Difference between revisions of "God's Coronavirus Cure in 3 Verses"

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[[File:GodsCoronavirusCure.gif|right|170px]] <span style="color:#0000FF"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;This article was started by [[User:DaveLeach|Dave Leach R-IA Bible Lover-musician-grandpa]] ([[User talk:DaveLeach|talk]]) 20:00, 14 March 2020 (UTC). <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Please interact! To interact with any particular point made here, simply click "edit", then right after that point, type four dashes (to create a horizontal line), hit "enter" to start on the next line typing your response, then close with four tildes which will leave your real name, time etc. (after you "request account" and "log in"); then on the last line, four more dashes. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;To vote, Like, rate, argue, change your past comment, add a section with a heading that appears in the Table of Contents, start a new article, use colors, write in Greek, etc. find suggestions and codes at [[Begin!]]</span>
[[File:GodsCoronavirusCure.gif|right|170px]] <span style="color:#0000FF"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;This article was started by [[User:DaveLeach|Dave Leach R-IA Bible Lover-musician-grandpa]] ([[User talk:DaveLeach|talk]]) 20:00, 14 March 2020 (UTC). <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Please interact! To interact with any particular point made here, simply click "edit", then right after that point, type four dashes (to create a horizontal line), hit "enter" to start on the next line typing your response, then close with four tildes which will leave your real name, time etc. (after you "request account" and "log in"); then on the last line, four more dashes. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;To vote, Like, rate, argue, change your past comment, add a section with a heading that appears in the Table of Contents, start a new article, use colors, write in Greek, etc. find suggestions and codes at [[Begin!]]</span>

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     This article was started by Dave Leach R-IA Bible Lover-musician-grandpa (talk) 20:00, 14 March 2020 (UTC).
     Please interact! To interact with any particular point made here, simply click "edit", then right after that point, type four dashes (to create a horizontal line), hit "enter" to start on the next line typing your response, then close with four tildes which will leave your real name, time etc. (after you "request account" and "log in"); then on the last line, four more dashes.
     To vote, Like, rate, argue, change your past comment, add a section with a heading that appears in the Table of Contents, start a new article, use colors, write in Greek, etc. find suggestions and codes at Begin!

Three (3) Verses

Psalm 41:1 To the [music] director: A song of David. Those who help the poor succeed will get many blessings. When trouble comes, the LORD will save them. 2 The LORD will protect them and save their lives. He will bless them in this land. He will not let their enemies harm them. 3 When they are sick in bed, the LORD will give them strength and make them well! (ERV translation)

Psalm 91:1 Live under the protection of God Most High and stay in the shadow of God All-Powerful. 2 Then you will say to the LORD, "You are my fortress, my place of safety; you are my God, and I trust you." 3 The Lord will keep you safe from secret traps and deadly diseases. 4 He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure. His faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall. 5 You won't need to worry about dangers at night or arrows during the day. 6 And you won't fear diseases that strike in the dark or sudden disaster at noon. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (CEV, KJV translation)

Luke 6:34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

[printed and distributed by Family Music Center, 4110 SW 9th St, Des Moines IA 50315, 244-3711 www.Saltshaker.US]


Other Bible verses addressed throughout this article

The following passages are discussed throughout this article:

Psalm 2:1-12 (the idiocy of government ignoring God),

Psalm 91:2 (God, in whom I trust), Luke 1:37 ("with God nothing shall be impossible"),

John 3:19 (men love darkness),

2 Chronicles 21:14, 15 (God threatens to send a plague),

Exodus 9:24 (the "plague" of hail mixed with fire),

2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (repentance of "my people"),

Exodus 40:30-32 (Levite priests washed their hands and feet before sacrificing),

Leviticus 4:12,21 and 8:17 (sacrifice in a "clean place"),

Hebrews 13:10-14 (Jesus' death fulfilled the symbols of Mosaic sacrifice),

Leviticus 11 lists foods which were unclean,

Leviticus 12 has laws for the purification of the mother after childbirth,

Leviticus 13 has tests for leprosy,

Deuteronomy 7:15 and Exodus 15:26 (obedience protects from disease),

Deuteronomy 23:12-13 (sanitary disposal of human waste),

Luke 10:30-37 (Good Samaritan),

1 Corinthians 15:55–57 ("death has lost its sting"),

2 Timothy 1:7 (spirit not of fear but of power, love, sound mind),

Psalm 27:1 (Lord is my strength, whom shall I fear?),

1 Peter 5:7 (cast your care on Him),

John 14:27 (“… let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”),

Jeremiah 17:14 (Heal me, O Lord),

Isaiah 53:5 ("by His stripes we are healed"),

John 15:13 ("Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."),

Luke 11:37-41 (Jesus wouldn't wash His hands before eating),

Matthew 4:6-7 (Satan tempts us to be reckless),

Mark 16:17-18 and Luke 10:19 (protection from snakes),

Acts 28:1-6 (snake bite didn't hurt Paul),

Mathew 6:26-27 ("Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?")

Summary of this article

Summary: This article is two major studies: (1) A review of the medical controversy about Covid [mercifully shortened from "coronavirus"] under the heading "Questions for Doctors"; and (2) what God really does promise regarding protection from all threats.

God's Promised Protection

     Saying "I don't believe the Bible" or "I don't have time to read all this evidence" doesn't shield you from the natural consequences of banging your head against reality. The fact that Christians generally live longer and are more immune to disease is not just the claim of dozens of Bible verses, but is the finding of over a century of peer-reviewed scientific research summarized here.
     Not that every prayer is answered; every Christian remembers a request that was denied, just as every child does, even by the most loving parents.
     But generally, even though there are many varieties and degrees of being "Christian", and much theological misunderstanding among Christians about how to pray or how much to trust, the evidence is clear enough to be scientifically measured that living by the Bible reduces heart disease, cancer, weakened immunity, stroke, and dying young. It is separately clear that contributors to disease like stress, fear, boiling anger, unhealthy substances, risky sex, and negative social relationships are prime targets of the Bible, which addresses them as effectively as we will allow. Not by merely emptying our minds of negativity and desire, the goal of Eastern meditation, but by softening our hearts with love, forgiveness, and becoming a blessing to others.
     We can all have absolute faith that God will give us all the time and health we need to complete God's goals for us, which are also the most satisfying goals for ourselves, and we can constantly pray that God will save us from hurting others very much while helping others a lot. Our faith in God doesn't reduce our responsibility to be careful, but it is a huge mistake to just "be careful" while we forget God. We hear constantly "we will get through this", in a context stripped of any thought of God. That is not a very smart approach to how to "get through this". ("Be careful, but serve, and trust", below, acknowledges the death of a pastor from coronavirus after he had held a church service in defiance of "social distancing" guidelines, claiming that "God is a healer". Indeed, our faith in God doesn't reduce our responsibility to be careful.)
     God does not only help by having created a universe in which "a merry heart doeth good like medicine", with hygiene rules which, if we follow them, will generally improve our health and lifespan. God helps us daily through a constant stream of miracles of protection from physical, financial, and social ruin. Not that no one ever gets hurt, but we are all shaken from time to time by a narrow escape from devastation, which God uses to motivate us, if we will heed the warning, to be more careful. It is part of our human resistance to reality that tempts us to not acknowledge these helps, just as the Israelites in the desert, facing each new challenge, forgot how dramatically God had brought them through the last one. They never entered God's "rest", in the words of Hebrews 3 and 4. They were constantly stressing and accusing.
     God also opens doors for us to doing great things, overcoming great evils, despite great obstacles. Jesus not only promises that these "mountains" will fall if we have "enough" faith, meaning, presumably enough to not give up, but God actively helps, making it possible, but only if we really stretch ourselves which is just as important to God.
     Life is so much more than food, clothing, money, good health, and long life. Compared with much of the rest of the world, the United States are indeed a haven of Christian faith. But to "get through this" - all that life is - we have to, as a culture, not just as isolated individuals, face reality, take time for evidence as needed to get us back in touch with reality, and settle back into the loving arms of God.

