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How to Live in Light of the Corona Virus

By March 14, 2020 March 15th, 2020 24 Comments

How do we live in light of . . . (you fill in the disaster)? In my lifetime, that sentence could have been finished with a variety of answers. How do we live in light of the Soviet threat and the cold war, the danger of nuclear weapons, Al-qaeda, Isis? Also, how many medical scares have we all faced? People used to worry about the Spanish flu and polio. In recent years I’ve heard concerns about Swine Flu, Avian Flu, Ebola, Zika Virus, MERS, SARS. I’m sure there are others I haven’t mentioned. In fact, this history made me a little unconcerned when Corona Virus hit the news a few weeks ago. My initial thoughts were that that this won’t be as bad as regular flu season. It appears I was wrong. Wisely we’re all taking appropriate caution to slow the spread of this dangerous virus. I realized it was serious when the NBA suspended its season, Major League Baseball delayed opening day, and Broadway went dark. Yet, there also seems to be some panic related to this pandemic, a response that seems inappropriate for us if we’re followers of  Yeshua (Jesus). So, here are five biblical perspectives on living in light of the Corona Virus (with a thanks to my friend Larry Feldman).

First, we should remember that God is in control. His sovereignty is evident in the words of Isaiah 45:7, where the Lord describes Himself as the One who “makes success and creates disaster.” God is even sovereign over pandemics. And when these disasters occur, the psalmist reminds us of what should be our proper perspective. Psalm 46:1-3: “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas,  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil.” The reason for our confidence in troubling times is in this psalm’s refrain, “The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold” (46:7, 11). Even this Corona Virus is under God’s sovereign control and He’s with us throughout this time.

 Second, we need to remember that God has a plan. Even when we don’t have the big picture, God does. He knows everything and has a plan for both good times and bad. In Isaiah 46:10, the Lord announces, “I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago, what is not yet done; saying, ‘My plan will take place and I will do my will.” When Israel faced captivity, a terrible national disaster, God reminded them that it was all part of His plan, saying, “I know the plans I have for you . . .  plans for your welfare and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11). God has a plan in this circumstance as well and it’s for our good. We may not know what His purpose is but we can trust that He has one.

This leads to a third perspective—We must trust in God’s faithfulness. In light of the Babylonian conquest over Israel, which destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC, Jeremiah the prophet reminded the people of Judah, “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!  I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24). Not only does God have a sovereign plan that is good, I need to trust Him and put my hope in a God who cares for all of us.

Fourth, we need to remain faithful to the Lord even in trying times. The ancient Jewish believers in Yeshua in the first century were facing dangerous persecution and the author of the book of Hebrews wanted to encourage them to stay faithful despite their troubles. He made the case that the Messiah Yeshua was better than any alternative. Then, in chapter 11, he gave the roll call of faith, identifying biblical heroes  who remained faithful despite difficulties. But I especially appreciate the challenge he gave immediately afterwards, one that we need to adopt as well: “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run, with endurance, the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1-2).  We need to stay steady in our walk with the Lord, not quitting the race, but keeping on in obedience to Him. We need to keep talking with Him in prayer, listening to Him through His Word, and obeying Him with our lives, no matter what difficulty we face.

Finally, we need to be lights shining in a dark and frightened world. Eva and I were once on a jet that had an engine blow out while taking off and it almost crashed. After landing the plane surrounded by emergency equipment, the airline provided another plane to take us all back to Chicago. But there were a bunch of passengers who were too terrified to get back on a plane. The situation seemed to bleak for them. Eva and I did our best to communicate our confidence in the Lord and to present the good news of Messiah Yeshua, that He died for us and rose again. We reminded our fellow passengers that the Lord Yeshua can give all of us hope for living and confidence in dying. That’s what the Lord Yeshua was referring to when He told His followers, “You are the light of the world” and reminded us to give “light for all” (Matt 5:14-16). The Corona virus has made people fearful of the future. It’s at times like this that people are most open to the message of the Messiah. Let’s give our friends and neighbors hope in the Messiah Yeshua who promised this: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” (John 14:27). That message will surely resonate in a dark world.

To wrap all this up, here’s some good advice, C. S. Lewis gave when asked about the atomic threat. Just so you know, I’m substituting the words “Corona Virus” for “atomic bomb”:

“The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by Corona Virus, let that virus, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends . . . — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about pandemics.” In my opinion, that’s how people who are trusting the Lord in this pandemic will respond.

