Prayer #238: Spiritual Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, gaining strength in fact in many places around the world, including our own country, it is a good thing, at this juncture, to pause and consider what God might be teaching us, His people, through all that has and is happening. Many of us are familiar with 2 Chr. 7:14. This pandemic has caused me to think more about the previous chapter, in particular 2 Chr. 6:28-31, which is part of the prayer of Solomon just before the dedication of the temple. In his prayer which occupies a good portion of the 6th chapter, Solomon is asking about what He will do when His people sin, or if there is a catastrophe in the land. Will He forgive if they repent? Will He hear their prayers in times of crisis? Will He heal His people? Will He heal their land?
Verses 28-31 of 2 Chr. 6 are especially interesting, considering where we are with COVID-19. Here's what Solomon prays:
If there is a famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in any of our cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by any man or by all Thy people Israel, each knowing his own affliction, and his own sorrow and stretching out his hand toward this house; then hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each whose heart Thou fully knowest, according to all His ways (for Thou, Thou only, knowest the hearts of the children of men); that they may fear Thee and walk-in Thy ways all the days that they live in the land which Thou gavest to our fathers.
God answers Solomon's prayer (the above and other things he prayed about—see the whole 2 Chr. 6 prayer) in 2 Chr. 7:14:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
From this, then, we can learn at least four spiritual lessons from COVID-19:
1 It is time to humble ourselves. Have you let God bring humility into your life during this viral pandemic? Is God breaking down any pride in your life as you, together with billions of others, face a pandemic that mankind has little if any control over? In many ways, one of the greatest barriers to local, national, and worldwide revival is the pride in the Church. What an important and vital time for all of God's people to humble ourselves!
2 It is time to pray. As we humble ourselves, we will naturally move into the posture of prayer. God wants us always to pray and not lose heart (Lk. 18:1). He wants His church to be a house of prayer (Is. 56:7; Matt. 21:13). The Church is slow to learn this. What better time than now could there be for us to become people of prayer? Surely much, much prayer is needed in this hour!
3 It is time to seek God's face. Not only does God desire that we humble ourselves and that we pray, but he wants us to seek His face; to draw in close to Him; to pursue Him with a greater passion than ever before. Surely now, in this period of a great pandemic, the time has come for us to run toward God with everything that we are and have.
4 It is time to turn from our wicked ways. This challenging time, with all its attendant sorrow and suffering, is truly one of the greatest opportunities in our lifetime to examine ourselves in the Body of Christ. Where is there sin in my life? What are the corporate sins of the Church? What do we need to repent of? Most of us, including me, are very good at seeing the sins of non-believers, but what about my own sins, and what about the sins of God's people? There will be no healing or revival in the land when there is unrepentant sin in the Church. If ever there was a time that the Church needed to examine itself and seek to turn away from sin, it is now.
Pray for a spirit of humility to pervade the Church---humility before God, before one another in the Church, and before a needy world. Pray for the Church to become truly a house of prayer, truly giving itself to pray as a major part of the life of the Body. Pray that we, God's people, would seek His face, pressing in passionately to know Him more and more. And pray that we would examine ourselves during this time of the pandemic, to see what sins we, personally and corporately as the Body of Christ, need to confess and repent of, so that truly would be healing and revival in our families, our city, our state, our nation, and our world.
2 Chr. 7:14-15: "If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place."