Social Media is abuzz with the Ebola virus. News clips… Conspiracies theories… Fear… Rants and Raves… Fingers pointed at government and hospital officials… Demands for closing our borders and shutting down flights (of which I admittedly support) …and of course the cries back and forth about this being a judgement from God… but I haven’t seen a lot of what I would call a “Christian” response. I’ve only seen a few people post anything that I would say truly represents the Ebola situation with the eyes of Jesus.
If as Christians, we are to be Christ-like, it’s a shame that our faith, our doctrine, and our words don’t line up with what Christ did while he was on earth setting the example for us. So let’s go ahead and knock out the whole “Is this a judgement from God” theory and then I’ll share what our response truly should be… not just for Ebola, but period.
There have been exhaustive looks at the Old Testament that shows God’s judgments, and this is not another one. I think the point has been shown that God has always given a way out for his children in the midst of Judgment, has been patient, and that his judgment usually meant expulsion from their land, not death to his people… and this was before the covenant of grace. For that debate, I suggest Google. You’ll find plenty of research material from either vantage point.
But let’s look at Christ’s example. In John chapter 9 we read, As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” God didn’t send the sickness, that comes from the enemy, but it was an opportunity for the God of the universe to be made known…. as well as his goodness and his love for the sick, the ones in bondage, the hurting and lost.
Let’s look at another and I’ll make my point. In Luke 8 we have the story of the storm coming upon the disciples. One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown! He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. Notice he asked the disciples where was “THEIR” faith? Why had they doubted… and why had THEY not rebuked the storm? Remember, he was teaching them to do as HE did. Did God send the storm? Only to rebuke it?
Christ is to be our example. We are to do the things he did. And we are to be full of faith like he was…. full of love like he was… So did God send Ebola to the US? Well, I can say “In my opinion” no. I can also say that that line of thinking doesn’t line up with the heart of God or the example I see in Jesus. His response was to face the sickness, the storm, the situation, and use it as an opportunity for God the Father to be made known and to be glorified.
So could I be wrong? Maybe… but here’s the fact. Even in judgement, our job is still to do the works of Christ and greater, so what would our response be? To stand up and proclaim the gospel, grace, love, to rebuke the coming storm, and to see God’s love be manifested. Remember Jonah? He brought a message of destruction to Nineveh, and then was disappointed when they listened, repented, and God granted them grace. The idea behind the message was God’s love and for the destruction NOT to happen. We seem to have more Jonahs then Jesus making their voices heard. I see a lot of Christians declaring God’s coming judgment, and not out sharing God’s love, pouring themselves out in evangelism, signs and wonders, healing the sick, screaming that the world is perishing and not giving themselves to save it. I call those hypocrites. Harsh? Maybe, but we don’t have time for games and comfortable words right now. Now is the time for the body of Christ to move past itself and into what God has called it to be.
I shared with my own family the story of John G Lake ministering during the Bubonic plague. (Google it) And it’s my take as well. I will not worry about getting sick. I never saw Jesus pray for the sick and worry about catching what they had, and he’s my example. I will not declare God’s judgment without also sharing God’s radical love. I will not get my patriotism and my Christianity mixed up, and confuse ire for the government for being a good Christian. I will not gripe about where our country is at, without giving my life to bring her the gospel. I will give my life to do the things Jesus did and declare the Kingdom of God is at hand.