2020-04-01 May I See Your Papers, Please?

“if my people…”
2 Chronicles 7:14

A quick survey of the newspaper headlines this morning shows to me that the media is pushing for much more stringent quarantine measures than what we have now. It seems to me that something far more sinister is at hand than just the virus. Society is learning to be herded like cattle.

I’m having a difficult time accepting this. Christians, more than any other group, should be unafraid. “That’s right,” you say, “we look forward to heaven.” Yes, but isn’t there more to it than that? I think there is.

Do we have supernatural protection?

Psalm 91:3-6 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and a buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to call God a liar, so this famous Psalm 91 must be true. Besides that, we all know that the bible is chocked full of promises like this.

Do you and I have anything to fear? Certainly, the COVID-19 is real, but do we need to fear it? Should we?

No. Not in the least.

Personally, the whole idea of quarantine is rubbing me wrong when I think of these things, especially the idea of Christians wanting to be apart from each other. Do we really have anything to fear?

I’m not a big fan of some of the ways I have seen the “name it and claim it” people work, but there is something at the root of what they are trying to get at. The idea of commanding and demanding cancer out of a person is troubling because it doesn’t always happen. However, I have faith that God can heal any disease, and I have the right to petition him. He’ll grant my request, if it is within his overall will. I must be perfectly OK with God having a plan that is different than mine, and my prayer should reflect that. “If it be your will,” isn’t showing lack of faith; it’s acknowledging God’s vastly superior wisdom.

How does this apply to the COVID-19?

Tell me, do we have any reason to believe that God might protect us significantly more than the population at large? What about this passage?

Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

I think of crazed snake handlers whenever this verse comes up. You know, those religious fanatics who often get bitten by their snakes and die. Yeah, those. And, yes, I also notice that my bible points out that Mark 16:9-20 does not appear in the earliest manuscripts we know of. Does this make supernatural protection invalid? I don’t think so. Consider this:

Acts 28:3-6 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

What I’m seeing is that it isn’t as much THAT we are Christians, it’s WHAT WE ARE DOING as Christians that is important. Look, God protected Paul on his mission until that time God took him home. Did Paul suffer hardship during that time? You bet he did! Did God protect him like Psalm 91 claims? Well, who can say Paul was incapacitated by fear? No one. Paul did not fear. And God protected him in the worst of situations. But look at the reason Paul was out and about in the first place: to share the gospel.

Might God protect us the same way? Honestly, I see no reason to think he wouldn’t. Even from COVID-19? Even from that.

The bigger question is, why do you want to go out?

Father, light up your church! Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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