The Coronavirus Crisis: A Test of Christian Character
May 7, 2020
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest world crisis since World War II. As it turns out, the world probably shouldn’t have been closed down, but that is largely in hindsight. The way that the events occurred was like the falling of dominoes. There was no stopping it, and it’s all water under the bridge. Great damage has been done to the world economy, and the repercussions cannot yet be determined by anyone. The draconian power of government over the details of people’s lives has moved to a new and frightful level even in the “free nations.” There is talk of civil wars, rioting, famine, the breakdown of society.

It looks like a trial run for the antichrist, and surely the devil would put his man on the throne of this world
today if there were not one who withholds him. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Th. 2:7).

There is a pandemic of highly infectious fear, doubt, uncertainty, confusion, frustration, anger.

For “old-fashioned” Americans, there is the added frustration of seeing a beloved country ruined, constitutional liberties thrown to the ground and trampled in the mire, socialists on the rampage, demagoguery on every hand, good sense thrown to the wind, propagandists in the seat of the news media, haters of the founding Fathers in high places.

So where is my heart in all of this? What has this great crisis shown? As it has tested my mettle, what has been revealed?

Do I really, truly believe that it is God who changes the times and that my times are in His hand? “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Da. 2:21). “But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand...” (Ps. 31:14-15). Am I acting like this is true, or am I acting like my times are in the hands of the government, the World Health Organization, Bill Gates, China, some prominent medical authority, the banking system, society, or perhaps the devil?

Is my heart focused in heavenly places or on this world? “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).

Do I really have the mindset of a pilgrim whose citizenship is in heaven and who is merely journeying through this world as in a strange land? Can I truly sing from the heart, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through?” Or have I sunk deep roots in this world and do I love this world like Lot’s wife loved Sodom? What flag are I flying the highest? The flag of heaven, or the American or the British or the European Union or some other flag of this world?

Do I glory in tribulation as God tells me to do, understanding its purpose and benefit in God’s will? “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Ro. 5:3-5). “Glory”in Romans 5:3 is the Greek kauchaomai, which is translated “rejoice” Romans 5:2. It has the idea of being confident in, boasting in, being sure of. It is the opposite of being discouraged by, frustrated with, overwhelmed by, cast down by, defeated by, angry at.

Am I trusting God’s Word and believing His promises in a real, practical way? Do I really believe that all things work together for good for those who love God (Ro. 8:28), that my times are in His hand (Ps. 31:15), that the Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want (Ps. 23:1), that surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Ps. 23:6), that the righteous is not forsaken nor does his seed beg bread (Ps. 37:25), that God will never leave me nor forsake me (Heb. 13:5)? Is this my testimony? Is this what others see and hear of me? Or am I doubting, fearing, complaining, confused, frustrated, acting just the unsaved around me?

Am I truly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, or do other things have first place?

Can I truly say with Job, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. ... What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 1:21; 2:10)?

Can I truly say with Habakkuk, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17-18)?

Does this crisis show that I truly do NOT love this world, that I am NOT conformed to this world, that I am NOT the friend of this world?
Am I anxious about the closing down of vain things like professional sports? Am I worried about what might happen to my worldly plans? “And be not conformed to this world” (Ro. 12:2). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 Jo. 2:15-17). “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).

What does the way I am spending my time during lockdown show about the character of my Christian life? Have I used the time to immerse myself in prayer and the Word of God and ministry. Have I found special Bible projects to do? Have I spent the time encouraging others in the Word of God and helping them think right about this crisis? Or have I been spiritually depressed, idle, playing, wasting time on social media for no good purpose? “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Ro. 12:11).

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