By Mike Dawson
Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Columbia
COVID-19: we know that “COVID” is the five-letter acronym for “Corona Virus Disease” and that the number 19 is for the year 2019 (since the disease originated in December, 2019 in Wuhan, China). And we’re well aware that it spread to become a global pandemic in the early months of 2020 and essentially shut down the world as we all had known it.
Taking those five letters and two numbers I’m scrambling them into a NEW message. I say let’s turn COVID-19 into “VOID C-19.”
I’m abbreviating the virus itself and simply calling it “C-19.” The dictionary definition of “void” is “to make ineffectual; to invalidate; to nullify; to empty.” So “VOID C-19” means to make C-19 ineffectual, and to invalidate, nullify and empty it. I think it’s high time for us to VOID C-19!
Millions of law-abiding American citizens did what our medical and civic leaders asked us to do; we ‘sheltered in place’ for nearly two months.
We isolated ourselves in our homes and ventured out only in cases of emergency and for essentials. Groups of people that had normally gathered in the workplace, marketplace and places of worship — along with those who had gathered to watch sports and entertainment — ceased to meet publicly. Assemblies of people larger than a family unit gathered online rather than in person.
All of this was done to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And it generally worked! Although sadly there were many victims of the pandemic, not just in the USA but all across the globe, the anticipated number of diseased and dead persons did not occur.
So now we begin to emerge. Owners of our businesses and factories and stores and services, organizers of sporting and entertainment events, leaders of faith groups and ministries are all making plans to return and regather.
None of these can go back to “normal,” at least from a health perspective. All gatherings will now be sanitized on a new level. In some instances, face masks will be required along with gloves, various kinds of shields and cautionary distances. Every aspect of the way we’ve interacted in public will be evaluated from a health standpoint, and new standards of public life will be in place.
But COVID-19 does not have to control our lives. We can now begin to VOID C-19! By adjusting positively to the “new abnormals” in public gatherings, food preparations, large events and joyous occasions, we can empty C-19 of its fear, intimidation and anxiety.
By making “In God we trust” more than a national motto, and making it a way of life, we can nullify and make ineffectual the ongoing unemployment struggles and financial woes of C-19.
By seeking a spiritual revival in our nation and committing ourselves anew to live in obedience to the the Word of God, we can experience a new burst of God’s healing power, thus invalidating the spread of C-19 and any other such virus and disease. II Chronicles 7:14 is an example of how a nation can “void” a pandemic. God says clearly, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Medical doctor S.I. Milliken in his book None of These Diseases reminds us that “when God led the Israelites out of afflicted Egypt, He promised them that if they would obey His statutes, He would put ‘none of these diseases’ upon them” (see Exodus 15:26). By renewing our covenant with the God of the Bible, by committing ourselves anew to our crucified, resurrected, ascended, soon-returning King, the Lord Jesus Christ — “by whose stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5) — and by being filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) rather than the spirit of fear, we can actually “VOID C-19.”
By the grace of God, let’s DO it; let’s VOID C-19!