A Doctor's Alarm about Censoring Doctors

April 27, 2020 Two Doctors defended a third doctor with whom they only partially agreed, but were alarmed that he was censored instead of refuted. One doctor: Vinay Prasad,a hematologist-oncologist and associate professor of medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University. The other: Jeffrey Flier, an endocrinologist, professor of medicine, and former dean of Harvard Medical School. Their article concludes:

...When the dust settles, few if any scientists — no matter where they work and whatever their academic titles — will have been 100% correct about the effects of Covid-19 and our responses to it. Acknowledging this fact does not require policy paralysis by local and national governments, which must take decisive action despite uncertainty. But admitting this truth requires willingness to listen to and consider ideas, even many that most initially consider totally wrong.

A plausible objection to the argument we are making that opposing ideas need to be heard is that, by giving false equivalence to incorrect ideas, lives may be lost. Scientists who are incorrect or misguided, or who misinterpret data, might wrongly persuade others, causing more to die when salutatory actions are rejected or delayed. While we are sympathetic to this view, there are many uncertainties as to the best course of action. More lives may be lost by suppressing or ignoring alternate perspectives, some of which may at least in part ultimately prove correct.

That’s why we believe that the bar to stifling or ignoring academics who are willing to debate their alternative positions in public and in good faith must be very high. Since different states and nations are already making distinct choices, there exist many natural experiments to identify what helped, what hurt, and what in the end didn’t matter.

We believe that the bar to stifling or ignoring academics who are willing to debate their alternative positions in public and in good faith must be very high.

Society faces a risk even more toxic and deadly than Covid-19: that the conduct of science becomes indistinguishable from politics. The tensions between the two policy poles of rapidly and systematically reopening society versus maximizing sheltering in place and social isolation must not be reduced to Republican and Democratic talking points, even as many media outlets promote such simplistic narratives.

These critical decisions should be influenced by scientific insights independent of political philosophies and party affiliations. They must be freely debated in the academic world without insult or malice to those with differing views. As always, it is essential to examine and disclose conflicts of interest and salient biases, but if none are apparent or clearly demonstrated, the temptation to speculate about malignant motivations must be resisted.

At this moment of massive uncertainty, with data and analyses shifting daily, honest disagreements among academic experts with different training, scientific backgrounds, and perspectives are both unavoidable and desirable. It’s the job of policymakers, academics, and interested members of the public to consider differing point of views and decide, at each moment, the best courses of action. A minority view, even if it is ultimately mistaken, may beneficially temper excessive enthusiasm or insert needed caveats. This process, which reflects the scientific method and the culture that supports it, must be repeated tomorrow and the next day and the next.

Comment by Keith Gentile: ...It’s almost like we are heading back to views not seen since the Dark Ages, with their ignorant certainties, unquestioning obedience to the church (with today’s surrogate being the media) and witch hunts looking for nonbelievers and straw men.

The media has become so overrun by arrogant, self-righteous zealots that do everything in their power to stifle anything but their own narrative, it’s as if they have abrogated any pretense of objectivity as illegitimate since we all know God is Good and the Devil wicked. Any deviation from this is therefore evil and if that requires limiting people’s [freedom] to decide for themselves, so be it.

God Understands Coronovirus

Back a number of years ago, they did a survey. And they went around the different college campuses asking students if they thought God understood radar. You cannot imagine how many of them said, "Well, of course not. We invented radar". No. The principal came from watching a bat. He's blind. But he don't miss. Huh? Does God understand radar? Come on, man. Does God understand faith? -Kenneth Copeland

I found that statement by googling "does God understand radar" because I remember from the late '50's a newsletter from the Billy Graham Crusade describing that survey. As I recall, the survey was in England, either during World War II during which radar was first put to use, or shortly afterward. I couldn't find a link to a more detailed record of that survey.

Were that survey taken today, most people would probably answer that radar has been around long enough that God probably understands it by now. Today the comparable survey question would be "Do you think God understands coronavirus?"

My guess is that most people, asked that question out of the blue, would dismiss that as a stupid question. Of course God understands. But if a surveyor first read the three verses above and then asked the question, I would expect less confidence in God's intelligence. And if you ask people if they are willing to live as if those three verses are true, I would expect still less. After all,

Why would God promise protection from disease for those who deliberately expose themselves to disease by helping the diseased? Does God simply not understand disease?

     Scriptures addressed below indicate that when our choice is between (1) exposing ourselves to disease by helping the diseased, (as carefully as we can), and (2) staying safe by staying away from the diseased, serving those in need is actually safer.
     The discussion below is about whether such advice has any conceivable support from modern medical science, or can only be true to the extent God miraculously overturns medical facts.
     This discussion is also about whether faith itself actually does have physical power to heal, as Jesus stated a few times, and how important it is what our faith is in: is trust in our own safety measures as safe as trust in Jesus? Also: can we trust too much - will our trust in Jesus save us even if we recklessly disregard hygiene basics in our service to others?

Should we trust the promises of protection in the three verses above, and in many similar verses? Is that actually what God thinks? Does God really not understand how dangerous coronavirus is?

America tested by God

Coronavirus tests our national faith in God. This article is a call to trust God.

Children must be careful to grow up safely into a successful adult, but it would be pretty stupid for a child to think just being very careful will keep him so safe and make him so smart that he has no further need of the guidance and support of his parents!

God's help denied by New York governor

As coronavirus infections started back down, New York governor Cuomo said "we" did it - certainly not God!

“The number is down because we brought the number down,” he told reporters Monday. “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that. That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy if that number goes back up.”

It is equally stupid for adults to think they can get through this or any other crisis by their own efforts - even if they are very, very careful, without the guidance and support of God!

("Stupid" is the condition of being in a "stupor", in which one's intelligence has been temporarily shoved out of the way.)

It is particularly stupid for a whole nation, whose elected leaders are mostly Christians, to limit mention of God to a single day during which only three verses are consulted, and for even that scant acknowledgment to be blasted as a "distraction" from handling this crisis by ourselves, and as "unconstitutional", and moreover, "obscene"!

God's power denied by Mother Jones magazine

Those charges are part of a "Mother Jones" article: "A National Day of Prayer During a Mishandled Pandemic Is a National Day of Distraction - It’s unconstitutional, too." By Daniel King, editor. March 16, 2020, the day after the National Day of Prayer called by President Trump.

King says prayer literally kills: "This president recites prayerful words as if spraying perfume on preventably dead bodies." Even though trusting God includes trusting His advice to be careful, King can't imagine how people can be careful, and trust God, both, so trusting God, in his mind, can only exist at the expense of being careful: therefore, trusting God literally kills!

King writes, "The cost of this unconstitutional practice is amplified right now, when there’s lethal harm—not just in terms of being ill-prepared for a pandemic, but in the erosion of confidence in our institutions. Some of this harm is exacerbated because we continue to collapse church and state and (unconstitutionally) substitute federal faith for the full deployment and funding of scientific research."

What I take for the faintest traces of acknowledgment of God, King takes for being not "just unconstitutional" but "obscene...at a time when millions of lives are on the line". He reminds me of how little virtue it takes to enrage an atheist, and encourages me with reminders that there are at least traces of Christianity in our nation's capitol:

"{Trump's administration is) an administration that bows before evangelical voters who are proving to be the president’s most loyal supporters. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has linked his religious beliefs to foreign policy, and delivered a state-sponsored speech on “Being a Christian Leader” in his official capacity. Vice President Mike Pence is a walking billboard for government’s religious claims. Attorney General William Barr invokes God as the legal, moral, and political precept for government whenever he can. The good doctor Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, named God as the groundwork for government action in addressing the coronavirus. ... this administration has been blatant about it. Consider Barr’s boast to the law school at Notre Dame: 'Judeo-Christian moral standards reflect the rules that are best for man,' he told students in October. 'They are like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.'"

