Aatmik Sandesh Blogs

In the shadow of Coronavirus: Confronting the realities of the Bible

Our office in Bangalore was closed for a week after ‘the address to the nation’ by our prime-minister to self impose a curfew in the wake of Coronavirus epidemic. I travelled from Bangalore to Jaipur, my home town.

After the security check on the airport, I bought a cup of coffee and connected myself to the free wifi of the airport to download the trending movie – Contagion. This is a movie from 2011 which is trending now as this 9 year old movie shows what is happening today due to Corona. Movie depicts a similar contagious disease which spread very rapidly and it shows what all they did as they faced it through.

On the airpot, I was looking around and what I could see was people with mask on their faces, almost all of them. People are afraid of touching things and even touching each other. We are utterly conscious of attracting coronavirus and so all are using hand-sanitizer quite often.

People around me looked very vulnerable. I was having a bit of seasonal flu due to weather change but it made me a victim of people’s suspicious gaze every time I cleared my throat or coughed (which was certainly not dry and I do not have any breathing problem or fever whatsoever). A lots of random thoughts were coming in my mind, as I saw a sense of fear and urgency in the passengers.

I must admit that during this travel, I myself was conscious of every thing I touched. As I touched anything, I would think – who else may have touched it before me. I was required to touch the lift button when I left the hotel and then the car handle as I took the cab to the airport. CISF person touched my mobile as he checked my ticket and identity card. I touched trays at the time of security check and then the tray at the coffee shop. I touched the bus handle while we were taken to the aircraft. We all are touching things around us all the time and cannot avoid it. Usually we touch our face almost 2000 times a day but I am avoiding it as far as possible. Isn’t it odd to note these details; but I did.

Biblical prophesies: Myth or reality

Until very recent past, the mention of pestilence and epidemics sounded very odd and strange as well as the thing of the past, even archaic. Bible mentions of great sicknesses as a punishment from God in the Old Testament times. The attacks of locusts and dangerous, infectious diseases were mentioned in the book of Exodus as God’s intervention on behalf of Israelites when the Pharaoh refused the plea of Moses to let God’s people go from the slavery of Egyptians.

An angel of death passed through every home and large number of people were killed in the Egypt as a result of the event. God had forewarned that the firstborns of man and animals would die.

While this is not a imaginary story, rather its an account of incident happened in the remote past of the human history, we tend to take them as ‘story’ and not reality because we are living in modern times with sophisticated medical sciences. It has been difficult even for believers to take these accounts very seriously as reality because we are living in the time of great advancement in technology. Treatments of all kinds of sicknesses is available and we tend to inclination towards scientific outlook, and rightly so. Our such temperament, until recently, did not allow us to imagine that pestilence could be real even in modern times or some infection or sickness could ever paralyze the whole world. However, it has been mentioned so in the Bible as prophesies of the end times.

Bible in various prophetic books of Old Testament mentions of certain events which shall happen when the time of judgement comes closer. Likewise, Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 about earthquakes, unwelcome social circumstances, lack of love as well as pestilence which are signs of the end times and Jesus’ return for the judgement of the world.

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and PESTILENCES in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

Luke 21:10-11 (Emphasis added)

Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible mentions of some seals broken in heaven which shall cause epidemic and death in the end times when Christ is to return to establish his kingdom and rule the world as king, rapture to happen and final judgement of the mankind to take place.

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to KILL by sword, FAMINE and PLAGUE, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

Revelation 6:7-8 (Emphasis added)

While I do not wish to go into the theological accuracy of the sequence of events, my only intention of mentioning the above verses from the Bible is to highlight the facts that sound like a fairy tale and not reality. Occurrence of world-wide epidemic (pestilence) seemed like a dream and distant future until recently and sounded much like a fairy-tale in the modern times when there is no king like old times, no horses for royal use, and no sickness so great to throw the whole world upside down.

Despite being good disciples of Jesus Christ, being regular church goers, avid readers of the Bible and spending time in personal as well as corporate meditation of the Word of God and praying, the FEAR OF THE LORD has reduced to sporadic existence even among believers and faithful Christians, leave apart the people of other faith. Although, we believers have a common belief that Bible is the Word of God and probably never deny the truths mentioned in it; yet, we are careless in our speech, attitude and conduct as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ and Children of Light. We have failed miserably in reflecting the likeness and character of Christ and presenting ourselves as light of the world, which Jesus instructed – what we are in the world.

Confronting the Reality

The times have changed so rapidly in the last decade. Especially in the last one month, since the Coronavirus which is also known as Civid-19 has started engulfing the whole modern human civilization as if we are the people of centuries old times who have no medicine, no vaccination, no treatment and no control over this infectious disease as it spreads at a lightening speed across the world.

All of a sudden we feel so helpless in countering this virus and curbing the spread of disease. We feel so small in front of the enormity of the problem at our face. We are locked down, sitting scared in the corners of our houses, waiting – what will happen next. Many countries took it lightly and are now at the brim of complete closure. Most of us are expecting it to be an odd bad dream and as if we will wake up to a reality and realize that it was all in a dream. However, the reality is – we are submerged into it and need to act and react fast.

Until yesterday, we were flaunting our smiles and make-up and pouts and making tiktok videos and today we are wearing a mask and covering our faces due to the risk of imminent fear of catching this deadly disease. We are afraid of dying ourselves or of becoming a carrier of the virus to infect our loved ones. We are looking at each other so suspiciously, especially the ones who are sneezing or coughing around us. I am not sure if many of us would stretch a helping hand to a person who falls coughing and breathing heavily, showing symptoms of coronavirus infection.

