Nothing New Under the Sun

Ecclesiastes 9:9-11 (ESV):

            What has been is what will be,
      and what has been done is what will be done,
      and there is nothing new under the sun.
             Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”?
                  It has been already in the ages before us.
            There is no remembrance of former things,
      nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be
      among those who come after.

This sure seems like something new. Churches are closing their doors. Travel is being discouraged (or banned). Schools are closed. The enemy is virtually unseen, attacking randomly and with a vengeance.

I have heard suggestions that this is a biological weapon or something otherwise of human origin. Ultimately, it does not matter so much where it came from but what we do about it.

What seems like a panic is a systematic and widespread approach to limit exposure to the virus, slowing and eventually stopping its spread. Unfortunately, one result has been panic and hysteria. People have been hoarding necessary items, preventing others from having access. Some have tried to capitalize on the pandemic financially. But mostly, people have been trying to be cautious, not wanting to be attacked by the virus, and not wanting to spread it to those who are at the greatest risk for suffering if infected.

“Where is God in all of this?” “What kind of God would allow this to happen?” People are asking. We know that God created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1). Through the sin of Adam and Eve came death (Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:21). Not only were Adam and Eve affected, but the whole creation suffers (Romans 8:22). As a result, we face hurricanes and tornadoes, pestilence and famine, disease and death.

There is hope for those who believe. In his letter to the Roman Christians, (5:17-21), Paul reminds them that though “death reigned through that one man” (Adam), “much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

Some people have died because of this virus. Others will die. That much describes the flu and other illnesses every year. It does not distinguish between believer and unbeliever, between righteous and unrighteous. The difference comes in where the people look, in what/whom they trust.

Those who die in faith will be that much sooner with their Lord. Those who die in unbelief have determined their “fate”. Death brings an end to our striving and questioning, but it is not the end. We who face this plague join those who faced the Spanish Flu in 1918 as well as Martin Luther and others who endured the Black Plague of 1527 and those who have faced pandemics and diseases all through time. But we who face sickness and even death with the Lord beside us can do so with confidence, because we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6); He will be with us always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20), however far in the future that may be.