Mother Jones's was hardly the only attack on trusting God that week. Which reminds me of a favorite Psalm:

Psalm 2:1  Why are the nations so angry? Why are the people making such foolish plans? 2 Their kings and leaders join together to fight against the LORD and his chosen king. 3 They say, "Let's rebel against them. Let's break free from them!" 4  But the one who rules in heaven laughs at them. The Lord makes fun of them.  Psa 2:5  He speaks to them in anger, and it fills them with fear. 6 He says, "I have chosen this man to be king, and he will rule on Zion, my holy mountain." 7 Let me tell you about the LORD'S agreement: He said to me, "Today I have become your father, and you are my son. 8 If you ask, I will give you the nations. Everyone on earth will be yours. 9 You will rule over them with great power. You will scatter your enemies like broken pieces of pottery!" 10 So, kings and rulers, be smart and learn this lesson. 11 Serve the LORD with fear and trembling. 12 Show that you are loyal to his son, or the Lord will be angry and destroy you. He is almost angry enough to do that now, but those who go to him for protection will be blessed. (ERV translation)

Church attacked by Kentucky mayor, defended by federal judge

This_Judge_ruled_like_a_Christian_Historian reprints the entire ruling of Federal District Judge Justin R. Walker, ruling against the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky who had ordered $500 fines for everyone attending a drive-in Easter service where cars would park 6 feet from each other and keep the windows rolled at least half way up. In addition to fines, the mayor ordered police to write down license numbers and ordered the health department to go to members' homes afterwards and impose a 14-day quarantine. Here are excerpts:

Four days ago, defendant Mayor of Louisville Greg Fischer said it was “with a heavy heart” that he was banning religious services, even if congregants remain in their cars during the service.(36) He asserted, “It’s not really practical or safe to accommodate drive-up services taking place in our community.”(37) Drive-through restaurants and liquor stores are still open.(38) Two days ago, on Holy Thursday, the Mayor threatened church members and pastors if they hold a drive-in Easter service....
There is no doubt that society has the strongest of interests in curbing the growth of a deadly disease, which is the interest Mayor Fischer and Metro Louisville (together, “Louisville”) has asserted when ordering churches and churchgoers to stay home on Easter. “When faced with a society-threatening epidemic, a state may implement emergency measures that curtail constitutional rights so long as the measures have at least some ‘real or substantial relation’ to the public health crisis and are not ‘beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law.’”
The Court does not mean to impugn the perfectly legal business of selling alcohol, nor the legal and widely enjoyed activity of drinking it. But if beer is “essential,” so is Easter.
Religion is not “some purely personal avocation that can be indulged entirely in secret, like pornography, in the privacy of one’s room. For most believers, it is not that, and has never been.”(67) Instead, just as many religions reinforce their faith and their bonds with the faithful through religious assemblies, many Christians take comfort and draw strength from Christ’s promise that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”(68) Indeed, as On Fire points out, “the Greek word translated ‘church’ in our English versions of the Christian scriptures is the word ‘ekklesia,’ which literally means ‘assembly.’”(69)
It is true that On Fire’s church members could believe in everything Easter teaches them from their homes on Sunday. So too could the Pilgrims before they left Europe. But the Pilgrims demanded more than that. And so too does the Free Exercise Clause. It “guarantees the free exercise of religion, not just the right to inward belief.”(70) That promise is as important for the minister as for those ministered to, as vital to the shepherd as to the sheep. And it is as necessary now as when the Mayflower met Plymouth Rock. Nor is there any evidence that churches are less essential than every other business that is currently allowed to be open – liquor stores among them.
You do not have to share On Fire’s faith to believe that celebrating that faith – while gathered together in praise of the One they believe healed the sick and conquered death – will bring hope to many in need of hope this Holy Week.

God praised by President Trump

On Friday the 13th, the President had declared a national emergency; it is in that connection that, the following day, he called for a Day of Prayer on the 15th, on Sunday. Although limiting national prayer and repentance to a single day is tragically dangerous, especially in a nation that lets its aborticide dungeons remain open for their bloody business even in violation of voluntary shutdowns, still, a presidential acknowledgment of God even on one day, in a nation so far from God, is a refreshing move of the Holy Spirit.

Here is the text of President Trump's proclamation:

Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer for all Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts Issued on: March 14, 2020
In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty. As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are unable to gather in their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship. But in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones. I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.
As your President, I ask you to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle. We should all take to heart the holy words found in 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” Let us pray that all those affected by the virus will feel the presence of our Lord’s protection and love during this time. With God’s help, we will overcome this threat.
On Friday, I declared a national emergency and took other bold actions to help deploy the full power of the Federal Government to assist with efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. I now encourage all Americans to pray for those on the front lines of the response, especially our Nation’s outstanding medical professionals and public health officials who are working tirelessly to protect all of us from the coronavirus and treat patients who are infected; all of our courageous first responders, National Guard, and dedicated individuals who are working to ensure the health and safety of our communities; and our Federal, State, and local leaders. We are confident that He will provide them with the wisdom they need to make difficult decisions and take decisive actions to protect Americans all across the country. As we come to our Father in prayer, we remember the words found in Psalm 91: “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help. Luke 1:37 promises that “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and those words are just as true today as they have ever been. As one Nation under God, we are greater than the hardships we face, and through prayer and acts of compassion and love, we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before. May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 15, 2020, as a National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts. I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth. DONALD J. TRUMP

God not only UNDERSTANDS coronavirus, and knows how to HEAL it, but USES it

Acknowledgement of God as robust as the President's is rare in America, and acknowledgment of our national sins whose national consequences include many serious physical threats, which God refrains from miraculously mitigating as needed to get us to be more spiritually careful. I must personally confess that I also, when I originally posted this article, forgot about this spiritual dimension of plagues, and did not include it until I was reminded of it by Bill Whatcott.

Canadian anti-sodomite and antiabortion activist Bill Whatcott lays out [June 2021: the website is down]a few Scriptures about that. After reviewing some of the wild conspiracy theories he has heard, and showing a picture of police not practicing the "social distancing" they impose on others - police who arrested leaders of an outdoor church meeting with people standing 10' apart, he writes:

Ultimately, I believe God has allowed this pandemic to come upon us and chastise us for our sin and rebellion against His Law and the rejection of His redeeming Gospel.....
"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." John 3:19
Here is a Biblical account of Elijah the prophet bringing a warning of a plague to a wicked King in Israel who reminds me of Justin Trudeau, who happens to "admire China's basic communist dictatorship:"
" The Lord will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions; and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day." 2 Chronicles 21:14, 15
Here is a Biblical account of Moses warning the Pharoah of great plagues that were about to befall Egypt:
"At this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth." Exodus 9:24
While Scripture is clear that God can send plagues, pestilence, and poverty onto a land that rebels and rejects His Holy standard, it is also clear when a people repents and turns to Him, He will relent and forgive their sin and heal their land.
"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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." 2 Chronicles 7:13-15
From where I sit, as I refect on how Canada has embraced sexual perversion (homosexuality, polyamory, pornography, etc...), the murder of the unborn (abortion), the murder of the elderly and disabled (euthanasia), and is now persecuting truth tellers such as, David Lynn, Mary Wagner, Linda Gibbons, Stefan Jetchick, etc..... I believe we are a nation that has become hardened and arrogant and we are ripe for judgment.
As much as I hate to see Canadians confined to their homes, people sick and dying in our hospitals and long term care homes, out of control deficit spending and our economy deteriorating rapidly to the point that the threat of food insecurity (unheard of in Canada for nearly a century) is looming; I think God has had to send us this wake up call.
So far I am not sure Canadians are getting the message. Our politicians and media have decided we need our internet porn, and cannabis and liquor stores to remain open so we can cope with the government imposed unemployment and isolation. Interestingly, these same politicians and the talking heads in our media are unaminous that under no circumstance can religious services be held during this pandemic. Having taken three semesters of church history, I am not aware of any other point in history where so many churches have been closed in so many countries and more amazingly it seems the vast majority of clergy have chosen to close with no actual attempt to challenge these extreme, indefinate, orders or offer the authorities constructive alternatives.

