All of us have been affected by Corona Virus in one way or another. Schools closed, job and business losses, pay cuts, suffering from the disease itself, quarantine, different working schedules, and some have suffered death. The big question, is where is God? Is God aware that humanity is in trouble? If he is aware, what is he doing about it? How many of us feel like getting into his cabinet and advising him?
What the world is going through is known as adversity. These are difficult and unpleasant days in many ways. Generally, adversities result from poor choices, schemes of other men, and natural calamities for which man has nothing to do with. These three are all a reflection of the effect of sin and the curse thereof. “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also...” (Romans 8:22-23). Therefore, when these things happen, regardless of the source, we all “groan and travail in pain.” We (whom he loves, who belong to him, who are called according to his purposes), together with the whole creation long for the deliverance “from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).
God is Sovereign- He has absolute power, supreme authority, absolute control, incontestable right. He is independent of anything and anyone, he is without external influence, and subject to no one! He is sovereign and good!
To the Israelites under the dominion of the superpower of those days- the Babylonians, God needed to remind them that He is the Supreme God. Therefore He employed several images to illustrate His sovereignty.
“To whom will you compare me? or who is my equal? ... Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? [Jehova] brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” Isaiah 40:25-26 NIV.
[Jehova] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught, and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing (Isaiah 40:22-23 NIV).
In moments of adversity, whether caused by poor choices or human conspiracies or natural calamities, one may imagine that God is watching powerlessly. However, we need to remember, that even the corruption (the loss of meaning and value, the vanity, the decay) of this world was ordained by him, and eventually serves his purposes. “For creation was condemned to (futility), lose its purpose...because God willed it to be so” (Romans 8:20 GNB). We know therefore, that adversities eventually play into the purposes of the Sovereign God. It is easy to see the mighty Pharaoh and his system, ordering the killing of the Hebrew boys, but right under his nose, Moses is being raised by his daughter (Exodus 1-2). It is easy to see the brothers of Joseph conspiring and succeeding to sell their brother Joseph and the subsequent cover up! But right there, they played into the plans of God for Joseph to become a governor in Egypt. Joseph at the end of it said, “Now do not be upset with yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people’s lives.” What about when it does not end up happily like that of Joseph? When adversity results in death? Even death, (which is part of the decay of creation ordained by God) serves God’s eternal purposes.
Jesus died, in the hands of evil men. But this is how Peter interprets it, “Herod and Pontius Pilate along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel (did) whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:28). But “God raised him up...because it was not possible for him to be held by (death). (Acts 2:24). For them that He loves, even death, serves his Sovereign purposes. It plays into the purposes of God.
Therefore, in the face of Corona Virus and the Covid 19 disease:
1. We can have peace. “Tell the righteous, it shall be well with them” (Isaiah 3:10).
2. We can forgive, especially when adversity is caused by other people- like Joseph.
3. We can focus on the Great Commission. Peter, after showing the Jews that Jesus’ death was occasioned by God’s Sovereign purpose, he urged them, “Repent therefore, and turn back (to God) that your sins may be blotted out...” (Acts 3:19).
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