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During dark and hopeless times like this, we are often left asking: What is God doing?

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chris CookstonOn Monday morning, there were 337,925 cases of coronavirus in America. 9,664 deaths. ABC reports that New York sees one death every 2.5 minutes at the current rate.

There are not enough morgues in New York to contain the dead, so the Department of Defense is delivering 84 additional refrigerator truck trailer morgues. Our president believes the worst is yet to come. There are presently over 70,000 coronavirus deaths worldwide. This is a global disaster! During dark and hopeless times like this we are often left asking: What is God doing?

Large-scale emergencies occurred while Jesus was on the earth too. And people speculated over what God was doing. One day, Jesus was given the news about how Pontius Pilate had slaughtered many people who were worshipping God. He mixed their blood with the sacrifices. And in an unrelated incident, 18 people were killed when a tower under construction fell.

In both cases, Jesus quickly set aside the crowd's assumption that these people died because they were worse sinners. Jesus said, "I tell you, no, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5). Here Jesus teaches us the correct response to tragedy. We shouldn't speculate about why people die. Instead, we must repent because death is much closer than we think.

According to God's word, no person in this world is without guilt. All of humanity was represented by Adam, the first man, when he sinned.

"For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners" (Romans 5:19a). Adam's choice to sin affects us all. Adam was created as a perfect man. His fellowship with God was unbroken and guiltless. Until it wasn't. Adam sinned when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warned him, "for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:17). When he sinned, death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12). Thus "the wages of sin is death." (6:23a). In that moment, all of humanity became corrupted by sin. From that day forth, every single person has been born with a sin nature. A nature that does not love and glorify God as we were created to do.

The first half of Romans 5:19 condemns us. But the second half tells us we can be saved! Although all human beings are guilty sinners, many are saved in Christ.

"So by the one Man's obedience the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19b). Although all human beings are guilty sinners, many are saved in Christ! Jesus was perfectly obedient to God's law, without sin. Today, God extends His call to you, "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (6:23b). Realize your own sin and misery and turn to Jesus.

Consider those who have died in the past seven days from the virus. Did they know four weeks ago they would die soon? Did their families know that Christmas 2019 would be their last?

Dear reader, consider with me the Christian life. It is to know with certainty that Jesus has paid for all your sins (past, present, and future) on His cross, and that He resurrected from death. It is to live day-by-day with a changed mind (repentance) about your sin, and with Jesus who is your Savior from sin and death.

Your life is not yours to live, God is your Creator whether you realize it or not. And someday, probably sooner than you think, you will die. It will be too late! You will soon stand before the Judge, Jesus Christ. Are you ready?

Chris Cookston is the pastor at Prineville Community Church. He can be reached at 541-447-6315.

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