Moses' Hygiene Rules Prove the Bible came from God

Another preacher who remembered the "Does God understand radar?" survey was Joe McKeever. His article is a great overview of Moses' hygiene laws, of what practical advice they were for a primitive culture that had never seen a germ, of the contrast those sensible laws were with the disease-breeding practices of all other nations of that time, and of resistance until recently of doctors to the most powerful evidence of the need for Moses-level hygiene. Here is part of his summary of Moses' hygiene laws:

–“And he placed the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar and put water in it for washing. And from it Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they entered the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, just as the Lord had commanded Moses” (Exodus 40:30-32).
–The bodies of sacrificial beasts were often burned “outside the camp.” See Leviticus 4:12,21, and 8:17 for starters. (Also, in reference to that, see Hebrews 13:10-14.)
–Leviticus 11 lists foods which were unclean (and thus forbidden) to God’s people. We know now that those animals were most susceptible to disease and thus food from them would pose the biggest threat to Israel.
–Leviticus 12 has laws for the purification of the mother after childbirth. Blood issues were a major concern, and for good reason.
–Leviticus 13 has tests for leprosy and provisions for quarantining those with communicable diseases. Some consisted of a mere seven days, but in the case of all-out leprosy, “all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp” (13:46). The book referenced below–“None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen–says it was the discovery of the quarantine from Scripture that stopped the Black Plague in its tracks.
–Leviticus 14-15 contain provisions for cleansing unhealthy places. It might involve tearing down a house altogether, burning one’s contaminated clothing, or simply waiting a period of time.
Other texts…
–“And the Lord will remove from you all sickness, and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known…” (Deuteronomy 7:15). This reminds us of Exodus 15:26, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” (“None of These Diseases” is the title of the best-seller from missionary physician S. I. McMillen, which first introduced many of us to the amazing provisions of God to the Israelites for their health, far in advance of the discoveries of modern medical science.)
–And this most practical text: “You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement” (Deuteronomy 23:12-13). God even provided for the sanitary disposal of human sewage!

"Common Sense" might cause our first impression to be "of course staying away from sick people is safest", which is the opposite of what these Scriptures indicate, which in turn will lead Christians to question whether they should be interpreted the way they seem to mean.

And yet the practice of modern medicine is in harmony with God's promises: doctors and nurses serve the sickest all the time, yet we are used to them being among the healthiest Americans. How can this be?

Can God be right? Can it be that God actually understands coronavirus, and that the safest response to it for humans really is to serve others?

As for what God understands, consider a bit of the context McKeever points out in which God gave Moses such medically advanced knowledge:

Dr. McMillen, in None of These Diseases, pointed out that 1500 years B.C., God had told Israel that after touching a dead body, they were to be unclean for a period of time, were to burn their clothing, and to wash themselves, but not in a basin of stagnant water. Scripture called for running water!
Some might insist, said McMillen, that Moses had learned all these things from growing up living in Egypt. McMillen dismisses this. The current practice in Egypt at that time called for dung to be applied to wounds and holes to be drilled in skulls to cure headaches!
Moses said he got this wisdom from God on Sinai. It was such a remarkable advance in medical science, that we should believe him.

In other words, the fact that way before modern medical tools existed, modern medical wisdom was published in the Bible, distilled into succinct, practical, and effective rules able to be followed in a primitive technology. This intelligence, available nowhere else in that superstitious time, and impossible for humans who had never seen a germ to imagine, proves this intelligence was superhuman. It proves that the Bible contains the wisdom of God.

Modern scientific backing for God's promises of protection

What keeps doctors and nurses healthy?

Three natural explanations of how ministering to the sick keeps doctors and nurses healthy: (1) by ministering to the sick their whole lives, doctors and nurses learn much more about sickness than the rest of us; (2) by learning how to cure patients, they learn how to cure themselves; and (3) by exposing themselves to pathogens in carefully controlled conditions, they build up immunity.

Anxiety makes us dumb

A fourth natural explanation is that avoiding human needs, like the priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story, shows fear, and anxiety makes us dumb.

Anxiety about danger, as opposed to the courage and sense of purpose that inspires heroes to overcome danger, makes us dumb. "The cognitive deficit of being preoccupied with money problems was equivalent to a loss of 13 IQ points, losing an entire night's sleep or being a chronic alcoholic, according to the study....The state of worrying where your next meal is going to come from – you have uncertain income or you have more expenses than you can manage and you have to juggle all these things and constantly being pre-occupied about putting out these fires – takes up so much of your mental bandwidth, that you have less in terms of cognitive capacity to deal with things which may not be as urgent as your immediate emergency, but which are, nevertheless, important for your benefit in the medium or longer term." "We can lose 13–20 IQ points in a moment of anxiety." "As the coronavirus crisis gets worse, some people’s behavior seems to be getting more and more irrational. There is a scientific reason why. Science shows that under pressure and stress we lose the equivalent of 10-15 IQ points."

Luke 10:30  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. 

Why did the priest and the Levite cross on the other side of the street to avoid the injured man? Well, partly because they didn't want the duty of helping him, which would have been personally costly. Also because they feared spending any longer on that robber-infested highway than necessary; they didn't want to become victims themselves. During the Spanish Flue pandemic of 1918, people were so fearful of coming close to flu victims, that many died of starvation just because no one would help them.

Anxiety makes us dumb, says the above research. The priest and the Levite, and the folks in 1918 who wouldn't help, made themselves dumb. Making yourself dumb is not a smart way to escape the danger of a pandemic.

(On the other hand, maybe we shouldn't take research too seriously, because "those with anxiety disorder tended to have higher IQ scores than healthy people"! while among healthy people, "those with high IQ scores tended to have low levels of worry, and those with low IQ scores tended to have high levels of worry". And people say we should trust science over the Bible because it is the Bible which contradicts itself!)

Anxiety makes us sick; Faith makes us well

Fear is a main reason people during the 1918 Spanish Flue pandemic wouldn't help those in desperate need, and it is a main reason many people would not think of helping today.

