Christianity and Calamity
March 13, 2020 · C.E. Carter
It’s hard to introduce a topic like this, not because it’s so specific, but because it’s so general. Calamity is one of those things that needs no introduction. The history of the human race is, to a great extent, the enumeration of calamities in their chronological sequence, in the form of a list of wars, plagues, uprisings, and travesties. Times of peace and comfort are a rarity, and that’s just a reality of life.
The Christian church, since the time of Christ, has operated in the same way regardless of the year or the circumstances. We are not immune to the calamity which befalls the society we find ourselves in, but we bear the brunt of it just as anyone else does. In fact, we may bear even more during times of persecution from society itself. The required endurance of these things is part of the guarantee which the Lord imparted to us at His last supper: “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world”.
Because of this the church is not a mere political, or social, or economic entity. She has no stake in such endeavors, since she does not require anything that could be gained from political power, or fame, or wealth. She is in possession of all because of her Lord, and she clings to the promise of her eventual marriage to Him, and to her subsequent inheritance of the world in which she currently resides as a fugitive. While the rest of the world is tossed to and fro by the dim folly of human wisdom, she treasures these hopes in her heart and quietly endures whatever comes to pass.
Therefore, I will not mention the events of the time, which are already at the forefront of every person’s mind. I am already tired of hearing the name of the disease which has produced so much worry in the hearts of my colleagues and friends and family, and I won’t subject you to the mention of it in yet another post on the internet. At this point, I don’t consider this to be a “calamity”. We can see dark clouds on the horizon, but it is unclear to us the magnitude of the storm which we are about to meet. Some falsely console themselves with ignorance and rugged individualism in order to ignore the warnings, while others get a perverse sense of satisfaction from prophesying doomsday. Both come from fear and pride, not knowledge.
What I can say is this: what I have been shown about the Universe and about God informs me that all things will come to pass exactly according to His purposes. There is not one virion of this contagion that is outside of His sovereign, transcendent, imminent control, and therefore, my marching orders as a Christian are the same as they have always been: be faithful to Him, walk in righteousness, submit to government, love my neighbor, be wise, and preach the Gospel boldly. If I die from a viral infection, I die by His hand, in order to be with Him. If I live, I live by His power, in order to continue my work here on earth. The former possibility (that is, of dying) must be recognized at all times and in all places, whether there is a pandemic or not. The latter is what I intend to do.