Historic Christianity is replaced either with therapeutic deism — a reassuring siren’s lullaby to the naive that God’s highest end for us is self-actualization — or a works-oriented counterfeit religion that anchors itself on social justice rather than repentance and faith.
Meanwhile, this tremendous opportunity to preach the gospel of hope, the forgiveness of sin, and the coming judgment of Christ is slipping away.
Some of this is a lack of urgency. COVID-19 hasn’t been nearly as deadly as pandemics passed, and as such, we haven’t really squared off with our own mortality.
The greater concern, however, is that the modern church lacks deep conviction as a result of decades of wayward teaching. Ear-tickling preachers have lulled our spirits to sleep.
The church must remember who God is, who we are, and what we must do.
The pages of scripture mark the path home.
“When the son of man returns, will he then find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
Brooke Stacia DeMott is a columnist with In Good Health newspaper. Got a question for Demott? Feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The beliefs and opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this newspaper or any other agency, organization, employer or company.