Fear is bad for your health. That is common knowledge. It is intuitive. But the connection has also been measured. This is by no means a comprehensive report on the evidence, but is only what turned up after a few minutes of googling:

Placebos and Nocebos: the Physical Effects of Hope v. Fear

The Mayo Clinic: [Many of the "symptoms" of anxiety ARE health problems:] Common anxiety signs and symptoms include: Feeling nervous, restless or tense; Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom; Having an increased heart rate; Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation); Sweating; Trembling; Feeling weak or tired; Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry; Having trouble sleeping; Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems; Having difficulty controlling worry; Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
"The causes of anxiety disorders aren't fully understood." [My comment: Well duh, that's because the people trusted to understand it have developed a fantasy therapy from which the wisdom of God is excluded. To the extent we actually believe the promises of Jesus, how is anxiety even possible?!]
Examples of medical problems that can be linked to anxiety include: Heart disease; Diabetes; Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism; Respiratory disorders, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma; Drug misuse or withdrawal; Withdrawal from alcohol, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) or other medications; Chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome; Rare tumors that produce certain fight-or-flight hormones.
Very Well Mind: What research has clearly shown is that those who have physical health problems complicated by anxiety tend to have worse symptoms, respond less well to treatment, and are more likely to have fatal illnesses.
"...students with social phobia scored lower on measures of general health and vitality...." "...those with chronic respiratory disease such as asthma or COPD have been shown to have higher rates of anxiety...." "Higher rates of anxiety have been linked to the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in those diagnosed with gastroenteritis." "A connection has been shown between phobic anxiety and sudden cardiac death. People with hypertension, thyroid disease, and cancer have been shown to have higher rates of anxiety. A study of 4,181 individuals found that most people with both anxiety and physical health problems reported developing anxiety first."
Power of Positivity: Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School tested 270 patients seeking relief from arm pain. Half were given acupuncture; the other half were given pain relief pills. Except that the pills were just corn starch, and the acupuncture needles retracted so they never pierced the skin. Most reported relief from their pain; but a few who had been told there might be side effects, reported those side effects! The study documented the effects on our health of what we believe.
Other studies have shown that the belief that one has been treated has produced measurable physical improvements, "including positive changes in blood pressure, a decrease in depression and fatigue. It proves successful in improving chemical activity in the brain and some symptoms of Parkinson’s....In general, when we think we are healthy, we tend to be healthier. And when we think we are sick, we tend to exhibit symptoms in line with our thoughts."
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences links positive thinking with improved health and brain activity from negative thoughts with a weakened immune system. Brain activity was studied in a group asked to remember a joyful event; others were asked to remember a fearful event. Then they were given the standard flu vaccine, and the levels of antibodies in each group was measured - for six months! Those who developed the strongest immunity to flu were those with the most brain activity in the part of their brain associated with happy thoughts!
Barbara Frederickson showed positive films to some and negative films to others, and then asked them to write down, for a variety of situations, how they would respond. Those who had just been uplifted by positive films proved the more creative problem solvers.
Fabrizio Benedetti "at the University of Turin Medical School took 100 students up into the Italian Alps. A few days before the trip he told one person in the group that the thin air in the Alpine altitude could cause migraines. On the day of the trip, the rumor spread to about ¼ of the group. Furthermore, those that heard the rumor experienced the worst headaches. And a saliva test showed symptoms of low oxygen conditions. (BBC adds, "a study of their saliva showed an exaggerated response to the low oxygen conditions, including a proliferation of the enzymes that are associated with altitude headache.") Benedetti's conclusion: “The brain biochemistry changed in the ‘socially infected’ individuals. Negative expectations can be communicated to your friends, neighbors, and the like, and they spread very quickly, producing social nocebo effects in a large population of subjects.”
BBC, 2015: Erich Menninger von Lerchenthal, an 18th century Viennese doctor, told of a deadly prank. Students jumped an unpopular assistant and told him he would be decapitated. They blindfolded him, put his head on a chopping block, and instead of a steel blade, dropped a wet cloth on his neck. Apparently because he thought the cloth was a steel blade and that his head was severed, he instantly died.
Every clinical trial of a new drug gives "placebos" (inert pills such as sugar or corn starch) to half the people in the trial. To pass the trial, the people receiving the actual drug being tested must improve at a significantly higher rate than those receiving the placebo, because many improve who receive the placebo just from thinking they are being helped. That is called the placebo effect. (Latin for "I will please".) But there are also negative "side effects" which are disclosed to both groups; and even the group receiving the placebo reports those side effects, again just from thinking the drug is making them sick. That is called the nocebo effect. (Latin for "I will harm".) “'It’s a consistent phenomenon, but medicine has never really dealt with it,' says Ted Kaptchuk at Harvard Medical School."
By reviewing medical research, Dimos Mitsikostas, from Athens Naval Hospital in Greece, has documented strong nocebo effects in treatments for headaches, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's. 65% of Parkinson's patients report negative effects from their placebo, and one in 10 drop out of those trials! “'It’s unbelievable – they are taking sugar pills and when you measure liver enzymes, they are elevated,' says Mitsikostas." Yet the pain is real, physical, and measurable. "measures of nerve activity following nocebo treatment have shown that the spinal cord begins responding to heightened pain before conscious deliberation would even be possible.
Roy Reeves, MD, reported in 2007 a patient suffering from depression who swallowed a whole bottle of pills, but quickly regretted it and rushed himself to ER where he collapsed. "his blood pressure had plummeted, and he was hyperventilating; he was immediately given intravenous fluids. Yet blood tests could find no trace of the drug in his system." Four hours later another doctor arrived and informed the man that the pills he "overdosed" on were sugar pills given him as part of a clinical trial. Relieved, the man quickly recovered!
In the late 1800's, many people thought their newfangled telephones were causing "giddiness and wracking pain". "Electro-sensitivity" is "an allergic reaction to mobile phone signals and wi-fi", but many experiments have produced the same symptoms when people are exposed to a "sham transmitter that doesn’t actually emit any electromagnetic waves." People in clinical trials get sick from an inert vaccine. " In 2013, Rubin found that simply showing a short video on electro-sensitivity was enough to trigger later symptoms – and the evidence seems to show that outbreaks of “wind turbine syndrome” follow local media reports." James Rubin at King’s College London."In 2013, found that simply showing a short video on electro-sensitivity was enough to trigger later symptoms – and the evidence seems to show that outbreaks of “wind turbine syndrome” follow local media reports."
Mitsikostas concludes, "For millennia, medicine was basically placebo – by using expectation, magicians used the will to heal. It is not enough to overcome disease – but it is indispensable."

Faith - "expectation" - "is not enough to overcome disease", meaning "real" disease, the doctor concludes. Which is a reasonable conclusion in light of the fact that in clinical trials, "real" drugs outperform placebos.

But placebos/nocebos are “a consistent phenomenon, but medicine has never really dealt with it", according to Ted Kaptchuk at Harvard Medical School. Because modern medicine "has never really dealt with" the healing power of faith, it is premature to conclude that Jesus was wrong in saying rather categorically that faith "is not enough to overcome disease".

Of course, it matters what your faith is in. Absolute faith in a lie will not make it true. We need a lot more truth. But we are limited in how much we will ever get, while we dismiss what Jesus told us about healing as not even worth talking about.

Evidence that Christian Faith Heals

The Huffington Post, a liberal news source not given to praising God, carried the report of Candy Gunther Brown, Ph.D, author of "Healing Gods" and "Testing Prayer". Her article reports several reports of medically inexplicable cures coinciding with intercessory prayer with direct human contact - that is, someone nearby praying, talking, discussing, perhaps "laying hands", as opposed to studies where people are asked to pray for people remotely who do not know they are being prayed for.

Dr. Kathryn Butler, in 2018, was drawn closer to God by a patient's miraculous cure, but she warns that focusing on not dying only, when we all must die, "When we ignore God’s work in suffering, and cleave breathlessly only to our hope for a cure, we forsake opportunities for closure, fellowship, and spiritual preparation at the end of life....are more likely to pursue aggressive measures at the end of life, and more likely to die in an ICU....we need not fear death. Christ has overcome, and through his resurrection death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55–57)....we may chase after treatments that not only fail to save us, but which also rob us of our capacities to think, communicate, and pray in our final days....And if cure does not come, a single-minded focus on healing strands ourselves and those we love with unsettling doubts about the validity of our faith."

