Searching for God During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Why is God allowing the crisis? Are we in the end times? There are answers to these questions. But the most important question is: What will you do about it?
A recent poll in the United States showed that more people are searching for answers from the Bible during this coronavirus pandemic. The poll found that:
- 44 percent of Americans said they see the current crisis as “a wake-up call for us to turn back to faith in God” or as “signs of coming judgment.”
- 22 percent of non-Christians polled said the crisis is causing them to read and seek answers from the Bible.
- 40 percent of those identifying as Christians said they are reading the Bible more and searching online for material on Bible prophecy.
- 29 percent said they see the current crisis as evidence we are living in the last days.
(If you are searching for information on Bible prophecy, we invite you to explore our many articles on prophecy.)
Through the pandemic there has also been a dramatic increase in Bible sales. In times of crisis people search for hope—with many turning to the Bible to find that hope. But are people looking for the right answers, or even asking the right questions?
Let’s explore what the Bible teaches us about the future—and what we can do about it now.
Things are prophesied to get much worse
This may not be exactly what we want to hear, but our world is going to get much worse. The coronavirus has impacted people’s lives in many ways, but how does it compare to what the Bible prophesies about the end time? Consider the following prophecies:
- God warns that “a fourth of the earth” will die from the ride of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse—including by warfare, food shortages and disease epidemics (Revelation 6:7-8). This makes the current crisis look like a drop in the bucket compared to what is prophesied to come. To learn more about these four horsemen, read “What Are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?”
- A 200-million-man army will arise from Asia and kill a third of mankind (Revelation 9:15-16).
- Jesus described a coming time of “great tribulation” that would be the worst time in all history. (Thankfully, He also said nothing like it will ever happen again.) Unless God intervenes, no one on earth will survive (Matthew 24:21-22). To learn more about this coming time, read “What Is the Great Tribulation?”
Yes, those prophecies can all sound very discouraging. But before you think “all hope is lost,” let’s dig a little deeper and understand why these things are going to happen.
Why will things get worse?
Many in the Christian world understand that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). But how can a loving God allow such things to occur? When terrible things happen, even religious leaders struggle to reconcile those events with a loving God.
But to understand why a loving God will allow things to get so bad, we must look at the bigger picture by going back to the very beginning. There are only four chapters in the Bible where sin did not (or will not) exist in the human realm—and those are the first two chapters and the last two chapters.
In the first two chapters of Genesis we see God’s creative power in shaping this world to sustain life, in preparing the earth to be home to an array of plant and animal life.
The pinnacle of His creation was the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. They were made in his very own image (Genesis 1:26). To learn what it means to be made in God’s image, read chapter 1 of our free booklet God's Purpose for You: Discovering Why You Were Born.
Most of our sufferings and times of crisis have been brought on by ourselves—not God.God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and told them to eat from all the trees except one—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16). This tree represented self-determination (man determining for himself what good and evil are, apart from God).
Satan, in the form of a serpent, presented them with an alternative view of the tree—contradicting God (compare Genesis 3:4 with 2:17). He presented the forbidden tree as a tree that would liberate them to think for themselves.
Presented with this alternative view, Adam and Eve had a choice: listen to the Creator or listen to the serpent.
Tragically, they listened to Satan. They chose to reject God and replaced His guidance with the influence of Satan and their own thoughts and desires.
Mankind has followed Adam and Eve’s poor example. The Bible shows the effect Satan has had on this world as a result of this decision:
- Satan has the “whole world” under his influence (1 John 5:19).
- Satan is described as the “god of this age,” the power that mankind has chosen to listen to (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- Satan “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).
- Satan’s influence is designed to lead men to sin. “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).
Learn more about sin in our article “What Is Sin?”
Mankind has been following Satan’s way (and ignoring God) since Adam and Eve committed the first human sin. The history of mankind since that time has been a story of suffering and crisis. Most of our sufferings and times of crisis have been brought on by ourselves—not God.
And now we are in another crisis. So what does God expect of us through this crisis?
What does God expect from us?
From Old to New Testament times, God has delivered the same basic message. He sent it through prophets; He sent it through John the Baptist; He sent it through Jesus Christ; and He sent it through the apostles (Jeremiah 25:4-6; Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:14-15; Mark 6:12; Luke 24:47).
That message is to repent.
But what exactly is repentance? Repentance is a complete change of life—a change from disobeying God to obeying God, His laws and His way of life. The apostle Paul described it this way: “repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20). To learn more about the subject of repentance, read “What Is Repentance?”
Repentance is a way we can make things better for our lives personally. But, because most people will refuse to do it, things will get worse. The primary reason the end times will be so bad is because of people’s refusal to repent of their continual drift farther and farther into sin and rebellion against God and His standards of conduct.
God said He would allow suffering to come to the ancient Israelites because of “all the evil which they have done” (Deuteronomy 31:18). The same principle applies to us. God’s ultimate purpose for allowing the suffering to come is not to destroy us, but to cause us to consider our ways and seek Him (Hosea 5:15).
The time to seek God is now
Often, we wait for things to get really bad before seeking God with our whole hearts.
“Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
The coronavirus pandemic is tragic and frightening, but it is not one of the final plagues of the end time. Times are going to get worse.
Still, this pandemic can be a wake-up call that leads us to repent and seek God now. If you are looking for hope and answers right now, here is one of the most important answers you can find through this crisis: You can repent, change your life and turn to God now. You can learn about His way of life and begin living it. You don’t have to wait until our world comes to the brink of self-destruction.
The time is now.
If you are serious about using this crisis to make changes in your life, please download our free booklets Change Your Life and God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today. These booklets will explain how the process of repentance works and how to live life according to God’s perfect laws.