Our world has been impacted by a virus
Within this past month our world has drastically changed. We all find ourselves with a new phenomenon taking centerstage in our life. The COVID-19 pandemic is all we hear about. The store shelves and the unemployment claims give tell tale signs of the fear and panic that is consuming our world, not to mention the updates all over the news channels of how many new cases and new deaths attributed to this virus. In our country, many of the states have “shelter in place” or “safer at home” mandates that are redefining for us what is essential and non-essential. On the same token, countries throughout the world have similar mandates with their borders closed and their citizens quarantined.
And yet here at Bridge Street Mission—thanks to your prayer and financial support—God continues to give opportunity to serve the least of these. Currently, we are averaging over 100 bag lunches a day that go out of our kitchen at the Outreach Center. About 60 bag lunches are handed out daily right at the Outreach Center, and another 50 bag lunches a day are handed out to the children living in the neighborhood around our Warehouse/Bargain Center building on Jackson Street. And that is just the physical food. Knowing that God’s Word tells us that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, we continue presenting daily servings from the Word of God. We are making the most of this opportunity by presenting the gospel daily, resulting in another life coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ last Saturday! To God be the glory!!
We believe that this pandemic—and the related fear and panic that it has created—is a God-allowed opportunity to make our people and our world aware of a much deadlier virus, and that is the sin virus. Just like many did not take the initial corona virus reports seriously, many still have not taken the sin virus and its eternal impact seriously. But it is a real epidemic. God’s diagnosis early on in the history of this world is found in Genesis 6:5 where we read, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The sin virus resulted in a diseased heart! At that time God made a complete sweep of all human beings, with the exception of the 8 individuals He had safely tucked away in the ark. He did not use a pandemic but used a flood to wipe out 99.999% of the world.
Roll history forward to the time Jesus came to this earth. He came as the solution to the sin virus. He knew that no one did good, not even one, and that as a result of the sin virus, we all fall short of the glory of God—of His standard. But like today, many, if not most, did not take the virus or the cure seriously. How seriously do you take the sin virus? If you have accepted Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross as the cure for the sin pandemic, excellent! But are you telling others about the cure? If you have not accepted Jesus as the one who brought relief from the sin virus, then take it seriously, and don’t delay in personally accepting the cure. John 3:18 states, “Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” Condemned means you have the sin virus and its logical progression is hell—an eternity of torment away from the presence of God and all that He is!
One final irony for me is that this COVID-19 and the mandates associated with it, may keep us from coming together to observe Good Friday and Easter Sunday…both of which are meant to celebrate Jesus as the cure for the sin virus pandemic. (Yes, it is a pandemic seeing that those who will suffer an eternal death are a majority when compared to the minority who have received the cure provided in Jesus, and who will be celebrating life forever in God’s presence.) Jesus’ death on the cross addressed the sin of the world, and His resurrection was victory over death which is the wage or consequence of sin! Jesus brought God glory by completing the work God gave Him to do in addressing the sin virus pandemic. And when all is said and done, God will also get the glory when we are on the other side of this COVID-19 pandemic!
Have a blessed Easter bringing God glory by celebrating His Son, Jesus Christ!
In His service—by His grace and for His glory,
Todd Van Ryn