Run Towards the Coronavirus
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. (1 Samuel 17:48-49)
I spent the day with the Snymans and something George said stuck with me (ok, whenever I am with George, this happens to me quite often). As we were discussing the pandemic, he reminded me of the story of David and Goliath. He observed that if you look at verse 48, you can’t help but be amazed because David RAN QUICKLY TOWARD Goliath to face him in battle. Remember, David was a teenage boy and Goliath was a giant warrior-soldier probably able to squeeze the life out of David as though he were a gnat. But David doesn’t run away, as all of us would do. He runs quickly toward him. How could he do such a thing, with such boldness, without fear?
The answer is in verses 45-46 when David tells Goliath:
“You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
For David, God was not a mythology or a security blanket to make him feel good at night. For David, God is the Lord who fights for him. And David knows God will act for His glory. So that all the earth may know that He is God, God will fight for David and so David runs right towards the enemy. Who runs towards giants? Who runs towards their death? Who runs into fires? You are supposed to run away from, rather than towards, danger. The only reason this makes sense is the One David trusts, his Defender, is infinitely more powerful than his enemy. He doesn’t simply think this is true. He knows it is true.
My friends, please excuse the allegory, but we too face a giant, but his name is not Goliath but Covid-19. Right now, there are so many people running away from him because he is just so large and powerful and deadly. As Christians, we too should run...unless, there is a Defender who is infinitely greater than the giant. If that is the case, then we should not run away from it but run quickly toward it.
How how can you run toward this giant?
DO NOT FEAR: Jesus regularly commanded His disciples, “Do not fear.” Why? Because there were so many things to fear. He knows our hearts. He knows we can be overwrought with fear. But He came to destroy fear forever. Jesus said: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” (Luke 12:4) The body can die but this is not the end for Christians. Christians KNOW that we are made for another place, eternally more joyous. And so as C. S. Lewis notes, we are living only the introduction of our lives. We know this to be true. This is why Jesus tells the disciples on the raging sea, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” (Matt 8:26) Jesus was right there with his disciples. They needed not be afraid. David really believed God was right with him. Similarly, if we really know he is with us, that he will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:4-6), then we will not fear, we will fight fear, we will stand firm even when all else trembles (Psalm 46).
RUN TOWARDS IT: Everyone is running from the virus, isolating themselves, stocking up. Yes, we must be practical and discerning and wise. Yes, we must care for others by keeping the contagion at bay. But may we not be afraid, but instead love.
What are some ways we can love others and run towards the virus while others are doing all they can to protect themselves? We can perhaps ask our neighbors or on apps like Next Door or Senior homes whether we can fight the battles at supermarkets for them, pick up some food. Maybe we can make sure people who are sick are cared for, medicines are picked up. Is this risky? Yes. But Christians throughout the centuries in the history of the church have always loved when none do. Christians have sacrificed when others become selfish. Christians have run into fires while others are running away. Christians run towards plagues and leprosy and earthquakes and dangers, when others turn inward and self-protective. I hope Wellspring in this season, reflects the very character of our Savior, by giving of ourselves so that others could see just how great and gracious and truly loving God is.
Please help us think of different ways we can serve our communities to see Jesus in this season. Let’s not waste this time by being self-centered. Let us move forward and run towards the giant. Have you have any suggestions at all, email me, or our staff, or our Elders. May we be Christ’s hands and feet to our church and our community.
READ GOD’S WORD AND PRAY TOGETHER: Everything has mostly shut down. I was listening to the radio and they were talking about the realities of every major sports season shutting down. The hosts of the show asked, “Now what are we going to do. I guess we’ll just have to watch Netflix 24-7.” How sad! This is life for so many people, watching sports on TV and watching movies on TV. My friends, what a time to actually spend time in His Word and prayer. There are wonderful books to read that can not only feed your soul, but encourage you in this season (email me if you want recommendations). Don’t waste your time that God has sovereignly given you to delight in Him. (Psalm 1) Gather with family and friends and pray for one another, for the church, for our community, and nation, and the world. Pray that more people will trust in Jesus BECAUSE of the coronavirus, that perhaps people realize just how frail life truly is.
MEET TOGETHER: This Sunday we will be worshipping online. You might be tempted to think, “Oh it’s only an online worship, I don’t need to come.” No dear friends, you need to be there. As Hebrews 10:24-25 teaches us, NOT meeting together is a habit that is formed. It doesn’t actually take too long for this habit to be formed. And so when Sunday comes, and the devil whose greatest goal is to separate you from God and His people, entices your desires to say, “It feels good to have so much time on Sunday.” You won’t want to get your family together. You’ll want to just go and clean your house, organize the garage, do extra work or homework, till your garden, etc. But one week leads to two, which leads to three, which leads to the habit of not meeting together.
No, you need to join us this Sunday online for worship. So much more is at stake for you than one missed Sunday. So gather your kids. Join with other families. Sing with us. Pray with us. Listen with us. Worship with us. Meet with us together and continue the habit of saying on this day, the Lord will be worshipped as this local body worships together.
Matt Smethhurst has a great quote by C. S. Lewis that is both prophetic and convicting. Just replace “Atomic Age” with “Coronavirus.”
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb 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 over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
— “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays
Wellspring, may we walk by faith and not by sight in this present hour (2 Cor 5:7). May you run towards this giant because you believe that your God is with you and that all the earth might come to know Him. To be in God’s will is the safest place you can be.