Four kinds of Christians have surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first kind is those who believe that God has purposes in all things and who trust that everything we see unfolding is His doing. The second kind is those who believe that COVID-19 was created by scientists and, whether released accidentally or intentionally, this pandemic is from Satan. These Christians believe that if we can deal with Satan, we can resolve the pandemic. The third kind—and by far the most common—is those who are not thinking about what God might be saying through this pandemic, nor what Satan might be doing. For this group COVID-19 is something to get through so that life can return to normal. And then there is a fourth group.
This group believes that God is always accomplishing His purposes through all circumstances, including COVID-19; and understand that whenever God is working there is also a “father of lies” at work (1 Thess. 5:16-18; John 8:44). These Christians believe that by discerning what God is doing and by identifying how Satan is propagating lies, they can have an accurate picture to know what to do.
This kind of discernment is exemplified by the apostle Paul. Addressing the situation over the immoral brother in the Corinthian church, he counseled God’s people to forgive him so that Satan would not gain an advantage (2 Cor. 2:5–11). No less wisdom and discernment are needed in the current coronavirus pandemic. If Christians don’t move into this fourth category—meaning culturally aware and able to discern what God is doing in contrast to what “the father of lies” is tempting us to do—at best, we will be ineffective.
The simultaneous activity of good and evil
To illustrate God’s redemptive activity and the simultaneous activity of the evil one in COVID-19, let me offer an example of a boots-on-the-ground physician. My wife is friends with a godly doctor who flies into New York City every weekend to volunteer her services. In the midst of this hotspot, she often works two 8–12 hour shifts before flying home. Typically, she sees 3–5 patients come to faith in Christ—not every weekend but every shift! Clearly, God is using this pandemic to seek and save the lost and some people are responding. Yet, this same doctor explained that the number of reported COVID deaths is inflated.
She stated that you could die of liver disease, but if you tested positive for the virus, your death certificate would say COVID-19. Unfortunately, this statement is supported by reports from doctors around the nation. Dr. Dan Erickson, a physician in the Bakersfield, California area, stated that his colleagues have received pressure to report deaths as COVID-19. Recently, Colorado reduced its COVID-19 death count by more than 250 because of inaccurate reporting. Last month, Pennsylvania reduced its death toll by 201. Practicing physician and Minnesota state Senator Dr. Scott Jensen has alerted us to the financial incentives designated for hospitals that admit COVID positive patients and the CDC’s ambiguous guidelines for recording COVID-19 deaths. With the number of coronavirus deaths being exaggerated, this gives rise to new levels of fear proliferating throughout our nation. Since God does not lie nor manipulate people (Num. 23:19; Titus 1:1-2), it is becoming clear that another force is at work behind the scenes.
There is a method behind the madness . . . but it is still madness
Why would Satan try to tempt people into this kind of activity? Scripture refers to Satan as the tempter and the apostle John explains that Satan will eventually deceive many throughout the world (Matt. 4:1–11; 1 Thess. 3:5; Rev. 12:9). Subtly distorting reality is what Satan does. Concerning COVID-19, if churches make decisions and governments create policies based on distorted “facts,” we will allow further darkness into our communities, which will in turn engender worse decisions and policies and invite in more darkness, and so on. This is why Jesus summarized Satan’s activity as stealing, killing, and destroying (John 10:10). He steals the truth with the intent of harming people and destroying cultures.
Certainly, God is accomplishing His purposes through this pandemic such as saving the lost and calling His people to humility, prayer, and repentance (2 Chr. 7:13–14). But Satan is also trying to capitalize on the situation through the loneliness that stay-at-home orders engender, the stealing of freedoms through government restrictions, the distancing of God through closed churches, and the loss income because of unemployment.
The way forward
In determining the way forward during such a national crisis, it is one thing to evaluate the opinions of medical experts, economists, government leaders, friends, and various voices on the internet. It is quite another to be able to say with Paul, “We are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] schemes” and that we understand the perfect will of God according to the truth of His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 2:10-11; Romans 12:2; John 16:13). Rather than trying to digest mountains of material, it might be to everyone’s benefit if we make a concerted effort to ask God what is going on in the spirit realm and what to do. After all, according to James 1:5, God invites us to do that very thing.
 Erickson, Dan and Artin Massihi. “Dr. Erickson COVID-19 Briefing.” 23 ABC News, April 22, 2020. https://news.yahoo.com/dr-erickson-covid-19-briefing-231814425.html.
 Gearty, Robert. “Colorado Amends Coronavirus Death Count – Says Fewer Have Died of COVID-19 Than Previously Reported.” Fox News, May 15, 2020. https://www.foxnews.com/us/colorado-lowers-coronavirus-death-count.
 Times News Staff. “Pennsylvania Dials Back COVID-19 Death Toll by 201.” Erie Times News, April 23, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/pennsylvania-dials-back-covid-19-death-toll-by-201/ar-BB136VE5.
 Ingraham, Laura. “Dr. Jensen Calls out ‘Ridiculous’ CDC Guidelines for Coronavirus-Related Deaths.” Fox News, April 9, 2020. https://news.yahoo.com/dr-jensen-calls-ridiculous-guidelines-165248230.html