The parking lot for the local warehouse supermarket was filled. Hundreds of people were rushing out with carts filled to the brim. It was 7AM and it was like a Black Friday sale, except it was the middle of March.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic had gripped the nation, fanning everyone’s worst fears that civilization was on the verge of collapse. Panic buying of basic items such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, canned goods, and nearly every type of fresh meat had exhausted the shelves and bins of every market, regardless of their size. Online shopping sites were no different, posting messages that these similar items were out of stock.
In states that had the most cases, entire school districts began to close in an effort to minimize the spread. As more cases were reported, other states and cities quickly followed. Many cities began to ban any public gatherings of more than a hundred people. By the end of the week, the President had declared a state of emergency. Following the lead of these local and federal announcements, many churches announced that their usual ministries were postponed, opting for virtual sermons.
Emotions have run the gamut from concern to near-hysteria. However, a few social outliers did declare on social media sites they were happy with the crisis. Whether they were simply attention seeking or possessed truly warped sensibilities, I will never know. But I do know one person who is genuinely happy. Satan.
Satan will use every situation, good or bad, and twist it to accomplish his nefarious goal, to separate man from God. Cloaked under the noble banner of keeping everyone healthy, and minimizing the risk of contracting or spreading the virus, preventing church gatherings may appear to be a practical way to accomplish this purpose. However, cynics immediately seized upon these announcements lashing out that even the Christian church is cowering and retreating in the face of a crisis. If the church cannot meet, Christianity is powerless.
Preventing the Christian church from meeting has never been successful. The atheistic communistic-socialistic regimes of China and the former Soviet Union attempted to squash the Christian church by outlawing public gatherings and making it illegal to discuss Christianity, yet the nascent church in both countries grew and prospered. Even today, in Wuhan, China, where everyone is still under home quarantine, a Christian missionary wrote, “Christians in China are encouraging each other via phone calls as gatherings are banned. While masks are being hoarded by most, at the epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan Christians are courageously handing out masks with gospel tracks. Also people are more open to Christ.”
No matter the schemes of Satan, Jesus Christ promised that His Church will always be victorious.
…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:18 (ESV)
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is an opportunity for the world to come together and assist one another. Even if public gatherings are prohibited, the Christian Church will take the lead to bring assistance to those in need. The Church will prevail and remain a rock of stability and a light of hope.
God is always in control.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.