Life is different in these days of the Corona virus. At 8:30 am on a normal weekday I look out on cars creeping a few inches at a time in a long queue up Totteridge Lane as their drivers try to get to work. Parents walk their children to school, perhaps wheeling a baby too, and occasionally someone runs to catch a bus which has at last managed to make it through the traffic to the bus stop.
But today all was different. I looked out of my bedroom window and not a car was in sight. No one was to be seen. The road was empty, as though it had just been made. Yet in this desolate new world the early spring sunshine illuminated the flowers in my front garden - beautiful daffodils, pink and white hyacinths, newly opening tulips, wallflowers and polyanthus plants. Red kites circled in the high blue sky. Nature blossoms while humanity suffers.
Isaiah chapter 2: 12-22, particularly in my Revised Standard Version, seems to be a prophetic word from the Lord about our suffering at this present time.
"Turn away from man in whose nostrils is breath." (v. 22) Keep your social distance from other people - anyone might infect you.
"And men shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord." (v. 19) Keep indoors, don't go out, it is too dangerous. Hide yourselves from this invisible destroyer.
"And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the pride of men shall be brought low." (v. 17) For all our science and technology, our wealth and our knowledge, this minute enemy is too strong for us.
"In that day men will cast forth their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship." (v. 20) We are learning again that life is more important than the economy. Money and wealth cannot provide the things that really matter. The USA, the wealthiest nation in the world, is being brought to its knees.
"To the moles and the bats." (v. 20) Some believe that the virus originated with fruit bats. Perhaps moles were involved too. The mole-cules of Covid-19 certainly were.
"To enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth." (v. 21)
God's word tells us that before the return of Jesus there will be a time of unparalleled tribulation on earth that will kill everyone unless he intervenes. That time has not yet arrived, but this pandemic is a foretaste of it. It is a warning that we are not greater than God. It is a summons to relinquish our idols and turn back to our creator, that he may save us in the yet more terrible cataclysm which will engulf the world before the great day of resurrection. On that day he will rescue those who have forsaken their idols, their false gods and their false religions; who have stopped fighting him and have surrendered to Jesus, his appointed lord and saviour.
Covid-19 is a dangerous and invisible enemy which will sadly destroy many people. But there is another enemy, far more deadly, an invisible enemy which has been killing each of us ever since the world began, namely sin. Only one person has ever fully survived its infection - Jesus Christ, who overcame death and returned to fullness of health. Without any special personal protective equipment, he came to put his own life in danger in order to bring us immunity from sin, so that with his help we too may overcome sin and live for ever. Only Jesus can enable you to defeat this greater enemy. It is time to act. Surrender your life to him now, while you can, before Covid-19 or anything else brings to a sudden end your opportunity to receive his gift of everlasting life.