My ten-year-old son, Asher, turned to me in response to those who are struggling to make sense of the coronavirus: “…but Dad, this world is broken!”
Everyone is affected by the spread of COVID-19, particularly the most vulnerable members of society — it’s heartbreaking! However, it’s wonderful to see many moved to reach out to others with kindness, care, and compassion.
Truly, it’s the best of times and the worst of times.
Fear and anxiety flows from the things we don’t know…
> We don’t know the true impact of this pandemic.
> We don’t know who has been infected, or who will be infected.
> We don’t know how this will affect the health and well-being of our loved ones.
> We don’t know the economic outcome, for us and for the country.
Yet, the coronavirus highlights three things we do know, and must never forget to remember…
1. This world is broken!
The outbreak of COVID-19 could be described as a natural phenomenon. Despite this, we view it as an aberration, something that ought to be eradicated because the world would be a better place without it. It’s universally accepted as a problem, a symptom of a bigger problem: this world is broken!
I’ve had countless conversations in different countries, pointing out the fact that this world is broken. No one has turned to me and said, “Oh, no, it isn’t!” It’s a profound statement that deserves an explanation.
Author C.S. Lewis put it like this in his classic, Mere Christianity: “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” You call a line crooked because you have a standard for a straight line, otherwise a crooked line is not crooked, it’s just different.
In the same way, the coronavirus is a sign of something gone wrong in the world. So we must have an idea of the way the world ought to be — and this isn’t it! Suddenly the natural world doesn’t come naturally, which means we implicitly hold to a higher standard, above and beyond this world. In the face of the coronavirus, don’t forget to remember this world is broken. The second thing is this…
2. You’re not a speck, you’re special!
A pandemic puts lives at risk on a mass scale, and the common goal is to fight the infection and overcome it. It’s not about saving society. It’s about saving lives. We don’t want to weigh each person to see if he or she is worthy, we’re willing to fight for the weakest of the weak — those who cannot fight for themselves. You’re not a speck, you’re special. Another profound statement that deserves an explanation. This doesn’t follow from a purely physical world that suggests we’re less than a speck in this vast universe. This doesn’t follow from any evolutionary mechanism that suggests our selfish genes should drive us to survive at the expense of the weak.
The fight against COVID-19 is fought on the basis every person is stamped with absolute value, which means we implicitly hold to a higher standard, above and beyond this world. Don’t forget to remember this world is broken; you’re not a speck, you’re special; and finally, don’t forget to remember…
3. There’s got to be more to life than this!
The world has been changed by the coronavirus. It’s going to leave a deep scar on society. Still, there will come a day when it is no longer on the front page and it’s no longer a global threat. That will be a day to celebrate, but not for long…
> Hospitals will continue to treat men, women and children who are seriously ill.
> Lives will still be lost on a daily basis, with families grieving the loss of loved ones.
> Even the healthy know the clock is ticking, winding down toward the end of life.
> Funerals are never easy, and the one thing guaranteed in life — death — is difficult to accept. There’s got to be more to life than this!
Another profound statement that deserves an explanation. When someone dies, we feel sad. It’s as if this person ought to have lived longer. How much longer? The dream would be we finally figure out a way to live forever, because no matter how long we live, it never seems long enough.
The coronavirus reminds us of our mortality and the expectation there’s got to be more to life than this, which means we implicitly hold to a higher standard, above and beyond this world. In the face of COVID-19 we must never forget to remember.
This world is broken. You’re not a speck, you’re special! There’s got to be more to life than this.
Three profound statements that deserve explanation. Three profound statements that show we implicitly hold to a higher standard, above and beyond this world. Otherwise this world is what it is, and it shouldn’t be any other way. Every person is just an insignificant speck in this vast universe. Life is short and death is the end of everything.
Some argue these sound disappointing, but we need to grow up and face the facts. But why believe these are the facts if they don’t fit? Why is every person born with an expectation for so much more? Why ignore the pieces of the puzzle that take us in another direction?
I want to make explicit what we implicitly hold to be true: we hold to a higher standard, above and beyond this world. That’s why we know the world is broken. That’s why we know every person’s life is absolutely valuable. That’s why we know there’s got to be more to life than this.
I want to talk about the claims of the Christian worldview. The Bible is not a fairy story for the weak and uninformed. The Bible tells us God’s story, which is His-story and it rings true. The Bible tells us this world is broken. COVID-19 is not the way things ought to be, and we ought to do our best to eradicate it. The Bible tells us you’re not a speck, you’re special. We ought to fight for every life, since every person is made in the image of God.
The Bible tells us there’s got to be more to life than this, and there is! The Bible says this life will never be long enough because we were created to spend eternity with God.
I often use the ordinary jigsaw puzzle as a tool to help make sense of the world, to make sense of others and to make sense of ourselves. Why? We know we’ll never find all the answers, but we don’t need every piece of a puzzle to see the big picture. The Bible is like the picture on the box. It is the right guide to life, and it helps us see enough to know the truth!
Many thanks to guest blogger Alex McLellan.