Written by: Hermien Van Den Bergh
Article source: JOY! Magazine

This year will always be remembered as the year of coronavirus, and our modus operandi as travelling missionaries has changed drastically. On the day of Pentecost, instead of being in Malawi on a mission, I delivered an online sermon from the banks of the Limpopo river to a global audience. Preparing for the sermon I looked for a message within the mess that the world is facing now. It struck me that the word ‘corona’ means crown, which in this case refers to a thorny crown. It reminded me of the attitude with which humanity at large is ruling our planet, which causes untold damage and suffering to creation. And the virus, like sin, is evil, invisible, contagious, and lethal – affecting everything.

Animals groaning
The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:19-22 that animals are groaning in pain, waiting earnestly for the children of God to act on their behalf. The groaning of creation is everywhere, and according to Jeremiah 12:4 it results from the wickedness of man.

Royal crown
On the Cross, Jesus reconciled not only humanity to Himself, but all of creation. The crown of thorns that He wore was in exchange for a royal crown, fitting for God’s children to reign as kings over all His creation. This privilege comes with freedom and great responsibility (Rom 5:17 Col 1:2). Romans 8:19 says; “For creation waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].” The verse indicates that a sign of spiritual maturity is when royal sons and daughters hearken to the cry of animal suffering on earth.

God’s heart is for His animals too
God cares deeply about His creation. As much as He knows when a human hair falls to the ground, He knows when a little bird falls to the ground too. Nothing escapes His notice. Some people may think that they can get away with careless and cruel behaviour towards animals, but they won’t. There are consequences for actions based on the law of sowing and reaping. We need to learn to balance our thinking and care for God’s creation beyond our selfish needs. Let us intentionally stop animal suffering, which is a fitting gesture for a mature son and daughter of the King!

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