The Gospel and the Pandemic By: Beth Holmes

            As I write this, we are coming to the end of our fourth week of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. I have no idea what the world will be like as you read this, perhaps in May when it should be originally published, or some time off in the distant future, when all of this is a memory (I pray). I wish I did know. My personality type is enneagram type one, INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs, and all this not knowing is pretty difficult as I sit here and type. But since I don’t know what the future looks like, let me tell you a little about the recent past, the last month or so in our house.

            My husband has been the discipleship pastor at our church for 13 years. It is a role we have become very comfortable with. We serve a stable church – not a perfect church, but a very good one. Because we have no family in our immediate area, our church has become our family. They have walked with us in joy, and in sorrow and loss, and we love them dearly. But on March 8, 2020, Chris announced to the church that, over the next few months, he would begin taking on the role as head of school for a brand new Christian high school in our city.

            God gave me an incredible sense of peace about this decision. It seemed very clear to me that we were making the right move at the right time, even though it was, even on March 8, a huge step of faith to lead a school that doesn’t actually exist yet. Of course, we had no idea what the next week would bring.

            Just three days later, on March 11, Kentucky recommended social distancing for everyone. The next day, schools were closed for an indefinite period of time. The stock market more than tumbled. Potential donors began to cancel meetings with our school board. Churches ceased meeting in person. Eventually, most in-person businesses had to close. We began to wear homemade masks to the grocery store. The world as we knew it stopped.

            How long will this last? As I type this, I have no idea. How long will it take us to recover as a nation? We won’t know that for months, maybe years. Will anyone we know get sick and die from Covid-19? I pray not, but again, I don’t know the answer.

            But here’s what I do know: On March 8, as Chris stood in front of our church to tell them about his new position, God knew what was coming. God has opened door after door for this new school, and we press on because He has clearly blessed our plans to this point. God knows the money that we need and when we need it. We trust that God has a plan to provide for the school and for our family that is even better and greater than we could plan for ourselves. None of this caught Him by surprise, and He is not trying to look for a Plan B for our current situation.

            In fact, God has already provided a way out of man’s greatest need, that of a Savior, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NIV). This is God’s ultimate gift to mankind – that we can know Him and be known by Him, personally and intimately.

            We are to share this good news, this Gospel message with those around us who do not know Him, but did you know that we also need to speak it to ourselves, daily? The Gospel is not just for the moment of our salvation, but it should impact how we live, and the decisions that we make every single day.

            So, how does the Gospel impact our current global situation? How does God speak truth into the Covid-19 pandemic?

  • “God demonstrates his own love for us” – God demonstrates His love for us each day. Since the beginning of 2020, I have been taking a couple of minutes at the end of each day to write down five things I am thankful for. That practice has come to mean even more to me during these days of social distancing. Some days, five things seem harder to come up with than others. Some days, the blessings pour out. But regardless of how I view my circumstances, God blesses me every day. His love is demonstrated through His actions all around me.
  • “While we were still sinners” – I don’t know about you, but my sin nature has been front and center while I have been in my small house with my family, day in and day out, with no immediate end in sight. If I have learned nothing else from this, I can say with certainty that I am selfish, short-tempered, and whiney when things don’t go according to my plan. But thanks be to God – He loves me anyway! He came to me when I didn’t know Christ, and He comes to me even now, loving me through my sin, and loving me enough to continue refining my heart.
  • “Christ died for us” – Isn’t that the best news of all? Even in the middle of difficult circumstances, even with the reality of my sin, Christ died for me! When I feel like I’m not going to make it, Christ died for me. When I am upset with others and with myself, Christ died for me. When I was unworthy, Christ died for me. This reality alone should transform my daily life.

What difficult circumstance are you facing today? Whatever blessings or challenges you are facing, how can preaching the good news of the Gospel to yourself each day transform your mind?