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Can a virus heal us?

The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries.
The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and founder of Chris Palmer Ministries. | (Courtesy of Chris Palmer)

In 2020, God used a virus to heal our land. That’s my prediction, at least. And while it’s yet to be seen, I think that sounds like something our Creator might do. 

The God of the Bible operates best behind paradox. He reigned by serving, lived by dying, and overcame through defeat. He does things a little differently than we do down here. He’s ironic and he works from the inside, out. 

Now, for his next act, he makes a harmful virus our nations cure and uses social distancing to bring us all together. 

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Seem a little too absurd? Almost like a Virgin Birth. 

I invite you to have a different perspective as these historic events unfold. Look beyond the minute-by-minute news and empty shelves. Squint into the shadows of antinomy. You’ll find the Great Physician operating. He’s healing the most diseased areas of society and life and making use of a virus to bring out the best in us.

For one, the Healer is restoring in our generational divide. Back in October, Millennials joked that their elders were the bane of society. Out of touch. In the way. Antiquated. Just retire already and give us your jobs, they groaned. The tension mounted and the divide grew more-and-more felt. But today, “ok Boomer” has suddenly become “are you okay, Boomer?” Memesters are concerned about the generation they just got billions of likes for resenting. They are out doing errands for them. Grocery shopping. Dropping things off. Picking things up. Shielding the Boomers from taking any unnecessary risks. Good ol’ fashioned respect seems to be coming back into style. Honoring your parents is in. The memes have been laid to rest and it’s now about tweeting ways we can put the elderly before ourselves. It’s the first being last and the last being first. 

The Physician is also healing our priorities. He allowed this virus to come during the most ironic of times, right when the biggest stages in sports had been set. Now, it’s mid-March and the ESPN home page has one update in their ticker: a final score from the Russian Premier soccer league. We should be seeing glorious upsets from March Madness, NBA and NHL teams vying for the last playoff spot, and golfers preparing for the Masters. It’s all been taken away, even bars to sit in. But the Physician left us with time. Valuable time to pay attention to our spouses, play with our kids, and fix that leaky sink we’ve been promising we’d get to for months. Families have a chance to get closer…in March. Who ever thought this month could be so mad? It’s a transformation, like water into wine. 

And then, the Creator is healing our tattered and divided land. Interestingly enough, he’s doing it through this new phrase called “social distancing” that’s come along with this virus. In a time where we need each other the most, we are told to stay as far apart as we can. But that’s the irony. It takes a virus to tell us we can’t be together for us to realize how important our togetherness actually is. Did you walk into a restaurant and feel awkward when you were seated away from others? Are you sad to see people hiding behind a mask? You don’t know who they are voting for. You aren’t sure what they think of Trump. You don’t care. You just know you need them. And you want them to need you.

The last week has been a wakeup call to love one another, without condition. Were all disgusted by our hoarding, sickened by selfishness. We’ve witnessed how low we can really go. And most of us don’t want to keep going. Thankfully, God has heard our prayers and he’s working through a virus to heal our disease.

Eventually, COVID-19 will be gone. But not before it has run its course. Not before it has brought the restoration God is allowing it to bring. Not until our society is better off than before it arrived. Does it sound absured? It does. But then again, God’s Word says, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Our country may indeed be weak, but not as weak as we were last week. I trust in the Great Physician. I believe he’s the kind of God that can use a virus to make us all much healthier.

The Rev. Chris Palmer is the founder and pastor of Light of Today Church in Novi, Michigan, and host of the popular podcast, Greek for the Week, seen on several Internet platforms. His most recent book is Letters from Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation.

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