As UK Covid infections continue their alarming rise, the country stands poised to remove all legal restrictions on social contact, despite warnings from scientists and doctors that such a move, given current circumstances, is highly risky and could lead to the emergence or spread of even more dangerous new variants.
Some of course will be delighted at the removal of restrictions. The past 18 months have been a trial for all of us, and we'd all like things to get back to 'normal' – and it's entirely natural for people to want to get together with friends and go on holiday!
Others, who fear an orchestrated global conspiracy, in and through the pandemic, to embed totalitarian control, will rejoice at these first signs of the restoration of personal choice. And such concerns seem justified. The restraint on personal freedom, with enforced growing dependence on the State, poses a clear and present danger to personal autonomy, which goes against the freedom that we, in the UK, have seen up to now as our unquestioned birthright. But others – such as the medically vulnerable who feel they've been abandoned to their fate, or those nervous at having to return prematurely, as they see it, to work – are more pessimistic.
And, given that it's forecast the rising infection rates will see a rise in hospital admissions and deaths, perhaps deservedly so. After all, the Netherlands, which opted for a similar course three weeks ago, leading to a 500% increase in infections, has now been forced to back track, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte saying, "What we thought would be possible, turned out not to be possible in practice ... We had poor judgement, which we regret and for which we apologise."
The truth is, there is no easy answer to the situation in which we now find ourselves. Covid-19 is an unpleasant reality that we are going to have to deal with, and manage, for the foreseeable future. But the question arises, is mankind missing the point? And, if we are, while we persist in looking everywhere, except where we perhaps should, what hope can there be of finding a solution?
In recent years the world has become increasingly and disastrously focused on 'self', rejecting God. We can do whatever we want, we say. Have whatever we want. We can recreate reality in whatever way we choose ... because it's our right! So we have made a god of immorality and self-gratification, living as if there was no tomorrow. But there is a verse in the Bible which reads, 'He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind' (Proverbs 11:29).
At first glance this may to many seem a trifle obscure, or even irrelevant, but actually the meaning is pretty clear, and it's very much on-point. If you rebel and bring trouble into your own house, causing problems for your parents ... you will be cut off from any inheritance and receive nothing. You will literally 'inherit the wind'.
Fact: Men and women have rebelled and brought trouble into the world.
Result: We are inheriting the wind.
In my view, all the evidence seems to indicate that this virus originated in a research lab in Wuhan, so it may justifiably be said that Covid wasn't 'created' by God, but is the result of 'evil' working through the wrong and irresponsible aspirations of mankind.
Yet God has unquestionably 'permitted' it, and the contagion continues because, through our persistent rebellion, we have put ourselves outside His protection. God holds the answer to Covid and could deliver us, if asked, in a heartbeat. But while we persist in our rebellion, He surely won't, because that would facilitate evil. If we want to see the virus neutralised and all restrictions safely lifted, it's simple. We need to repent.
In WW2, faced with what seemed certain annihilation and defeat, that is exactly what the nation did. Seven times King George VI called for a national day of prayer. And seven times the nation was miraculously delivered. Perhaps most spectacularly at Dunkirk, when, against all odds, 338,226 men were snatched from what looked to be certain death on the beaches of Dunkirk, rescued by the flotilla of small boats crewed by 'ordinary' men and women who had responded to Churchill's appeal for help, and valiantly crossed the Channel in an unprecedented calm.
The lesson remains the same. Our God is a God of power and, if we ask Him, He will help. So perhaps it's time to get serious, swallow our pride, and acknowledge that rejecting God isn't such a good idea after all. Then - and only then - will we see the miraculous delivery for which we all long.
Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.