"Gill" writes about her recovery from cancer in 2013. She had surgery, but at several points describes the surprise of doctors that the tumor was smaller than expected, cancer had not spread, she recovered rapidly, and the peace she displayed from the moment she was diagnosed. Perhaps most helpful to the rest of us from her report are the Scriptures that gave her peace:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 TIMOTHY 1:7)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (PSALM 27:1)

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 PETER 5:7)

“… let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (JOHN 14:27)

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” (JEREMIAH 17:14)

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (ISAIAH 53:5)

A Century of Research

In 2012 an analysis was published of all the medical and psychiatric research done between 1872 and 2010! It was published by Harold G. Koenig of Duke University, in ISRN Psychiatry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

The research technically did not distinguish between the effects of Biblical faith and of other faiths, but only the difference that "religion/spirituality" made. The link above is to a very long, detailed report, of which the following is a very brief summary. But the following quote from the analysis is a clue that most of the research was about the benefits of Judeo-Christian faith. This quote lists qualities which are not at all present in all religions, but are exclusive to Christianity, and to subcategories of other religions to the extent they are influenced by Christianity.

...most religions emphasize love of others, compassion, and altruistic acts as well as encourage meeting together during religious social events. These prosocial behaviors have many consequences that buffer stress and lead to human support when support is needed during difficult times. Because religion encourages the helping of others and emphasizes a focus outside of the self, engagement in other-helping activities may increase positive emotions and serve to distract from one's own problems. Religion also promotes human virtues such as honesty, forgiveness, gratefulness, patience, and dependability, which help to maintain and enhance social relationships.

Islam has no concept of love that reaches even to enemies. Hinduism finds honesty a challenging concept because Hinduism teaches that there is no truth, but only "illusion". Islam dehumanizes unbelievers as "apes and pigs"; Hinduism dehumanizes its large poor population as "untouchables". Islam violently suppresses any true statements which any imam thinks "insults Mohammed"; Hinduism not only has disinterest in true statements, but its goal, attempted through its meditation, is to empty one's mind of any thinking, or desires (goals) at all.

By confusing all religions for each other, the author blames all religions equally, too: "Religion may also be used to justify hatred, aggression, prejudice, and the exclusion of others; gain power and control over vulnerable individuals (as seen in cults); foster rigid thinking and obsessive practices; lead to anxiety, fear, and excessive guilt over minor infractions (and even self-mutilation in some cases); produce psychosocial strains due to failure to live up to high religious standards; lead to escape from dealing with family problems (through excessive involvement in religious or spiritual activities)...."

Of course all believers of all religions experience all these errors to varying degrees. They are "sins", and "there is none righteous". But cultures inspired primarily by Scriptures honoring service and love are very different than cultures that reverence greatness through murder and rage.

Because of the fact that the author links these uniquely Christian qualities to the health benefits of "religion/spirituality", we should presume that the "religions" dominating these studies was the one which exudes these qualities: namely, Christianity. With this caveat: some of the studies are about the effectiveness of yoga in reducing things like stress. Stress is a bit less defined, objective, and measurable than things like heart attacks; my summary of the study focuses on more objective things.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is less among the religious, according to 9 of 13 studies; one reported more heart disease. 11 of 16 studies found better heart health in several other areas among the religious; none found worse health.

Stroke: four of nine studies found lower risk among the religious. (Cerebrovascular disease, hypertension and other risk factors.) One study found more carotid artery thickening, creating a higher risk, but 30% of that group was African American, a group known to be both highly religious and at high risk of stroke.

Alzheimer's, Dementia: 8 of 14 studies found stronger cognitive function among the religious; 3 studies found weaker function. Part of the incidence of weaker function is accounted for by the fact that the religions live longer, so they are more likely to reach older ages where cognition tends to decline.

Immune Function: 15 of 27 studies found that the religious have stronger immune systems. One found a negative effect. Of the 14 studies with the highest quality ratings, 10 reported stronger immunity; none reported less immunity.

Infections, HIV: 8 of 12 studies found stronger resistance among the religious. None found weaker resistance.

Cancer: 16 of 29 studies found lower cancer rates among the religious; 2 found a worse prognosis. Of the 20 most carefully done studies, 12 found lower cancer rates among the religious; none found otherwise. Better health among religious is accounted for partly by better health behaviors - less smoking, drinking, drugs, etc, less stress, and higher social support.

Long life: 82 of 121 studies reported significantly longer life for the religious; 5 reported shorter lifespans. Of the 63 most carefully done studies, 47 reported longer lives; 3 reported shorter. Frequency of church attendance is a strong predictor of longer life. The significance of the effect of religion is equivalent to the effects of cholesterol lowering drugs or exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation.

Psychological health: religion helps people cope. It imbues negative events with meaning and purpose. It lowers depression, stress, anxiety, and raises positive emotions. Several randomized clinical trials show that religion improves mental health, while poor mental health worsens physical health and shortens lives.

Social health: the religious have better social support, more stable marriages, less crime, more "social capital". Religion encourage honesty, courage, dependability, altruism, generosity, forgiveness, self-discipline, patience, humility, and other characteristics that promote social relationships. Religious involvement not only provides opportunities for altruism but increases the flow of health information. By enhancing social interactions, community trust, and involvement, religion increases mental health, which improves physical health.

Health Behaviors: religion discourages smoking, drinking, risky sex, and drugs; encourages exercise, better diet, completely safe sex. A CNN report January 3, 2009, described Gertrude Baines, born to former slaves in 1894, as “spry,” “cheerful,” and “talkative.” When she was 112 years old, Ms. Baines was asked by a CNN correspondent to explain why she thought she had lived so long. Her reply: “God. Ask Him. I took good care of myself, the way he wanted me to.” Brief and to the point. She was a year short of the 115 year record in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The analysis of a century of research concludes: "Religious beliefs provide satisfying answers to existential questions, such as 'where did we come from,' 'why are we here,' and 'where are we going,' and the answers apply to both this life and the next life, thus reducing existential angst. These beliefs also help to normalize loss and change and provide role models of persons suffering with the same or similar problems (often illustrated in religious scriptures). Thus, religious beliefs have the potential to influence the cognitive appraisal of negative life events in a way that makes them less distressing. For people with medical illness, these beliefs are particularly useful because they are not lost or impaired with physical disability—unlike many other coping resources that are dependent on health (hobbies, relationships, and jobs/finances).

Personal Testimony

When I was young, in school, I was an anxious, depressed mess. I wanted to be "worth" something, to be better than others, but my achievements couldn't keep up with my evolving standards. All of that leveled off as a young married adult. Life was comfortable. I was content. Until tragedy struck: I was divorced.

The Bible had profoundly engaged my mind before, but tragedy brought the Bible into my heart, my feelings, and my goals. I studied what made divorce courts such a magnet, and became political. But through the intense human interaction of lobbying, doorknocking, and running for office, I met people suffering different tragedies than my own. I wanted to help. I researched solutions, but then learned how much human resistance there is to solutions. Not only in the very people must devastated by tragedy, but in the organizations created to help them.

Thus my goals vastly outgrew my capacity, my resources, or any logical vision of how to reach them. Except that Jesus promised I actually could, if I don't give up. Except that for the first time in my life, the problems that most concerned me weren't my problems. They were other people's problems. My own problems became much less important to me, and to the extent they troubled me at all, I had learned to trust Jesus' promises in places like Luke 12 not to be anxious about them. I stopped even thinking very hard or long or often about them; I found that indeed, my personal needs were always met, very often just in time, just enough, and by means I never could have planned.

Yet my goals remained, and remain, far beyond the reach of my eyes or my logic. Ecclesiastes 1 says in much wisdom is much grief, and I must have a lot of wisdom, because I feel a lot of grief about so many people suffering so much while I am offer solutions which are stifled by a wall of human mental inertia.

But this grief is different than anxiety. My grief is not for myself; my personal needs are met to my satisfaction. It is not a grief which debilitates my body, but which energizes it, giving me purpose and meaning. In fact, any time the weight of sky high goals becomes heavy, all I have to do is think of Jesus' promises, and remember that I am not doing this for myself, and the weight goes away and I feel like I just plugged myself into a Holy Spirit wall outlet. And after a little more prayer and pleading, understanding of a next step before me comes, and I get busy taking it, during which despair has too little time to fester before hope kills it.

