Bishop Courtney Henry
God Can Handle the Invisible Enemy
This coming July I will celebrate my 58th birthday. And, in all of my almost 58 years, I have never witnessed a social crisis such as the one we face right now. The impact of COVID – 19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, has impacted this country, and the world, in such a profound way, that it has changed the way we conduct our lives on a daily basis.
I lived in the United Kingdom during the seventies when the IRS – Irish Republican Army – brought their struggle to England. Bombs were planted in public places. Bombs exploded in bars, hotels, and even the houses of parliament. On occasion, Bomb scares disrupted sporting events. An exclusive restaurant was the target of a machine gun attack. The threat of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the possibility of falling victim to a terrorist’s bomb was very real.
The 9/11 terrorist attack resulted in the nation being shut down for a few days and resulted in new protocols related to air travel being implemented. Yet, that did not disrupt life the way that coronavirus has. This virus is so pernicious that our state, New Jersey, is one of locations that is under a stay at home order in attempt to slow down the virus’ spread.
This virus is ultra-contagious and rather deadly and is all the more dangerous because anybody can catch it by simply executing normal, everyday activities that we do without even thinking. The president recently referred to it as an invisible enemy. Mr. Trump said that we were at war with this invisible enemy. That description of the virus is chilling, because it is hard to defend yourself against something that attacks with such stealth. However, we are not unused to fighting against an unseen enemy.
The devil is an invisible enemy. Apostle Peter told us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). When we understand that Satan is a fallen angel – an angel that rebelled against God and was evicted from Heaven – the picture that we have is that of an invisible stalker. One who uses stealth to entrap his prey. Peter told us to be calm, clear-minded and watchful so as not to fall into the trap of our invisible stalker. But there is an invisible force that can handle the invisible enemy.
God, in the personage of the Holy Spirit, is that invisible force that lives in us. Jesus told the woman at that the well that, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). With the Holy Spirit living in you, we have power above our own ability to conquer things that we cannot handle with our own ability. Not only does He give us power; He is also our protector from dangers seen and unseen. So, just because this is a new, novel viral threat, that fact does not mean that we cannot overcome it.
To gain the victory, we must follow Peter’s instructions. We must be sober and vigilant both in the natural and in the spirit. The natural part involves following all the protocols that the health professionals have beseeched us to follow. The spiritual part involves being watchful in prayer. We know that prayer changes things. In order to pray effectively, we must have the calm, clear mind so that faith occupies the place that the devil wants fear to invade.
Not only will a calm, clear mind help us with effective prayer, but being calm in this time of storm will position us to a witness to those who don’t know God and give hope to those who are feeling anxious. Having that calm, clear mind allows us to remember that nothing is too hard for God to do. He is greater than the devil. He is greater than coronavirus. They are both invisible enemies, but God is greater than them both.