John Piper has written an excellent book, Coronavirus and Christ. The following is a few excerpts from the book. The audio book is below.
The coronavirus is God’s thunderclap call for all of us to repent and realign our lives with the infinite worth of Christ. The coronavirus is not unique as a call to repentance. In fact, all natural disasters-whether floods, famines, locusts, tsunamis, or diseases-are God’s painful and merciful summons to repent. We see this from the way Jesus responds to disaster in Luke 13:1-5: “There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
God’s message for the world in this coronavirus outbreak. He is calling the world to repentance while there’s still time.
Let’s be more specific. What does repentance mean? The word in the New Testament means a change of heart and mind. Not a superficial change of opinion, but a deep transformation so that we perceive and prize God and Jesus for who they really are. Jesus described the change like this: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt. 22:37) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:37) In other words, the most fundamental change of heart and mind that repentance calls for is to treasure God with all that you are and to treasure Jesus more than all other relations.
What God is doing in the coronavirus is showing us- graphically, painfully-that nothing in this world gives the security and satisfaction that we find in the infinite greatness and worth of Jesus. This global pandemic takes away our freedom of movement, our business activity, and our face-to-face relations. It takes away our security and our comfort. And, in the end, it may take away our lives.
The reason God exposes us to such losses is to rouse us to rely on Christ. Or to put it another way, the reason he makes calamity the occasion for offering Christ to the world is that the supreme, all-satisfying greatness of Christ shines more brightly when Christ sustains joy in suffering.
This is what it means to repent: to experience a change of heart and mind that treasures God in Christ more than life.
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (Psalm 63:3). This was Paul’s faith. It was true in life and death. In life, because Christ is the sweetness of every pleasure, and better than them all. And in death, because “in [God’s] presence there is fullness of joy; at [his] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).