John 15:13 says "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." My personal experience is that love, focused on the needs of others to the exclusion of my own, to the extent of even being somewhat bored by my own, lifts the weights that used to be on my heart. It rejuvenates my body. It removes the anxiety that makes bodies sick and old. It removes the despair of not understanding one's purpose in life.

In short, just one natural consequence of Biblical love is a body prepared to resist disease, even before taking into account any miraculous, supernatural protection from God.

I conclude that God isn't the one that's stupid. It's the rest of us. God understands coronavirus. He understands what our bodies need to resist it. He provides a general outline of basic hygiene practices, and then tells us about Love, which our bodies need beyond basic hygiene.

Therefore, the safest thing for our bodies as well as for our souls, hearts, and minds, is to serve others at every opportunity; carefully, responsibly, but sacrificially. Putting the needs of others way behind "keeping ol' #1 safe" is like shooting your foot. It's like kicking roses barefoot. It's dumb. It's not safe.

Other relevant passages

Jesus' Hygiene

Luke 11:37  After Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee asked Jesus to eat with him. So he went and took a place at the table. 38  But the Pharisee was surprised when he saw that Jesus did not wash his hands first before the meal.  39  The Lord said to him, "The washing you Pharisees do is like cleaning only the outside of a cup or a dish. But what is inside you? You want only to cheat and hurt people. 40  You are foolish! The same one who made what is outside also made what is inside. 41  So pay attention to what is inside. Give to the people who need help. Then you will be fully clean. 

Does this say Jesus didn't believe in germs?

God gave hygiene laws through Moses. He told us what meats are safe to eat, told us how to clean ourselves after contact with dead animals, how to deal with mold in the walls of a house, and all God's rules make sense in light of today's knowledge of germs; they were practical rules that kept technologically primitive people safe.

But God never told anyone to wash their hands before meals. That was a law invented by the Pharisees, not one of whom owned a microscope so he could even see a germ. And indeed today, in our medically advanced culture, people do not have a handwashing station at the entrances to restaurants. So apparently Jesus' answer to the Pharisees is an answer that any doctor today might have given them, had he sufficient courage.

While Jesus' challenge was in harmony with today's medical best practices, it was a startling challenge to today's political status quo. Because were Christians today to follow His example, they would challenge today's health requirements that are supported neither by the Bible nor by sound science.

Be Careful, but Serve, and Trust

Matthew 4:6  He [Satan] said to Jesus, "If you are the Son of God, jump off, because the Scriptures say, 'God will command his angels to help you, and their hands will catch you, so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.'" 7  Jesus answered, "The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the Lord your God.'" 

Yes, Psalm 91 really did say those who trust in God will be protected by God's angels from even tripping over a rock. Yet Jesus says jumping off a cliff deliberately just to feel angel hands is "testing God". God wants us to partner with Him in keeping ourselves safe; just as parents protect their children from all kinds of dangers they are too immature to understand, yet expect their children to partner with them in growing up wise and safe, God expects adults to grow wiser, ever more mature, and increasingly able to master all the challenges of reality, yet God remains ever ready to save us from utter disaster, yet while prodding us to maturity with enough painful natural consequences to snap us out of our apathy.

To the incredible list of dangers which Psalm 91 tells us God will deliver us, Jesus adds, in the closing verses of Mark, that those who believe will drink poisons and handle deadly snakes, without harm. But in the context of Matthew 4:7, we are to understand Mark doesn't mean we should go out and buy a jug of lye and chug it down in front of a TV camera to show how God will protect us, while sitting in a rattlesnake pit. Jesus' protection is for when we couldn't avoid the poisons. And Jesus didn't say there would be no harm in each and every case.

A current example of trust in God's protection from coronavirus that did not turn out well was Bishop Gerald Glenn of The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Virginia who died of the disease after holding a full church service in defiance of Virginia's order to shut down meetings of over 10 people. The official church announcement video of his passing states that even on his way to the "operating room", he said "God is a healer". The New York Times reported, "At the time, the bishop was quoted by local media outlets as saying that 'I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.' Local media reported that Bishop Glenn said that he would keep preaching 'unless I’m in jail or the hospital.'”

The virus is serious; it can kill, just like jumping off a cliff. But as dangerous as it is to assume that God will always protect us when duty seems to call us off the cliff, it is just as dangerous to dismiss God's general promises of protection and live as if God will never miraculously deliver us from the dangers in the places He calls us to serve. Let us not rush into danger carelessly, but with all the wisdom and care we can muster, let us not hold back from serving.

A memorable example from millions of such miraculous protection is when John the Evangelist was executed by being dipped in boiling oil. He came back up unharmed. Unable to kill the man, his enemies then exiled him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote Revelation. A similar modern example is when Nora Lam was executed by a Communist Chinese firing squad. She was not only unharmed, but was immediately able to flee. "China Cry" is the modern movie made about her life, including that event.

Not everyone agrees with me that these verses won't protect us if we chug a jug of lye while sitting in a snake pit. There are still a few churches which handle snakes as part of their test of their faith, even after ministers and children have died from bites. See Snake Handling in Religion.

They rely on these verses:

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)
And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. (Acts 28:1-6)

Unnoticed by the remaining snake handling Christians, apparently, is that Paul didn't actually reach into the fire in order to grab that viper, so he could hold it up and say "Watch this! This is really neat!"

So how should we apply these verses to our response to Coronavirus?

The 3 verses that open this article tell us God will protect those who help and protect others, so really, the very safest response to a pandemic is to serve those suffering from it. There was a terrible plague in Rome when the Christian church was young. It was so bad that people fled their homes, leaving cities empty - and leaving behind their sick family members. Christians stepped in, ministering to them. That demonstration of love caused considerable growth to the Church. Today, Samaritan's Purse, managed by Franklin Graham, has set up tent hospitals in Italy to help, as Coronavirus cases exceed Italian hospital capacity.

But as we help, we can be as careful as we can. Not only as partners with God in mastering all the challenges of reality, but to avoid hurting the very people we are trying to help, along with ourselves. There is another consideration: even when the particular measures advocated by media and government seem baseless, we can follow them to a reasonable extent, just for the sake of not terrifying people so much that they won't let us get close enough to help them.

Fragments from Emails

I respect the measures recommended, up until the point where they would restrict me from serving others; at that point, it is pulling back from opportunities to serve that would make me most fearful of losing God's protection. March 20

From a friend: We felt terrible that we could not ask you in, but the truth is, you are both our age and you are at risk to get the WuFlu as well as us. We don't want to spread it or get it. Last night X had chills overnight and I doubt it is anything, but the point is, we never know and from what I have read, this is not a nice way to die.

Also, they are telling us that the more that get infected, the more risk that the hospitals are overwhelmed and chaos ensues. So we feel it best to have no contact for a while. I have been writing the President and senators to ask them to simply sequester all older persons or those who have health issues which put them in a high-risk category and let the rest of America go back to work. I believe if he doesn't do this, society will break down soon and it will be bad. If he sunk just a tiny portion of the money he is throwing at this issue into separating out older people safely and voluntarily, we would be fine and the rest of the city would be able to go about their business, knowing that there is little risk to them, plus hospitals could handle it. Don't you think this makes more sense than destroying the economy and civil society?

We would have loved to sit with you both and talk for a while and had some dessert or something. But this is where we are and we believe it is long-overdue judgment and is mixed with extreme kindness, considering how it is actually rolling out. Please accept my apology that we could not have you in. Please take this seriously and don't get sick and stress the hospital system and risk infecting others. It is a temporary inconvenience and hits our pocketbooks, but we may be able to weather it with God's graceful help if he wills. We love you both. (Received March 22)

My response March 22: As for letting the young people go, they are getting infected at nearly the rate of oldsies; the difference being the mortality rate, which is 10 times higher after 70. Still only 2%. But obviously if all the youngsies mix as usual, their .1% mortality rate will still be horrible, besides the impossibility then of protecting the oldsies.

