As I pen down my thoughts, the novel corona virus is sweeping through the nations of the world leaving havoc in its wake. On a lighter note, I must admit that the code name given to the corona virus-Covid-19 sounds like a name that could be given to a Russian secret agent in a James Bond film, I kid of course.
To say that the world has been taken aback by this pandemic-covid-19 would be an understatement. It’s almost as if everyone had expected the virus to do its thing, take a few lives, blow over, scientists would get a cure or a vaccine for it and life would return to normal. Of course, this is not the world’s first rodeo haven already seen Ebola, SARS and the HIV/AIDS pandemic claim lives over the years. As at time of writing, there are over 2 million confirmed cases globally with over 139 thousand deaths due to the corona virus.
The first few cases of the covid-19 were reported in Wuhan, China late in December, 2019 and it was almost as if no one really cared and life went on as normal. Fast forward to January, 2020 and reported cases began to emerge of the virus affecting other parts of the world including Europe and South America. It was then the world stood up and took notice.
In Nigeria where I come from there’s a saying in Pidgin English that goes “Disease no dey kill black man” It’s an erroneous belief that ailments that afflict white people can’t kill an African man. Indeed that saying was proved wrong again as Nigeria reported its first case of the covid-19 on February 27th, 2020 while a few other African countries had begun reporting cases.
Nigeria’s index case happened to be an Italian man who had been to Milan, Italy and had come to Nigeria via Lagos state and eventually went to Ogun state to do some business. Some schools of thought on the origin of this dreaded virus exist (personally won’t want to delve into that in this piece), nevertheless, regardless of which school of thought you belong, my aim in putting this piece together is simply to point out some lessons this pandemic may be teaching humanity at this critical point in human history.
- Firstly, the pandemic has helped expose to the world once again the fragility of life.
“Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity”Ecclesiastes 12:8
Over time man has through major advances in science and other fields built for himself some sort of invincibility almost to the realms of making himself a demigod. Man has over time denied his need for dependence on His Creator. This problem began right from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). As the pandemic- covid1 swept through different countries, the panic, fear and anxiety among people was palpable.
Nobody wanted to die, the first instinct was survival and for the first time in a very long time, the deadly covid-19 posed an existential threat to mankind as we know it. In advanced climes were systems were working, shortages of basic protective materials like facemasks, hand sanitizers, latex gloves were experienced during the early phase of the pandemic. Retail outlets, shops, pharmacies ran out of them as people scampered to buy what was available. Fear and panic were the order of the day as the demand for these necessities inevitably overwhelmed the supply. Inevitably, scarcity ensued, hoarding where these protective materials were in short supply also was happening simultaneously.
The pandemic also exposed a deeply rooted issue that has afflicted man right from ancient times-greed. The word of God in Jeremiah 17:9 readily comes to mind,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”KJV
With demand overwhelming supply, unscrupulous business people saw an opportunity to rake in mammoth profits and took advantage of the situation to hike the prices of these protective materials. Of course, consumers were at their mercy as the danger posed by the virus became more apparent and these materials were simply in limited supply. A case in point here in Nigeria where you could get a facemask for about fifty Nigerian Naira (13 cents) prior to the pandemic, a facemask now sells for more than two hundred Nigerian Naira (52 cents).
2. The pandemic has helped expose the limitations in the wisdom and power of man.
As covid-19 began to wreak havoc across Europe and the Americas, it became apparent that major world powers may have initially underestimated the capabilities of the virus and also appeared helpless on how to respond to the threat of the virus which was described as novel. World powers that seemingly had the world at their feet such as United States of America and the United Kingdom were not spared from the effects of the virus. Nations famed for been proactive were caught off guard and were on the back foot from the get go. Covid-19 has shown it is no respecter of reputation, power, intellect or even wealth with even prominent personalities being infected by the virus. The Bible does state
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all”.Ecclesiastes 9:11 (KJV).
My heart goes out to anyone reading this piece that may have lost a loved one or knows someone who did to this dreaded virus. May the soul of the departed rest in peace. Amen.
A lot of things happen in life for which we have no answers and death is one of such things. I won’t pretend I have life all figured out, nobody does! What keeps us going in the midst of everything is faith in the goodness of the Creator. His omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence are far beyond what mere mortals can comprehend.
3. I believe God has utilized the covid-19 pandemic to remind His creation that He is still in charge of running His universe. Does this imply that the virus is Gods making and it is His deliberate plan to wipe out every man from the face of the earth? I believe not. Was God aware beforehand that such a virus will sweep through the world and cause the havoc that it has done?
God in His Omniscience was fully aware of the emergence of the virus beforehand. A cynic may then proceed to say “If God knew beforehand that this virus will cause great havoc, why didn’t He do something to stop it from happening?”. I do not hold brief for God but the world has been moving at super speed with no recourse to the Creator of the universe, sin and iniquity has multiplied in alarming proportions across the globe.
God is gently using this pandemic to remind us again to repent genuinely and find our way back to Him again as man was never created to function outside the support system of His Creator.
4. I believe God is also using the pandemic to sanctify, reorganize, and re-equip His Church for the rapture. It’s no secret that some parts of the church had been engulfed in great sin such as worldliness, adultery, fornication, materialism and other vices that Jesus Himself condemns. Covid-19 has also helped to redefine what believers have come to know as church. We have become so accustomed to having fellowship, services, and other meetings in our church buildings and have placed so much emphasis on these buildings rather than on ourselves.
The ban on large gatherings including religious ones has helped us realize that we are actually the church not the buildings we congregate in. It’s been a time for deeper introspection, more intimate personal communion with God and a revival of dead family altars.
Just one plague, and the world stood still, travelling, economic activities are at a standstill, cease fire among warring nations, sporting activities, religious activities, political activities, virtually everything has grinded to a halt. It’s truly a wonder how just one plague could have such a profound effect on humanity as it has had. For many, life is on “pause” at the moment and once
the “play” button is hit, life continues as normal. I do wonder at times if life will ever be the same again after this pandemic is defeated, what will be the new “normal” for the human race? Will we approach life differently than before, or do we just see all that has happened as an inconvenience, a mini interruption to our normal lives and return to our old ways? Some questions that beg for answers.
As I conclude, I must admit that my general disposition to life is to look at a life from a glass half-full perspective, and while many are being infected by the corona virus and lives are still being lost daily, in my view, there has been a silver lining in all of this. As I did mention earlier, the pandemic has been a time for deeper introspection, more intimate personal communion with God and a revival of dead family altars. Homes on the verge of collapsing are being restored. Super busy mums and dads have had more time to bond and re-connect with one another and their kids. The lock down due to the pandemic has provided much needed rest for the working class and many have used the chance to pay closer attention to their health and fitness by regular exercises.
The lock down has provided avenues to take online courses for career and personal development, learn new skills, revisit abandoned passions and lost loves just to mention but a few. Jesus while speaking to His disciples in Matthew 24:1-14 told them of what they are to expect as the signs of His second coming. The emergence of this pandemic has simply reinforced what He told them. Not to sound like a prophet of doom, but much more devastating plagues will come upon the earth before He finally returns (Revelations 16) but Jesus Christ offers this assurance The corona virus is simply a prelude to what is to come.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”Mathew 24:3