24 Comments

  • My Dearest Michael,
    Have no fear as God is ‘good’ and He will do as He does! Excellent blog and I printed it out for others in my CHA Seniors Residence. Thanks to you for Saturdays, I can’t live without your great words.
    Sincerely,

  • Avatar Susan M Calabrese says:

    Thank you, Dr. Rydelnik, for this message of hope and faith. This gives us the right perspective to have as Christians in these difficult times.

  • Avatar Isa Graham says:

    👏With excellence👏

  • Avatar Eva Phillips says:

    Strength for our hearts!
    Thank you for this encouraging post.

  • Avatar Roxanne Johnson says:

    Thank you, this is such a blessing and a comfort.✝️

  • Avatar Huey Freeman says:

    Thank you Michael for this encouraging word.
    When those around us are panicking, we have the opportunity to demonstrate what faith looks like.

  • Avatar Lorraine Lindquist says:

    I agree completely. Thank you for your encouraging words, well the words of our Lord. God bless you.

  • Avatar Caleb says:

    Thank you Michael!

  • Avatar Peggy Starbuck says:

    Thanks Michael & Eva! If we find ourselves with a little extra time amid the social distancing, it is a good time to focus and pray for the salvation and peace of Israel!
    Also, Dallas Seminary is also offering a free course on Revelation right now which is quite good. It is video of Dr. Stanley Toussaint (1928-2017). It is 9 weeks, but it can be done one right after another. I have loved it!

  • Avatar Diane says:

    Perfect. Thank you, Michael.

  • Avatar Nancy Gehm says:

    Michael you left out the part about drinking a pint in the pub🍺
    😊

  • Thanks for your perspective. I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and much of what you said good me with that also.

  • Avatar Peggy says:

    Great message at such a time like this. Yeshua is in control. 💛🙏

  • Avatar Randy says:

    Super good stuff Michael

  • Avatar Mel luebbert says:

    It is wonderful to rest in God’s sovereignty. The peace always settles in and then you are able to minister to others.

  • Avatar Sarah-le :) says:

    This is a favorite post for me. I’m always encouraged by the richness of the word and your ability to lead people into hope. 💕 We are not sheep, and we are going to have our eyes lifted as He meets us where we are, worshipping Him and keeping our hearts in the truth of His word.

  • Avatar Lynn Deno says:

    Wonderful Godly advice ! Thank you for reminding us that our confidence and hope is in our Lord and Savior !! He is Sovereign and in control . We need not fear. I plan to share this Good News with my family and friends. God Bless you. Lynn Deno- Kokomo

  • Avatar barbara l lepore says:

    xooo Safe in the complete care of God our Father… Jesus our Savior and the Holy Spirit our Comforter

    Sharing: “To wrap all this up, here’s some good advice, C. S. Lewis gave when asked about the atomic threat. Just so you know, I’m substituting the words “Corona Virus” for “atomic bomb”: “The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by Corona Virus, let that virus, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends . . . — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about pandemics.” In my opinion, that’s how people who are trusting the Lord in this pandemic will respond.” – Dr. Michael Rydelnik (Moody Bible Institute & MBI Radio Broadcast)

  • Avatar Sandy Batson says:

    Absolutely wonderful advice! I listen to you on WCRF on Wednesdays and most Saturdays. Thank you for your wisdom and willingness to share. I bet your classes are amazing!!
    God bless you and keep you…always.

  • Avatar Keith Oliver says:

    Thanks Dr. Rydelnik. This is what we need to hear. The normal patterns (mindsets) of the world seem to be anxious and fearful or to be careless and indifferent for our neighbors. But the word says, “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12:2). Thank you for helping us to renew our minds in scripture. After all if we keep our minds stayed on Him he will keep us in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3). I will pass this message along.

  • Avatar Deb Marshall says:

    I heard you on WCRF Moody Radio Cleveland Saturday morning and what you said was so meaningful to me. Since all this started I have been looking to the Bible for answers and comfort. You put it so well. Thank you for being a source of comfort and reason. I do love listening to your show on Saturday mornings. Now, I’m going to get back to doing sensible, human things. May Yeshua bless you and protect you.
    Deb

  • Avatar Rosario Mazer says:

    Awesome Yes the Lord is our Light and our salvation. To whom shall we fear???!
    Thank you and God Bless us all

    Rosario

  • Avatar Melissa says:

    Thank you.

  • Avatar Shirley says:

    We do need to take advise of authorities and do what we can to curb the spread; however, yes, stay connected via technology and share the wonderful news of the eternal Peace and Joy that can be ours when we yield to God’s gift through the Holy Spirit.

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