As for quarantining all the oldsies, a hit to the pocketbook is an optimistic view of driving old people out of their homes into the streets where they will be more vulnerable. That is, people who need to work to pay those sky high property taxes, which so far are not being delayed.

As for ourselves, our business has always been lucky to see half a dozen people a day, so it is about like staying home. Trump's guidelines are for oldsies to stay home, but there is no definition beyond that general principle; so oldsies still shop as needed. Work? Property taxes are due the end of this month. Something like $5,000 for us here in Polk County. We are still a few hundred dollars short. We have a reverse mortgage on the house and a contract on the store building; our contracts require property taxes to be promptly paid. At some point the calculation needs to be made: the deaths at risk from the virus vs the lives at risk from suspending the economy. I appreciate that federal tax deadlines are delayed 3 months, although we didn't make enough to owe any; but Polk County property taxes are collected by a Democrat-run board of supervisors, which has not announced any relief.

Not that my fear of the virus is simply overshadowed by my fear of financial ruin. My fear of either is simply overshadowed by my trust in God.

If you would like to visit safely, come interact with me at savetheworld.saltshaker.us. Or call. Or call with questions about how to interact at savetheworld.saltshaker.us.

X didn't SAY we couldn't come in and visit; but I assumed that was your wish. After we left there, we drove over to Steve and Kay Stroh's place and visited for an hour - not that I expected it. Their living room is too piled high with debris for us to be able to crawl through, but they came right out to our car. I asked Steve if he washes his hands every 5 minutes; he said, every 5 days. He said he had been working that day in the basement to get debris off the floor so it doesn't rot when it floods, which is only when it rains. He said he must have worked 35 minutes doing that, and cleared an area at least two feet square.

I read at Heritage.org that Iran may have 2 million infections; a dozen top leaders, plus many clerics, have died, and mass graves are being dug for commoners. China is their biggest trading partner, so many Chinese workers are in construction in Iran. They have millions of pilgrims visiting their "unholy sites", which they don't want to close and lose that money. Worshipers video themselves licking shrines to show their faith in the curative powers of the devil.

I don't take long life for granted. God has already been very generous with time for me and Dorothy. There remains much good for others I want to do, so I do lean on God's promises that these mountains will finally fall, and that I will see at least some of it. I understand that God wants our partnership in keeping ourselves safe by reasonable means; for example, Matthew 4, jumping off a cliff and expecting protection would be "tempting God". But where keeping myself safe conflicts with serving others, Scripture points to our greater safety being in the latter, and greater danger in the former.

Responses from others

Hey Dave, Thanks for emailing me this. We are praying constantly for the safety of our state and country. I appreciate you reaching out to me during these hectic times. Our verse for the day is Mathew 6:26 - 27. - State Representative Matthew Gurtler, Georgia

Thanks. Stay safe and focus on GOD. - State Representative Gerald Greene, Georgia

We are all in God's hands. - Jay Lawrence, Arizona legislature

Mr. Leach, Thank you very much for sending these vital verses and information. I appreciate it very much. I am sending this to some of my friends and former co-workers. Thank you again. - Dave Struck, Norwood, Pennsylvania

Thanks. - State Representative Lana J. Greenfield, South Dakota

Thanks Dave for your encouragement. I do trust. I trust fully in God! - State Representative Austen Schauer, North Dakota

Dave, I don't have any tildes so I can't follow your typing system. I have already had coronavirus in late Feb to early March, and it was like a minor cold with a touch of sore throat and a touch of fevers that came and went for a few days. Not enough to keep anybody in bed, and only minor symptoms that came and went. Big deal. It's probably all the genes I have from Neanderthal ancestors that kept me going. Hope you are all doing well. - Randy Crawford, near Iowa City, Iowa

Dave Leach response: It is very nice to hear from you! I miss our long conversations.

Thanks for alerting me to the fact that smartphones require an extra step to get a tilde. (On a qwerty keyboard, the tilde is the upper case character to the left of "1". )

On the "numbers" screen, there is a "symbol" symbol that is three characters squeezed into as much space as is elsewhere occupied by a single character . On my phone it is #\=. On other phones it is #+= Press this, and you get lots of weird symbols.

Actually I don't think my software stops working if you don't sign with four tildes. As I explain in "begin!" and FAQ's, the reason I want to stop anonymous posts is because anonymity invites hit-and-run personal attacks which do not contribute to the subject at all and which as often or not make no pretense of addressing the subject of the articles. Just as in a face to face conversation it helps you know how to respond to someone if you know who it is rather than talking to someone wearing a mask and a voice distorter, my dream is real conversations with real people online, who don't always agree but who are willing to reason with each other respectfully. Unfortunately, so far I have failed to interest people in the concept. Dave

Hi Dave, As one who is trying to recover from Covid-19 (because I was volunteering in ICU where the sickest of the sick go), I can empathize with your friends in wanting to isolate. It is a small sacrifice to ask others to stay away unless a visit is absolutely necessary. This is because C-19 is present before one realizes they have it. This is allergy season for many who dismiss initial symptoms and go about their routines until they suddenly become quite symptomatic.

Like everyone else on the planet, I've had the flu several times over the years. But this flu is particularly vicious. Most won't die from it, but for a while that seems to be a good option to escape the unceasing headache, cough and congestion that threatens to overtake one's respiratory system. I started being symptomatic on Sunday but thought it was a sinus infection. On Monday I knew it was more, but I thought it might be a bad cold. On Tuesday and Wednesday the respiratory issues became rather severe and the headache that was mild on Monday became a constant inescapable pain that did not subside in the least until Thursday when it became bearable again.

The coughing and congestion, which I managed aggressively to keep it from going into my lungs, began subsiding yesterday, but not before I coughed so hard I herniated a small area under my right rib cage. Now, though I do not cough as much, it is extra painful to cough as the spasms jerk through that sensitive area.

Today I do not feel any better than yesterday and my legs are so weak I hurried through a morning shower so as not to risk falling in the shower.

Is God judging me? Or is God giving me greater empathy toward others who might become sick later?

When the heavens turn to brass and God withholds rain from a land, Dave, the righteous and the unrighteous often suffer together. It is what we do with our suffering that matters more than the fact that we suffer.

My advice is to stay away from your friends who are fearful and recognize that God is able to give them a degree of wisdom as well.

If you can find it, I recommend reading the November 2017 issue of Smithsonian Magazine in which they describe the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 . The article highlight is about how they took scrapings of that virus and resurrected the DNA from lung tissue to study it. It began as a rather harsh but usual flu virus, but that particular virus, they found, was able to mutate so rapidly and came back as a particularly deadly, more aggressive and more lethal virus. Thus the pandemic spread itself out over a very long "season" of time.

I do not know if Covid-19 is that virus, or not. But I do know we can all set aside the usual social and even work-related routines of life in order to protect others. I do not plan on letting people into my house, nor will I travel about, until I am a week out from having any symptoms. I have Clorox wipes that I intend to use to wipe every surface in my house, once I feel strong enough to take on the task of sanitizing. I consider this to be my best way of protecting others.

God is good, whether we get sick, or not. And as with the man born blind, He can afflict in ways that enhance His glory, even if that means He makes use of any one of us in the process.

Warmly in Christ, Cathy from Oregon; Catherine Ramey "Justice and only justice shall you do."

Dave Leach response: ...At the risk of too simplistic a summary of God's advice, my conclusion as applied to you is that by volunteering, you were doing exactly the safest thing, even for yourself, and God will bless you for it. But we still need to be careful, as you are: even though God promises protection, Jesus tells us not to jump off cliffs....