Possible Pandemic Purpose?
by Rector Jim Murphy
A Chicago politician, who shall go unnamed, was fond of saying something to the effect that we should, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” If I understand him correctly, he is saying that there is always something to be gleaned, or an advantage to be found—even in bad times. It matters not whether we’re talking about wars, pestilences, riots, pandemics or such. There are always beneficial silver linings of some sort if we find and develop them properly.
I agree with the thrust of his assertion. He is restating the time-tested truth that we can learn from our experiences. We can benefit from not repeating hurtful, damaging, life-demeaning mistakes. Mining the information from any crisis has the potential of helping us make better choices in the future.
Biblically speaking, plagues, pestilences and battles always had a purpose. They were, in a manner of speaking, crisis that should not go to waste. Ofttimes that purpose is overtly stated. At other times the reason is more subtle. Regardless, that purpose was always the same, even though it may have been couched in differing terms. That purpose was in each instance to reveal the character of God, the Creator of the universe, the Lover of souls, the only Person who has our best interest in mind. El Shaddai, God Almighty, desires that every person come to know him for who he is in all of his glorious majesty—for our benefit.
In the beginning of Exodus 5, the Egyptian Pharaoh refuses the request of Moses and Aaron to allow God’s people to go from their servitude to worship him. In verse 2 Pharaoh says, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go. I do not know the Lord.” But God is undeterred, he wants both Pharaoh and his people to grasp his identity. In Exodus 6:6-7 the Lord wants to make sure that his chosen people appreciate the reason for them being burdened with oppression and slavery. “…I am the Lord, I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you… then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” He wants them to be absolutely certain of who he is. And not only them.
At the start of Exodus 7, God tells team Moses and Aaron that there is a process about to unfold, where his “…signs and his wonders” will be made manifest in Egypt. Why? Exodus 7:5, “And the Egyptians shall know that Iam the Lord.” Our heavenly Father wants everyone to know who he is and what he is like unto his children. Pharaoh and all Egyptians were to come to an understanding of the God of gods. In that reality, whether the truth is accepted or not, the Almighty is unfailingly Love to his people. Therefore, it is to everyone’s benefit to recognize him for who he is and accept his love.
The ultimate revelation of God-self was at the Incarnation, the Nativity, in Jesus’ birth. The Father gave his all to show us who he is and what he’s like. Talk about violence and riots! The world should still be protesting the illegitimate prosecution and pre-meditated murder of the only totally innocent Man to ever live. But no, God wanted to show the world who he is, what love looks like, laying down his life for us. Bearing the burden for the pandemic of sin.
How might we pray that the Lord God would open human hearts and minds afresh, to see who he is? That he is unfailingly Love to his children. That he alone who has the power to deliver from war and pestilence, might use the very same to deliver many.
Originally published in The Highlander, June 2020.