Who created the Ebola virus? God did. Viruses are teensy living creatures and some of them really wreak havoc on the delicate human system. But who made the human system vulnerable to diseases in the first place? God did. And who fixed it so some viruses do a lot more damage than others? God did. We’ve all had that light case of the sniffles which was annoying, but nothing worth panicking over. We complained a lot, took some medicine, downed extra vitamins, and then took our recovery for granted. We take a lot of things for granted down here, and we deny a lot of truths. We get so cocky that we even start denying God’s reality, His control of this universe, and our total dependency on Him. That’s when an outbreak of Ebola can really come in handy to teach us some important lessons.
Lesson 1: Viruses are created and controlled by God.
When someone comes down with a disease, we try to pretend there was some perfectly logical reason for it. “They came in contact with an infected animal.” Or, “They got too close to someone else who had it.” We say these things because we’ve observed patterns in this universe. Animals do pass diseases onto us. Sick people pass diseases to us. But WHY? Who made those animals and people carriers in the first place? God did. Who decided that we’d be the ones they passed the viruses on to? God did. We aren’t the only delicate creature God has made. His little Ebola viruses are pretty frail as well. They can’t just go hopping wherever they want. They need Divine assistance if they’re going to successfully transfer from one human to another. God gives them that assistance. He carefully directs every member of His vast population of viruses. They are like an army of invisible soldiers which multiply, attack, and kill at His command.
Lesson 2: God uses disease to show us our limitations.
Not all viruses are equal. Ebola is one that brings on particularly gruesome symptoms, hence the extra fear associated with it. So if all viruses are created and controlled by God, why did He decide to make some of them so nasty? Because we humans are such a pompous lot, we think that we can do life without God’s help. We refuse to acknowledge our need for Him. Well, if we’ve got it so handled, why are the fatalities of the Ebola virus continuing to climb? If we are so in control, why are months ticking by with no arrest to the spread of this thing? In the news, you’ll find a lot of logical reasons given. For example, there aren’t enough medical supplies and personnel in the area that is getting hit so hard. Well, why not? What’s with the poverty and uneven spread of resources in this world? If we’re such a capable lot, why can’t we learn to share and help each other? If we’re so brilliant on our own, why can’t we contain this thing? We complain that trying to track down all the people who might have come in contact with an infected person is tedious work. But why is it so tedious? Because we’re such wimps, that’s why. We have to constantly sleep and eat or we can’t function. We get fatigued easily. We get annoyed easily. When we’re in tense situations, we get extra huffy and we do sloppy work. We fight with each other and we let things slip through the cracks. And while we’re busy holding conferences and bickering and disregarding safety rules, more of us keep getting sick. At what point will we realize that we’re in over our heads and look to God for help?
Medical supplies and personnel are just a fraction of our problems. We’re selfish little punks who are far too prideful to admit that we have neither the brains nor the resources to stop something that God has started. After all, if we were really as capable as we pretend, none of us would ever get sick. By now we would have found a way to kill off the whole family of Ebola critters. But instead, we’re scrambling to try and come up with some kind of medication that will reverse the symptoms. God is in our laboratories with us, whispering ideas into our minds and controlling how successful our efforts are. But if He should give us an effective cure for this particular disease, will we give Him the glory? No, we’ll pat ourselves on the back. Then God will call upon another one of His viral soldiers to scare us back into an awareness of our limitations.
Lesson 3: God uses disease to challenge our view of Him.
There are many people in this world who have decided that there is no God. Deep in their souls, they know better, for God has built an awareness of His reality within the very fabric of their beings. Should these souls persist in their denial games for their entire lives, they’ll suddenly discover that their nonexistent God has made a very real Hell for them to spend eternity in while they contemplate the stupidity of their rebellion.
Real Christians have at least learned better than to pretend that there is no God. And yet many of them have found a new batch of deceptions to cling to, one of the most absurd of which is the assumption that human comfort is at the top of God’s priority list. To these people, God is a benevolent Santa Claus figure who can’t bear the thought of humans suffering. Well, this really isn’t who God is, and nothing awakens us to His comfort with our pain faster than seeing Him striking us down with some horrific disease which He Himself has invented. As we find ourselves breaking out in hideous rashes and experiencing severe pain and suffering, we are forced to question what God’s priorities really are. If pampering us isn’t at the top of His list, what is?
God is His own first priority. He demands to be revered by the creatures He has made. If we refuse to do this, He knows how to drive us to our knees by terrorizing us with suffering that is beyond our ability to control.
We don’t have to like God in order to revere Him. When you stay back from an electric fence that is buzzing with life, it is because you revere the power that it has to kill you. Reverence is a respect which comes from acknowledging that something or someone is superior to you. No one is more superior than God. He created everything that exists, and He could uncreate it all with a single word. He has created the world that we can see with our eyes, as well as a whole other world that we can only catch glimpses of through the lenses of powerful microscopes. When we try to figure out the way this creation works, we end up with far more questions than answers, and this should result in reverence for God’s superior wisdom and genius. When we see how swiftly a microscopic animal can shut down our bodies and kill us, we should respond with sincere reverence for God’s awesome power. Everywhere we look, God is demonstrating His immeasurable superiority over us, yet we have the gall to mock and dismiss Him. Bring on the Ebola virus. Perhaps increased fatalities will help us to rethink this delusion that God only cares about blessing us. On the contrary, He finds it quite pleasing to strike us down in large numbers in order to drive us back into alignment with His priorities. God wants to be revered. When we revere God properly, we stop treating Him like some vending machine of blessings that we can manipulate into giving us what we want. God does not exist to give us what we want, and if killing off our loved ones is going to help us realize this, then that is what He will do.
Lesson 4: Our futures are in God’s hands.
How far will this particular outbreak of Ebola spread? Will it reach your country, your hometown, your house? It’s not up to people, it’s up to God. No one can protect you from God’s invisible army of soldiers except God Himself. If He teaches you to don gloves and face masks, then that is what you need to do. But we don’t do these things because they are “smart”, we do them out of respect for God’s Authority. God has set up certain rules and patterns in this universe and He expects us to respect them. For example, He teaches us that if we try to step over the edge of the cliff, He will throw us down onto the ground and greatly injure us. We call it “gravity”, but it is God. At any time He could decide to break His usual pattern and allow you to walk on air. He’s God. He is not controlled by the forces He created—instead, the forces are controlled by Him. Gloves and face masks and keeping a large distance between you and other people isn’t a guarantee of anything. If God wants you to get sick, you’re going to get sick. What is important is your heart attitude. Don’t put your trust in medical gear, put your trust in God and do what He tells you to do because He is the One telling you. When you don’t get sick, realize that He is the One protecting you and give Him the praise He deserves. If you do get sick, realize that He is the One infecting you and ask Him to help you learn everything that He wants to teach you. Ask Him to give you heart attitudes which will please Him, for God’s pleasure is all that matters. He made us to benefit Himself. If we don’t get on board with this idea and embrace our identity as creatures who were designed to bring glory and pleasure to God, He will see that we are thoroughly punished for our defiance. If we don’t like how this system is set up, tough. We don’t get to define who God is; He defines us. When we die, He is the One we will answer to for how we responded to Him on earth and He will give us the appropriate consequences. There isn’t any way to get out of this. It’s God’s universe.
The rising number of Ebola victims has caught the attention of the whole world. Whenever this sort of thing happens, we must realize that God is directing our attention towards His actions on purpose. There are many lessons to be learned about God’s involvement in our lives, His power, and His priorities from this Ebola outbreak. The question now becomes: are we going to be good listeners, or does He need to come up with something even more terrible?