Comfort in the Coronavirus Crisis - Part I: The Sovereign God Who is in Control
The coronavirus crisis has infected us with a myriad of what if questions. What if my elderly parents contract the disease? What if my high-risk wife gets sick? What if my kids catch it? What if I lose my job? What if I have to close my business and claim bankruptcy? What if a loved one dies? What if I die?
And these what ifs lead to how questions. How can I care for my parents? How will I take care of the kids if my wife gets sick? How will I be able to cope with my child having the virus? How will my family financially weather the storm? How will I be able to say goodbye to a dying loved one while in isolation? How will my family manage without me if I die?
These questions crash upon us like a tidal wave, engulfing us in a sea of fear, worry, and stress. They are not far-out, hypothetical situations. They are real questions about real situations that can happen to any one of us (and tragically have happened to some already).
This only ratchets up the paranoia and anxiety. We as Christians are not immune to the coronavirus. The infection rate for Christians and their families is the same as for non-Christians.
So how does our faith in God give us comfort during this unsettling, fear-filled time? In this two-part post, we will be looking at how God offers us comfort in the midst of calamity. In this post, we will see that we find comfort in the sovereign God who is in control. And in my next blog, we will consider how we have comfort in knowing that God is here with us.
Imagine If God Was Not in Control
Before we consider how the sovereignty of God gives us comfort, let’s first consider the alternative. What if the coronavirus was outside of God’s control? Or more broadly: What if there were forces not under God’s authority?
A reality in which these things were true would be truly unsettling and terrifying. It would mean that God would be powerless to do anything to truly protect His people and creation. There would be no assurance that things will turn out for our good.
And above all, if there were forces outside of God’s control, then how could we continue to call Him God? He would no longer be the all-powerful, sovereign Creator and Ruler of the cosmos.
But God Is in Control
Praise the Lord that this is not true! Our God is the sovereign one who is in control of all things. Not some things. Not most things. All things.
The author of Hebrews says, “In these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:2-3). The world—and everything in it—was created through Christ and He sustains it by the word of His power.
Similarly, Paul writes, “For by [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). All things were created by Christ, through Christ, and for Christ. And everything is held together in Him.
Every planet would fall from orbit. The sun would stop shining. The earth would cease to turn on its axis. Gravity would stop working. Blood would not course through your veins. Your heart would stop beating. The synapses in your brain would cease firing. The molecules in the air would no longer function. Electrons would stop revolving. All things would fall apart and cease to exist—if Christ were not holding all things together (c.f. Job 34:14-15).
God Works All Things According to His Will
But the sovereignty of God does not only mean that He preserves all things together. God is sovereign in that He has authority over all things.
The coronavirus did not show up unexpectedly. God did not have to scramble to figure out how to preserve and sustain His creation. No, God “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). All things. He uses the coronavirus according to the counsel of His will. He used Superstorm Sandy according to the counsel of His will. He used the terrorist attacks on 9/11 according to the counsel of His will. Every event in history, however inconsequential it might be, God is using according to the counsel of His will.
There is not one planet, person, plant, or particle that is not under the authority of God. Every drop of rain, every tree that falls, every whale that swims, every sparrow that flies, every mosquito that bites, every blade of grass that grows, every egg that is fertilized, every virus molecule that infects, every movement of a subatomic particle are all divinely directed by the Lord God Almighty to accomplish His good purposes.
There is not one thing that exists that is not sustained by and controlled by the sovereign God of the universe.
So, when we are suffocated by the what if and how questions surrounding the coronavirus crisis, we ask ourselves this question instead: Is God in control? And the answer is: Yes, God sustains all things and has authority over all things. We find great comfort from this in the midst of hardship. He created the calamity and is directing it to accomplish His purposes. We do not need to fear that something will happen outside of His sovereign control.
But that’s not the only question we must ask. In the midst of such pain, we also ask ourselves Is God good? And the Bible is clear: Yes, God is good (Luke 18:19; Psalm 34:8). Everything that God does is good and is worthy of praise (Psalm 104). If God were powerful yet evil, then indeed we would despair because God could act maliciously towards us. He could direct all things according to the counsel of His will in order to harm us. But God is good. All that He does—including the things that happen to us—is good. God sovereignly sustains all things and directs all things according to His good purposes. And in that we can find comfort.
So next time you find yourself in the midst of despair, fear, or hopelessness—whether from the coronavirus or any other hardship—ask yourself those two questions. Remind yourself the source of your comfort: God is in control and God is good.
The God Who Is There
But we don’t only have a God who is in control. We have a God who is here with us. Next time, we will take a look at the comfort we receive from trusting in the God who is with us in our storms.
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