In this morning’s Charleston Gazette, Hoppy Kercheval posted an article with a sliver of good news regarding the pandemic. “We might be rounding the corner on COVID-19 in West Virginia—again,” the opening line declared.

Though the active cases in our state have fallen significantly since last week, we are far from journeying out of the proverbial woods. As of a couple of days ago, 954 of our West Virginia neighbors are hospitalized with the virus, and many of those are expected to die within the week. 

So, what will we do if the pandemic continues? Specifically, how will Christians react? In what ways must the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ respond?

In addition to trusting God, recalling the real reason behind the mess we’re in, remembering who the real enemy is, and asking God to make us better… 

Let’s pray this pandemic draws many unbelievers to Jesus.

According to the biblical narrative, a storyline I believe to be true and have staked my life upon…

God certainly uses trials, suffering, seasons of uncertainty, and even pandemics to draw unbelievers to Jesus.

While not necessary for salvation, many people turn to Jesus in the midst of crisis environments. Trouble seems to be a tool used by God, in conjunction with the gift of divine grace, to bring unbelievers to the place where they turn to Him.

Am I saying that this is the only reason for this horrible pandemic? Absolutely not. Like a multifaceted diamond—or in this case, a lump of coal—there are many factors to understanding our pain. (See the four previous blog posts in this series linked above.)

However, it is clear that a prayer asking God to use this pandemic to draw people to Himself is not only a good idea, but is expected in Scripture.

God certainly uses trials, suffering, seasons of uncertainty, and even pandemics to draw unbelievers to Jesus.

  • Early in human history, in a world filled with death and disappointment, people realized their inherent sinfulness and began to call on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26).
  • Abraham was called to faith under difficult circumstances (Genesis 11:27-28; 12:1-9; 15:1-6; Romans 4:1-3).
  • Naaman was confronted with the healing power of God through disease (2 Kings 5:1-14).
  • King Nebuchadnezzar was given a season of madness before recognizing God’s authority (Daniel 4:28-36).
  • Paralysis led to a man’s finding Jesus and salvation (Matthew 9:1-8), just as an issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34) and blindness led to others finding the same (John 9:1-41).
  • God ordained a man to be possessed by demons, only so He could later heal him and receive great glory (Luke 8:26-39).
  • Much hardship surrounded Paul’s (Saul’s) conversion (Acts 9:1-9; cf. 7:58).
  • The sickness of Aeneas led to local residents turning to the Lord (Acts 9:32-35).
  • Many believed as the result of Dorcas’ resurrection (Acts 9:36-42), but it was her death that made the miracle possible. 

Though hardship is not necessary for God to call someone to faith, suffering seems linked to the necessary humbling process for some to be saved (Luke 14:11).

God certainly uses trials, suffering, seasons of uncertainty, and even pandemics to draw unbelievers to Jesus.

Writing days before his unfair execution, the Apostle Paul writes to Pastor Timothy, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).

What might the Lord be calling us to endure in this season so that many more may be saved? 

Let’s pray this pandemic draws many unbelievers to Jesus.

Matt Friend, a Charleston native and tenth-generation West Virginian, graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served in pastoral ministry since 2002 and at Bible Center Church since March 1, 2016 (as our sixth Lead Pastor). He and Sarah (his high school sweetheart) are raising two teenage daughters, Katie and Riley, and a son, Kadyn. Together, they are advocates for adoption and all things West Virginia. In his free time, he enjoys reading, camping, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with his family and two dogs, Queso and Wasabi.

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