Rev Phil Weaver says the world is facing more than just Covid-19
The Prime Minister has rightly declared it as a ‘time of national emergency’. Mr Johnson also spoke of it as being ‘the worst public health crisis for a generation’. That was before he fell foul of the dreaded virus himself, ending up in intensive care at London’s St Thomas’ hospital. Thanks to our NHS heroes, he was discharged from hospital on Easter Day, and has now recovered.
The virus has taken such a hold it has affected every single aspect of society. In it all a new vocabulary has emerged: Covid-19, coronavirus, self-isolation, social distancing, herd immunity, super spreader, and ‘flattening the curve’ have all established themselves as part of our everyday language. Meanwhile, the future is a complete unknown, with government ministers so busy fighting the pandemic there appears to be little notion of a route back to a working economy.
What we do know is there is no quick fix to this one; we are in for the long haul.
As a church minister for more than 40 years, I am convinced Covid-19 isn’t the only pandemic the world is facing – just as the Bible famously speaks of four riders of the Apocalypse, today we are actually fighting four viruses!
Covid-19 is bad, but there is a related virus – fear – and it can attack anyone at any time. Sometimes we put a good face on it, but deep inside there’s a gnawing worry that just won’t go away, if not for ourselves then for our elderly parents or vulnerable family members. Or indeed, concerning our business or work situation. In my experience, the fear gripping untold numbers of people is almost palpable. Arguably fear is spreading faster and to a greater extent than Covid-19 itself. And as people continue to die at a frightening rate, and with no known vaccine yet, the fear factor is only headed one way.
[swpm_protected for="2-3-4" do_not_show_protected_msg="1"] FINANCIAL MELTDOWN [/swpm_protected]
The third virus rearing its ugly head is of the financial variety. Some economists speak of the global repercussions of the coronavirus bankrupting more people than Covid-19 will kill.
Covid-19 is crippling the national budget and taking down a plethora of companies and small business in its wake. The virus is putting thousands of jobs at risk and pushing untold numbers to the financial brink. Will we fall into a devastating economic recession? Only time will tell.
Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management at Bristol University, says: “Keeping the economy going over the next year will be crucial, otherwise the measures that the government has put in place will do more harm than good... I’m worried that to solve one problem we’ve created a bigger problem.” In fact, Thomas and other economists have predicted that the country, if not the world, is now on course for the worst recession in modern history! Some forecast that we are looking at a recovery time of a decade or more.[/swpm_protected]
[swpm_protected for="2-3-4" do_not_show_protected_msg="1"] UNSEEN ENEMY [/swpm_protected]
As the Prime Minister rightly said, part of the challenge of fighting Covid-19 is that it is an unseen enemy – although its effects are painfully obvious. Similarly, the fourth virus is all too often ignored or brushed under the carpet, but its effects are felt in every life, family and community.
And while the lockdown is designed to halt the spread of Covid-19, the fourth virus knows no boundaries – in fact, every single one of us is infected already. The virus I’m speaking of is what the Bible calls sin.
The first three viruses are leaving a devastating trail of suffering and heartache, but the virus of sin is worse than all the others combined. Only sin has the power to rob people of peace and destroy lives not only in this world, but eternally!
There is good news, however. Unlike the Covid-19 pandemic which has no cure yet, there is an antidote for this fourth and most lethal of viruses – one that can totally wipe it out for ever. But only if you apply the remedy today.[/swpm_protected]
[swpm_protected for="2-3-4" do_not_show_protected_msg="1"] MISSING THE MARK [/swpm_protected]
My years in ministry have taught me that most people’s understanding of sin is a misunderstanding. Too often it is ridiculed, trivialised, dismissed, or deemed as not being ‘politically correct’ to even talk about. But the Bible has no such hang-ups – sin, it says, is to ‘miss the mark’, to fall short of the standard set by God.
If Covid-19 teaches us anything it is this: you can’t solve a pandemic by pretending it doesn’t exist. And the Bible is equally emphatic: sin is a matter of life and death.
Here are four things everyone needs to know about the virus called sin.
- Sin is a veering away from God’s standards of what is right and wrong. It includes actions, words, and even our thoughts.
- We have all fallen short of the standard God has set. In short we are all sinners! From Adam and Eve onwards, sin lurks in every human heart. No one is righteous in the eyes of a holy God who cannot tolerate sin.
- The consequence of sin is death – separation from God eternally. This means we are all literally hell bound. What’s worse, there is absolutely nothing we can do to bridge the gulf that sin has created between us and God.
- Thankfully there is a solution. Jesus came into the world to deal with sin once and for all through his sacrificial death on Calvary.
[swpm_protected for="2-3-4" do_not_show_protected_msg="1"] USE THE VACCINE [/swpm_protected]
Hopefully you can avoid becoming a victim of Covid-19. Possibly you can avoid the virus of fear that is gripping so many hearts. Maybe you can survive the financial turmoil shaking the world. But if there were a vaccine guaranteed to help, what sort of a person would ignore it?
The question is not whether Jesus dealt with our sin problem. The Bible is clear: he is the only one who could, and he did! The real question is, what should our response be?
Just as you don’t have to be a medic to benefit from a vaccine, so you don’t have to understand everything about Jesus’ death to step out in faith. Ask him into your life today, and you’ll certainly find you understand a whole lot more![/swpm_protected]
This article was taken from the Spring 2020 digital issue of New Life Newspaper.