This virus is awful. There’s no doubt about it, and nothing I say here should be misconstrued as ignorance to all of the horrors our world has incurred as a result of this pandemic. However, we’re only getting half the story.
The Half We Can See
As I wrestled with some despair and heaviness the past few days, I almost felt ashamed to be depressed. After all, as a Christian I am told to give thanks in all things, rejoice, and consider it all joy. I admit, I haven’t done that consistently, and yet my kids and my husband are all healthy as far as I know, thank God. I’m at home with plenty of groceries, and yes, even toilet paper. What do I have to be upset about?
And then I was reminded that even the Holy Spirit grieves. I do not think it is possible with a heart of flesh to be part of this world right now and not experience some grief, mourning, and despair. I don’t know really how any of us could be hearing the stories, and the numbers, and the headlines, and not occasionally feel some anxiety or fear. But today what I realized is that we’re only getting half of the story. In fact, I’d go even further to say that we don’t even know the half of it.
The majority of the news right now is focused on numbers. Numbers of deaths, numbers of infections, numbers of countries, and places with outbreaks and numbers that are exponentially rising out of our control. But the media doesn’t have the power to report on the other part of the picture, the numbers that only God knows right now.
What are the number of people who opened a Bible for the first time in their life as a result of COVID-19? What are the number of people who have attended church online who haven’t been inside a church in years? What are the numbers of new believers that were bought into heaven because God allowed COVID-19 to bring them to their knees before their death? What are the number of atheists who have now become believers as they’ve witnessed the undeniable power of the supernatural? How will their children be impacted? How will their grandchildren be impacted? What are the number of generations that will be firmly planted in belief because of the shift of someone’s heart in the midst of this horror? What are the number of souls who will be saved because God did exactly as He promised to do and work even that which was meant for evil to do good? What are the number of people who have participated in extraordinary creative outpouring displays of love, who might instead have been just going about their normal routine this week if not for this virus? What is the number of people that have volunteered for the first time in their life as a result of the need in their own community? What are the number of relationships that have been mended? What are the number of marriages that have been saved? What are the number of miracles that are occurring even in this very moment as you read these words? God knows every one of those numbers. And the media knows nothing about them. In fact, none of us may know much about any of these numbers this side of heaven. But God knows them. And He continues to reassure us not to fear.
The Whole Story
He can do that, you see, because He has the whole story. I don’t think we have even half of it. So today if you see any of those numbers that seem frightening (because they are), remember that there is a whole host of numbers that we know nothing about. But the One who is monitoring them and accounting for every single one of us knows the beginning and the end and knows that in the end, the sum of them will tell of His almighty love and His glory for us all.
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s the author of Fire Women: Sexual Purity & Submission for the Passionate Woman and the co-author and editor of DiscipleTrip by Dr. Joey Cook. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.