Covid-19 And The Humbling Of America

Covid-19 And The Humbling Of America

We Christians know that the world is not a machine. A virus is not merely a glitch in the system. Rather, the Christian faith teaches that God is sovereign. As the creed says, “I believe in God the Father Almighty. Covid-19 does not wield more power than the Most High. Rather, Covid is wielded by the Most High.

It is reasonable then to ask why God has sent this virus at this time. God deals with mankind purposefully, not arbitrarily. Moreover, He deals with mankind until man learns the lesson intended. Consider Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar. All to say, the sooner the lesson is learned the better. To think this way, which will be deemed mystic and medieval by many, is far more Christian than to disregard what has been said so far for tuning into the latest state sanctioned Coronavirus projection map.

Along these lines I was encouraged to hear an insightful point from Dr. Heidi Abraham in a recent podcast. She noted,

I find it ironic that this pandemic is attacking a lot of the things that America thought we were really good at. We thought we were good at information, technology, economics, preserving endless youth, sports, fighting disease, women outside of the home—breaking up families and that kind of thing. And all of the sudden it turns out we are not that great at any of those things.[1]

In the midst of grieving the loss of life, it is both humbling and encouraging to see God humble America. May He see the project all the way through, bringing many knees to bow to the Great Physician. What we are watching is a real time illustration of God’s rebuke of Job,

 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding (Job 38:2-4).

We are a people who have bowed the knee to the god-science. As a Christian I of course enjoy and benefit from science. But I have no respect for god-science. When you can claim human beings came from apes with a straight face and have everyone smile and nod as if that is not outrageous, it is a clear sign that god-science is worshiped. While you can win an argument simply by saying, “It is science,” all of our best scientific inquiry has not been able to keep the majority of our nation from quarantine. In fact, it could be a healthy dose of what C. S. Lewis called scientism that has resulted in the loss of certain liberties. Lewis once remarked,

If any of my romances would be plausibly accused of being a libel on scientists it would be Out of the Silent Planet. It certainly is an attack, if not on scientists, yet on something which might be called ‘scientism’—a certain outlook on the world which is usually connected with the popularization of the sciences, though it is much less common among real scientists than among their readers. It is, in a word, the belief that the supreme moral end is the perpetuation of our own species, and this is to be pursued even if, in the process of being fitted for survival, our species has to be stripped of all those things for which we value it—of pity, of happiness, and of freedom (emphasis mine).[2]

We are also a nation given to parental abdication of education. Regardless of one’s stance on government, private, or homeschool education, Covid-19 has revealed that many parents have lost the sense that they are ultimately responsible for their children’s education. I have many godly family members and friends deeply vested in education. They face innumerable challenges in the midst of this pandemic as they partner with parents to educate the next generation. Many of those problems would not exist if we were not given to parental abdication of education.

At the outset of the year of our Lord 2020, the American economy was booming. It was our president’s platform for election 2020. God changed that in a moment. Even states, such as my own, that held out on stay at home orders for awhile, are moving to essential services and businesses only. Unemployment is rising at an ominous pace. Everyone is tightening their belts.

Americans have become very accustomed to helpful technology. Technology is useful on many fronts. Our lives have become smoother and more efficient because of our many tools. Yet it is mankind’s error to begin to worship tools. We rely on them, not as the second causes that they are, but as first causes. While many of our technologies have served us through Covid-19, we are keenly aware that face-to-face meetings are better than Zoom—and we are not terribly sure that we are better off with the endless “corona news” our technologies have brought us. I have a mind to think we may look back at the first pandemic with social media, and regret the trouble we got ourselves into because of it.

Our national anthem declares that we are the “land of the free and home of the brave.” We certainly have been and perhaps still can be. Not only our history books, but many of our grandparents have told us of the joy and cost of being so. I am not in position to answer the question emphatically, but it seems a fitting time to at least ask the question, “How free and brave are we?” History teaches us that a people very often lose their freedoms because they give them up. And they usually give them up when there is a real threat. The question is, “How big of a threat?” And, “Protection at what cost?” Covid-19 has shown us that maybe we are not as free and brave as we think we are.

It seems legitimate to say that God is exposing America. Hopefully, by grace, He will humble her. You can only have a free and brave people if that people know the liberty and courage of Christ. The supernaturalism of Christianity keeps us worshiping the God of creation rather than worshiping creation and our misguided notion that we can control it. A biblical understanding of education and the family protects us from societal breakdown. We have lost much of the “Christian” which has fueled the rest. If the foundations are not restored then the structure falls. And humility is what it takes to go down to the foundations again.

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:26-28).

[1] https://crosspolitic.com/podcast/cp-we-talk-coronavirus-with-dr-heidi-abraham/

[2] C. S. Lewis, “Science and Scientism.” C. S. Lewis Society of California, https://www.lewissociety.org/scientism/.

Follow Jared Longshore:

Jared served in pastoral ministry since 2007, he has earned MDiv and PhD degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. He and his wife Heather have seven children.
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