Do you know your place in this life? Your purpose? God knows. He also knows the place and purpose of COVID-19. And they are connected.
Jesus takes his place
The night before he died, Jesus invited his 12 disciples to a private, upper room. They argued about who would sit at the best places for the meal. Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist … and began to wash his disciples’ feet” (John 13:4,5).
He put his outer clothing in its place, so that he could take his place serving, scrubbing dirty soles, gently disinfecting souls. He didn’t put his disciples in their place, in his wrath for their sinful selfishness. He gave them his gift of mercy, forgiveness and salvation. They received his love, his touch, him.
Then Jesus offered them his body and blood in the Last Supper. After which, Jesus walked willingly into the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing he’d be arrested, betrayed, crucified, and would die. It would be painful, unjust, lonely suffering. The very wrath for our sins. Here’s why:
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9,10).
COVID-19 is painful, unjust, lonely suffering. It is making people sick or lose their jobs. It is separating us from each other. It is dividing us in our opinions.
What is God’s purpose for this pandemic? You have a special place.
If the very worst suffering imaginable, the most tragic and unfair of any injustice, happened to Jesus but it was “for us,” then all other suffering serves the same purpose under God’s guiding grace.
For us. It’s not wrath. Not for us. It’s not punishment. For us. It’s not judgment on our sins. Not for us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior. That’s not the place where God puts us or the coronavirus.
God puts you in the place where Jesus is—even in this suffering, especially in this suffering. Jesus has suffered more, suffered it all, and come out alive. Now, believe in Jesus, and then your place is with him. Believe in Jesus and you will “live together with him.”
Apply that to your thinking, living, sheltering and reopening and the coronavirus will be in its right place for you, because you are in the right place with Jesus. He is your Savior and the Lord of any disease or virus.
You don’t have to figure it out. You might be fully alert and awake. You might be sleepily drifting a bit. God does not appoint you to suffer wrath but to receive his salvation.
Dear Jesus, what a place I have, a place above and beyond the coronavirus because I live together with you. Calm my fears. Extend my love to others. Shape me for now, as you prepare to spend eternity with me in heaven. Amen.
Meditate today, reflecting on the lies you hear around you and in you about the coronavirus being God’s weapon of judgment on you, getting even with you, displaying his anger on you. Read again the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:9,10. Pray for the truth of God to penetrate your soul, take charge there, and convince you again and again that your place with God is not wrath but salvation through Jesus Christ.