Sitting here in my mountain home on a Sunday morning – when I would normally be in my pulpit – contemplating the current situation and wondering, “what can I add to the discussion of COVID-19 and the Christian perspective?” I seriously doubt that there is much if anything that I can say that hasn’t already been said, but since when has that ever stopped a preacher?
I just started listing some thoughts as they came to me and I thought some might be helped as they process the COVID-19 health crisis.
All things are held together by Christ – He is the controller of all things. Pandemics, wars, disasters, personal tragedies, and all manner of crises are in some way completely within the “big picture” plan of God.
Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
God is omniscient and omnipotent – God is not unmindful of our circumstances and He is in position to work in them and through them.
Genesis 16:13 So she called the LORD who spoke to her: The God Who Sees, for she said, “In this place, have I actually seen the One who sees me?”
Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?
Prayer changes things – That is why we are directed to pray by the Scriptures. Jesus time and again is seen in prayer and He teaches His disciples of all the centuries to pray as well.
Luke 18:1-6 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.
3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'”
6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
1Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,
While we are exhorted to pray (in accordance with the will of God as in 1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.) we soon discover that our prayers are not always answered with the answer we want. I found the comments of Dr. Grant Osborne to be helpful. I share them with you.
Let me give a personal example. I have had chronic asthma virtually since I was born (I had my first attack when I was eight days old). I spent two childhood summers inside because my doctor (erroneously) told me I could not play outside. I have prayed all my life for healing, and some real prayer warriors have also prayed for me. God has never healed my asthma, and at this very moment I am on a two-week heavy dosage of prednisone for a severe attack. I still pray for healing (with only a grain of mustard seed faith!) but know that this has all been God’s will and that I will only understand what it has contributed to who I am and what I have become when I get to heaven. I do know that God’s will has been done and (by faith) that it has all been for the best. So Christ’s Gethsemane prayer (Mk 14:36 and parallels) is the model for all our petitions: “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you.… Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
All things have a purpose within the micro and macro plan of God – The events of this life work in such a way that we are in the process of being conformed to the image of Christ and delivered into full glory as perfectly completed beings in the future. We cannot know what will transpire tomorrow in our earthly lives, but we can be absolutely assured that God knows and is not taken by surprise at anything.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This life is not all there is – We are understandably absorbed with our physical existence since we live in a material world in physical bodies. We should not, however, live as though there was no eternity. The Scripture urges us to view this life from an eternal perspective. To consider our current situation from the view of eternity we might say with Paul…
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
There is, no doubt, more that could be said and if the 24-hour cable news channels have anything to say about it, more and more and more…will be said. So why not add your thoughts. Take a few minutes with your Bible and jot down your thoughts. You don’t have to publish them anywhere unless you want to. The process may be very helpful for you and for others. If you like you can share them with me by email or on the Facebook page of Forest Ranch Baptist Church. I several points of contact through the Joshua Institute or the Church. Maybe I’ll hear from some who read this. Until then, “Think on these things.”
 Grant R. Osborne, Romans, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 217.