Written by: Daniel Gordan

COVID-19 and Wars: What Should Christians Learn?

covid articleWe have witnessed three global events. One of them is now in the past. The other two are not yet in the past, but many would like to see them in the past as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Pandemic

The first event is the COVID-19 pandemic. It came out of nowhere, and, as it turns out, we were all unprepared for it. What were the consequences of the pandemic?

COVID-19, of course, has affected people’s physical health, and you can’t argue with that. Millions, if not billions of people were infected and suffered serious complications, and many even died.

But in addition, COVID has seriously affected the mental health of humanity.

Anxiety, depression, and isolation have become our constant companions during the pandemic, and some people have not been able to get rid of these new companions even now.

The economies of all countries have suffered; the pandemic has disrupted production chains and caused inflation, and many have lost their jobs.

Before the world had time to recover from the first woe, the second woe came: Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Russia-Ukraine War

The war in Ukraine brought colossal devastation and death to more than half a million people.

According to official data alone, more than 13 million people were displaced within Ukraine, and eight million left the country.

The economies of Ukraine and Russia, as well as the world economy, felt the burden of the war. The global market has been shocked by these events, and no one can predict what is yet to come economically. At the level of international relations, colossal tension has resumed, which the world has not seen since the Cold War.

In general, the war in Ukraine not only led to massive destruction in this country, but in addition, many of the foundations of the global order were seriously damaged.

All of this will have long-term consequences for global cooperation and security.

Moreover, fear and anxiety continue to increase, especially in Europe.

Israel's War Against Hamas

Recently, a new, well-known conflict in the Middle East broke out: the war between Israel and Hamas. This war also led to serious economic and political consequences. The hostilities have led to a serious humanitarian crisis.

Tens of thousands of people were displaced and became refugees.

On top of this, the world is faced with serious challenges to international diplomacy.

The Middle East region has become a very unstable place.

Spiritual Consequences

So far, I've talked about economics, politics, and ordinary material things, but my main goal today is to try to look at things through the eyes of the Bible.

I would like to talk about the three listed events in the light of the Gospel and attempt to see what is not visible to people who do not believe in God or maybe who do not perceive the current events from a spiritual perspective.

Let us read a few biblical verses:

John 17:20: “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word."

John 17:21: "That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me."

John 17:22: "The glory which You have given Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one."*

Praying for the disciples, Yeshua or Jesus made an extremely important request: He asked that His disciples would achieve absolute unity—with God and with each other. Unity is the ultimate goal; it is the triumph of the Gospel on earth. A united church is a strong church whose ministry is characterized by success and fulfillment of the mission assigned to it by God.

Now let's look at these three catastrophic events from the perspective of unity.

COVID-19 has taught believers not to go to church and to be satisfied with Zoom.

Undoubtedly, during the pandemic, this was better than nothing, but today, many people, just as they didn’t go to church, still don’t go. Since no one will dare to cancel the livestream, it follows that you can sit at home, wrap your feet in a blanket, and drink tea during the sermon.

In my opinion, the worst consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is isolation, which has become the norm.

God wants us to worship together. Phones can help us, but they must not substitute for living people. Of course, sometimes you just need to use a computer or your phone, and I often stream my lectures via Zoom and social networks, but nevertheless, five years ago, we could not imagine that being separated from our brothers and sisters in faith would be considered normal.

The second huge problem that COVID has brought is the debate about vaccination. The opinion on this issue became a stumbling block. For many, being vaccinated was not enough. It was also necessary to force opponents to join their camp.

And on the contrary, it was not enough for representatives of the opposite camp to refuse vaccinations. They needed to prove that their opponents had to agree with them.

What was the expected result? Of course, it resulted in divisions.

The war in Ukraine has divided believers into those who are against and those who are for; those who are patriots and those who are not; those who try to think independently; and those who obediently agree with propaganda.

Military actions in the Gaza Strip have aggravated the situation even further. As soon as you post on Facebook something about Hanukkah, Jewish prayers, or traditions, it immediately begins attracting angry comments.

All these divisions are expected to exist in this world, but not in the church. Such divisions can have fatal consequences. The Christian Church has faced trials many times. Wars, cataclysms, and economic disasters threatened the existence of the church many times.

However, I would dare to suggest that today, for the first time, we are faced with a situation where catastrophic events follow one after another, increasingly exacerbating the isolation of Christians. It looks like invisible evil hands are destroying established traditions and values. And these hands are doing this regularly and brutally.

How should we feel about what is happening?

First, in any circumstances, we should not sacrifice the unity commanded by the Messiah.

Second, if possible, we should not neglect in-person worship.

Third, we should understand that the time is short and perhaps very soon the final crisis will begin, which will lead to the final persecution and the Second Coming.

Will we be united at that time?

Will we be prepared?

 

* Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, used with permission. www.Lockman.org. 

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