During this COVID crisis there’s no shortage of Christians trying to fit the current situation into a narrative that they can come to terms with. Some say this is God’s wrath poured out on the earth, others say it’s the work of Satan, others still remark that it’s some sort of human-engineered conspiracy, maybe a hoax. “They” are trying to influence elections, distract from the recently signed peace accord, shut down churches (whatever). The reality is, however, that the people saying such things don’t actually know such things, neither do I; and that’s okay.
Could this thing be the wrath of God poured out on earth? Maybe. The work of the devil? Perhaps. Biological warfare? Possibly. A complete hoax? Sure, why not? Any of these things could be true. On the other hand, it could be the case that an infected snake in a Wuhan marketplace transmitted the COVID-19 virus to humans, the virus took off, and now a group of imperfect human beings, medical agencies and government authorities are working in earnest to contain it, perhaps too late in the game.
Me? I’m not going to stake out a position. Why. Because it’s not important? No. Rather, because it’s not important that I know. This kind of thing is God’s business, not mine. Mine is to do the work set out for me, set out for all of us in the plain teaching of scripture: worship God, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, share the Gospel, treat others the way I want to be treated... love God with my whole heart and my neighbour as myself. This virus could have been engineered by aliens from another planet working in concert with Freemasons and Scientologists in a plot to destroy Israel, usher in the antichrist and force us all to take vaccines that contain the mark of the beast: it still wouldn’t change how I’m to respond as a disciple of Christ.
I love chapter 9 in John; it’s filled with examples of how Godly wisdom can be present without empirical knowledge. Note the disciples in verse 2 are trying to do the same thing that we are: put a bad thing that’s happened into a rational narrative that they can feel good about. Why? I don’t know, human instinct. I presume some part of them wants to know that they can avoid such a fate if only they check the right boxes. Notice Jesus doesn’t provide them a comprehensive answer that they can write down for future reference. Rather He tells them what they need to know: “this has presented you with an opportunity to bear witness to God’s glory - now seize that opportunity”.
Later in the chapter, the same blind man they were discussing (no longer blind) exhibits the kind of Godly wisdom that Jesus’ own disciples lacked in this instance. He freely admits to not having all the answers; instead he takes what information he has and responds with faith. The Pharisees are asking all the wrong questions as far as he’s concerned: “is He a prophet, a sinner, can He dance on the head of a pin with a thousand angels?” The man responds (v.27): “why do you want to hear (my explanation) again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”
Note the word “also”. This man has made up his mind. He doesn’t have all the facts, and he certainly doesn’t have the full details of the Gospel yet (no one does at this point); but it doesn’t matter. The man who opened up His eyes is righteous, He’s good, He’s brought God’s healing to him; this man will follow Jesus.
We have a choice here. We can try to describe this with theological or political rationalizations that make sense to our fallible human minds; or we can be about God’s business, confident that He has provided everything we need to know in order to do just that. Just be aware that every moment we occupy ourselves with the former is another opportunity lost to do the latter.
What’s it going to be?
Colin McComb lives in Edson, Alberta with his wife, Gail, and their three lovely children.