The Virus and God 1

The news on the televisions and newspapers are full of stories on COVID-19. Businesses are closed and churches are closed as well. All people can seemingly talk about is the spread of the virus and who is to be blamed for it. While the virus should not be sneered at, if it truly is in the hands of an intelligent agent who has all power over it and all things, then perhaps we should at least be as concerned about the One who has this virus in His hands and does with it as He pleases. God is sovereign over each and every thing.

If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it? Amos 3:6

The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. Isaiah 45:7

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know– 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (Acts 2:22-23)

Luke 13:1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

We should not be timid about knowing that the ultimate sovereign is over this virus. It can go no further than what pleases Him and it cannot do any less than what pleases Him. Is one nation worse than another? We can tell from the words of Jesus in Luke 13 that this is not always the case. Is one person more wicked than another when s/he is struck with the disease or dies because of the disease? No, this is in the hands of God. Should true believers not use things to kill germs on their hands or avoid large gatherings? No, this does not mean that. It simply means that despite our best efforts God will bring this to those whom He pleases and protect those whom He pleases so when we use soap or antibacterial wipes, we are to look to Him in all of this.

Now while we are to use outward things to kill germs, we should beware that the most serious issue is with our hearts. The fact that COVID-19 has arrived in our land does not negate that the Greatest Commandment which is still to love God with all of our being. We are still to rest in Christ as Lord of all. We are still commanded to be anxious for nothing. We are still commanded to rejoice in the Lord. Why are we commanded to be anxious for nothing? It is because the Lord is near and because the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. But of course that is for true believers and not just those who make a religious profession. It is in Christ that a person has his or her heart and mind guarded with the peace of God.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).

Without arguing about the dangers of the virus or any actions we are to take toward it, a greater danger lurks. That greater danger is in trusting things rather than God. Should we have more fear of the virus or of the God who has the virus in His hands to do with as He pleases? Should we be more concerned with our physical well-being in this time or of our spiritual state? Can this virus jump out of the hands of the sovereign God and be out of His control even for one moment? Can this virus do anything apart from the will of the one and only sovereign God? In Isaiah 40 we are told of the greatness of God as compared with creation: “All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless” (v. 17).
This virus and all others are as nothing before Him and all of them together are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. We are not in the hands of an infinite virus; we are in the hands of a sovereign God who is infinite. The virus can do no more than kill us, so we are not to fear it (in this sense) but we are to fear Him who can cast us into hell both body and soul (Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:5). While the news is full of stories about how awful this virus is and how much damage it can do, it is ignoring the real truth behind the virus. It is also ignoring the real threat to every human being.

When the pagan people and king of Nineveh (in Jonah) heard that judgment was coming upon them, they sought the LORD concerning the calamity that was coming. The king decreed that man and beast not eat and drink and instead they were to seek God. While fasting may not be the best for all, seeking the LORD is best for all. But we must always remember that we cannot come to God unless we go to Him through Christ and by grace. We are to go to the throne of grace to seek grace. Coming to God in these times does not excuse us from loving Him more than we love our health and safety. This is to say that we cannot seek Him truly apart from His giving us grace to do so. We cannot love Him truly apart from His shedding that love abroad in our hearts. We cannot be before Him without being anxious unless He gives us hearts that rest in Christ alone and His sovereign hand alone.

Our bodies and our souls are always in complete dependence upon Him whether we recognize it or not. We must seek Him for all things out of love for Him and His glory, yet we must seek those things from His hand and knowing that they come by grace alone. We must seek Him for true humility and the emptying of self and pride from our hearts. A great trial has come upon us and it should not drive us away from resting in Him alone, but should drive us to Him for the grace to rest in Him alone. Our hopes must not be in vaccinations, inoculations, and cures for the disease; but instead our hope is to be in Him and Him alone. He alone can work those things in the hearts of scientists and doctors but He can also blind them to those things. Truly we are in His hands and why should we want to be anywhere else? We are sheep to be slaughtered if He is pleased to do so, but we also know that to be absent from the body is to be with Christ. May He grant us a true seeking of Him and a true spiritual awakening during this time.

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