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COVID-19 as a practise run for the Lord’s return 

CMS missionaries Andrew Margie Newman, serving in Uganda, like everyone, have been affected by the Coronavirus in various ways. Here they reflect on the way the pandemic has helped them think about our expectation of coming judgement. 

We’ve been reflecting on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, where Paul writes to the Thessalonian Christians about the final day of judgement. Here are some of the key verses from that passage: 

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 

—1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 

The magnitude of COVID-19 has begun to feel like a drill for Jesus’ return. Clearly, judgement day has not come but as we consider: Jesus’ return is ‘like a thief in the night’ (1 Thessalonians 5:2), the way we presume upon ‘peace and security’ (verse 3), the ‘sudden destruction’ of that day (verse 3), there being ‘no escape’ (verse 3) and its global scale (1 Thessalonians 4:16), we find some parallels in the COVID-19 pandemic.  

We are thankful to our kind God for this foretaste of what is to come. It has given us a desire to be truly ‘awake’ (verses 4-8), urgent to make known Jesus and the eternal safety he brings (verses 9-10), before he returns. 

Here’s a link to Michael Morrow’s song ‘We belong to the day’ (2006, EMU music). We thought it expressed some of these ideas particularly well.  


Pray that CMS missionaries, CMS supporters, and all those they work alongside will long for the return of Jesus.