Everywhere you turn lives are being affected and upended by COVID-19. Virtually every news story is about it. Our schedules and socializing are being dictated by it. Our personal hygiene habits are even under its influence.
Yet we Christ-followers know this is not the age of the virus. This is the Church’s age and the Church’s time, and the Church will be not be overpowered. The Church has endured crises since her inception. From internal disputes to theological differences to external persecutions, the Church has been besieged and attacked yet the promise of God still stands and so the timeless Church still stands to offer hope that is immune to a temporary virus. If the gates of Hell cannot overpower the Church (Matthew 16:18), then neither can a pandemic nor its side-effects.
This is not to encourage foolish bravado or unwise practices. This is not to say that people—including Christians—won’t get sick or die. This is not to say that many local churches won’t be negatively affected. But God’s global, universal church is unassailable and unhindered; she is alive and well. In fact, I believe she’ll be stronger than before COVID-19 appeared on the scene of history.
Here are a few reasons why:
1) God’s global glory goes through the Church; therefore, she will endure.
God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places … Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:10, 20-21)
While many are watching CNN and FOX and listening to CDC guidelines and economic forecasts for clues, the “unseen rulers and authorities” are seeing God’s wisdom on display through the church! While we are praying for mercy, God is working for more than we can even fathom to bring about His glory through the church!
Brothers and sisters, together as the church, we form the lens ordained by God to showcase His wisdom, His glory, and His salvation!!
2) God prunes His Church for greater fruitfulness; therefore, she will not only endure but she’ll come out stronger.
For sure, nominal, in “name only” Christians may not return when we can gather physically together again. However, being the Church was never about attending when convenient; being the Church was never dependent on a particular time or a particular place but rather being a particular (even peculiar people) of God.
You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
For sure, in this season we’ve had to find new ways of being the Church, new ways of showing love, and new ways of being there for one another and for our communities.
Not all of these new ways have been easy or convenient, but anyone can do easy and anyone can do convenient. Only those born of the Spirit and willing to bear the cross to follow Christ can be and are the true Church.
So out of this, the true Church will be stronger, purer, and shine more brightly to a world in darkness and in need of His wonderful light.
3) God’s Plan A is the church and there is no Plan B; therefore, He’ll ensure the Church grows in steadfastness.
While church life, work life, family life, school life, social life, and online life have been changed and challenged by COVID-19, the Church is still God’s idea, God’s creation, and God’s method. The Church is still backed by His promise to build His church, to use His church, and to get glory through His church.
Therefore, being the church in quarantine and isolation won’t be in vain. Jesus will still advance His church toward the glorious new world that awaits—a world without virus, death or imperfection.
And if COVID-19 causes anyone to turn to King Jesus and hope more in Him and the world to come than in this world, then “glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen” (Eph. 3:21)