Hasn’t the fear of unknown and lack of love gripped us already? Hasn’t our delusion of a safe, healthy and modern society with advanced medical sciences already broken? Hasn’t the reality of what seemed the far-fetched fairy-tales already started lurking at our face? Does it not alarm us that what Bible says is true and the prophesies of the Bible about the end times are not unimaginable?

Are we going overboard and blowing the situation out of proportion or are we not doing enough – is a dilemma we are facing right now.

What should be the response of a believer in such a time?

It is a naked truth that we are shit-scared of Coronavirus but unfortunately, we are least bothered of a deadlier epidemic called SIN. Coronoavirus is stripping off only the physical lives where the lifespan of humans is only 80-100 years max, sin takes away the eternal life altogether. We are not afraid of sin because it does not look or appear deadly whereas the Covid-19 does. We are not bothered of judgement because it looks far distant and even a myth but we are bothered about Corona because it kills. Judgement and hell are not a reality to us – as much as the worldwide epidemic was farfetched to us until it just happened.

Bible says that when the day of judgement arrives, people will be busy eating and partying and living their daily lives when the day will fall on them suddenly. It will happen as much as the Coronavirus has befallen on us unaware. Should we still remain doubtful? Believer or unbeliever, this is the time to repent not just because the fear of judgement has gripped us but more so because the love of God sets us free of all fears.

Do not fear!

Fear is not from God, faith and prayer are; therefore LOVE, TRUST & HOPE should be our response as a believer. We always have the choice of trusting the negative and be filled with insecurity and spread rumour or trusting in God (the source of all positivity) and be filled with hope.

We the believers of Jesus Christ are the carrier of hope and not fear. Don’t induce fear but this is the time to trust in God and give hope to the hopeless. Use this time to share about the love of God who are afraid and let your confidence in Christ be the living gospel you preach out of your life. Coming of the Lord is near, contribute to the kingdom of God.

The crux of Psalm 91 is as follows: Whoever goes to the Lord for safety and remains under His protection, can boldly say that God is his defender and protector and that He can safeguard him (or her) from all hidden dangers as well as deadly diseases. A believer does believe that God shall cover him under his wings and God’s faithfulness shall defend him. Such a person who puts his faith in the Sovereign Lord does not fear anything, whether the danger or enemy of night or the pestilence of the day which kills otherwise.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

Psalm 91:5-7

Do you believe in God and trust his promises given in his Word?

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

Isaiah and Daniel and even few other prophets spoke of the promise of God’s protection and healing for His chosen people. The New Testament gives hope not only to Israelites but to all gentiles that God’s love is equal and available to all, by faith.

God has not given us the spirit of timidity and fear but the Church and God’s people who believe in the true and living God must come out and play a very crucial role in this time. Let people know about how we all have sinned and brought our destruction ourselves but that God loves us and wants to forgive and save us. Almighty God can save us from pestilences such as Coronavirus and Sin alike.

Hopeless needs hope, sick needs healing, blind needs to be guided and people lost in the darkness are looking for the light. Would you shine with the light of Christ and gospel of Jesus Christ in the place you are?

What is our responsibility as patriotic Indians?

There is a common saying, “Believe in God but lock your car”. Locking your car is nothing but precaution in today’s time.

Every Indian believer is yet an Indian and this is the time to show our patriotism and solidarity with the national concern of fighting with this deadly disease. We cannot just keep proclaiming faith but not do the needful including our part as individuals, families and as citizens of the country.

The virus is contagious and spreads by air (sneezing and coughing) and by touch. Cover when you sneeze or cough. Wear a mask when you travel or go to crowded places.

If you are infected with the disease, you must stay quarantined in a proper facility for 14 days until you are declared fit to mingle with people. However, even if you are not infected, there is a possibility of infecting yourself when you continue to travel in public transport, keep meeting with people in crowd, go to market, party in clubs, visit in malls and watch movies in picture hall and so on.

You are young and probably you would not die even if you are infected but until the symptoms appear in you and you go for treatment, you may have infected many others, many of whom may be weak – like elderly people and small children having weaker immunity. The best way is to keep away from the crowd, or stay indoor so that you reduce the possibility of catching the virus and infect yourself and others.

Prime minister has called for a Janta Curfew on 22nd March Sunday, tomorrow. Let’s abide with the national call. You may not like the person holding the position and you may want to override his irrelevant demand of sounding cymbals and gongs. Unlike many wise leaders across the world who have taken wise decisions like forcing private companies to give paid leave, ordering perfume makers to produce sanitiser, call all private hospitals to treat people at government’s cost and handle the economy with bold steps, he has given the responsibility to us, the citizens of the country. It is a democracy where the government is for the people and by the people. Let us, people, take the charge and contribute by breaking the link of spread of the disease in India.

India is not well prepared for such a calamity as much as other advanced countries were but we are the people with stronger immunity. If we protect ourselves individually, stay in, maintain social distancing and take care of personal hygiene as well as frequently sanitize our hands, we would be able to stop the advancement of this epidemic immediately. We cannot afford the disease to start infecting the community and thats why lets stop crowding or going out unless it is very urgent.

Isolate yourself if you are infected or travelled to a foreign country or even long distance in India by public transport. Discipline yourself and get yourself checked if you have dry cough, heavy breathing and fever. 

We need not hoard a lot of grocery because as much as you need it, other do too. Share it with those who do not have it. Keep some cash, medical supplies and food supplies enough for 10-15 days and keep trusting the creator. Spend time with the family and keep praying. We will prevail.

Stay safe! God bless you.