Devotional Word for Monday, April 27, 2020
What do you think of the coronavirus? How did it originate and spread? What is the best way to respond to it? How deadly do you consider it to be? How long should this lockdown continue? How long should social distancing be practiced? I assume each of us has answers to those questions. I certainly do. Don’t worry, I’m not going to thrust them on you today!
What I will tell you, though, is the most common comment I have heard is this: “I’m tired of this. I wish it would all just end.” I suspect all of us would say “Amen” to that sentiment.
Pat and I read Psalm 136 this morning as part of our devotional time. That may not ring a bell with you, but it is the Psalm that ends each verse with the phrase For His lovingkindness is everlasting. It has 26 verses, so we said that phrase 26 times this morning. It’s a very repetitive Psalm. You should read it. God wants us to understand something: His lovingkindness is everlasting.
If that’s true, then why this coronavirus? Romans 8:20-23 provides good insight. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
The coronavirus was not part of God’s original creation. It is a consequence of the Fall. When God pronounced judgment on Adam, part of what He said was this: Cursed is the ground because of you . . . both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you. [Gen. 3:17-18] Because of Adam’s sin, creation is cursed. It is cursed by God. So, responsibility for the coronavirus ultimately goes back to God. Creation doesn’t bring forth these markers of the curse willingly, as it were. These markers are put there by God.
The text of Romans says God does this with hope as the motivation. Hope to be set free from corruption. Hope to be wholly good and glorious reflections of the Creator. The text talks about this in terms of childbirth. We call it labor! It’s hard work. It’s painful. It’s dangerous. But it has a joyous outcome. The history of mankind is, to a certain degree, a history of man working to negate the effects of the Fall, the practical curses and hardships that flow from it.
Why do this? So that we can fulfill the original mandate from God to “. . . be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over . . . every living thing that moves on the earth. [Gen. 1:28] We can only negate the effects of the Fall by adhering to the laws God has put in place. We’ve made great progress. All you need to do is think about transportation, from cars to trucks to trains to airplanes. All work (and only will work!) within the laws God instituted. There’s no reason the Greeks and Romans could not have driven around in sporty convertible Corvettes except they didn’t know enough of the laws of God. The example I always think of is dental care. Hallelujah for the laws of God! And the discovery of them!
All this is to say the coronavirus is not outside the laws of God. He is Sovereign over it. There is a solution to it; we just have to find it. Whether we find it sooner or later we are the Lord’s and we trust in His care. His lovingkindness endures forever. We are not fainting; we are believing.
All this runs parallel to God’s work in our souls. We are growing in the knowledge of Him day by day, year by year. And, yet, the more we grow and know, the more we know we have to grow and know! Nonetheless, we are filled with hope because we know the lovingkindness of the Lord endures forever.
Let us pray: Lord God, there is so much we do not know. We are aware of our limited capacities and our fallen nature. But we give thanks to You for what we do know. Thank You for all that You have taught us. Thank You for blessings and advancements in life. We thank You most of all for the knowledge that Your lovingkindness never ends but is everlasting. We pray this in the name of Him who is our eternal Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.