Last September, Gallup surveyed Americans’ views of US businesses, ranking twenty-five different sectors from very positive to very negative. The pharmaceutical industry came in dead last, lower than at any time since Gallup began the poll nearly twenty years ago.
As Forbes notes, “What a difference a global pandemic makes.”
Today, the world is depending on the pharmaceutical industry to save lives and economies around the world. The article notes that there are no fewer than 267 different COVID-19 remedies in development, then handicaps the most promising.
The world cannot imagine better news than the discovery of a vaccine that would end the coronavirus pandemic. But as historic as this would be, there is even better news available to us today.
The most urgent cure in the world
The fact is, COVID-19 has changed our perception of mortality but not its reality. We are all destined to die unless the Lord returns first. Whether we die of a disease or a disaster, we will each die. And then we will stand before God in judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
Those who do not know Christ as their Lord face “the second death” (Revelation 20:14), an eternity separated from God. That’s why, as urgent as a vaccine for COVID-19 is, the “vaccine” for sin through salvation in Christ is even more urgent.
My wife, Janet Denison, wrote on this subject in her blog today, noting that Passover begins tonight. Jewish people around the world will remember the miracle of the death angel’s “passing over” their homes in Egypt (Exodus 12).
But as Janet reminds us, the “passover” we need even more urgently today is salvation not from “the virus that is costing people their earthly lives, but the virus that is costing people their eternity.”
The enemy will use distractions of any kind to lure us away from what matters most. They may be tragedies such as the current pandemic or promises of a return to “normal” when it is over. They may be global or personal.
But anything that draws us away from God is a victory for Satan.
In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis’s demonic tempter counsels his nephew Wormwood: “The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours.”
I am praying daily for a vaccine for COVID-19 and for antidotes, treatments, and the best testing methods in the meantime. I am praying for wisdom and direction for those working on these urgent projects.
But I need to pray even more for God’s people to share God’s word with those who are facing not just death but the “second death” apart from Christ. I need to pray even more for ways I can share his love with those who have never experienced it. I need to pray for a “passover” that is not just medical but spiritual.
The great missionary Hudson Taylor noted: “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.”
How obedient will you be today?