The following is a brief, yet honest conversation I had with LIFE founder Scott Jackson the other day. Both of us are trying to better understand the Coronavirus as Christians.
SJ: David, I have a spiritual question about COVID for you.
DM: Hit me.
SJ: Ok.... When I’m told to “trust in God he has it under control” - what does that mean? Other than the obvious “when Believers die we go to heaven” that’s great- but what is the answer for a Christian today? Right now?
DM: I would answer this question from two perspectives:
One, we can trust in God in the midst of COVID because we already have everything we need in Him. David says in Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing." The Psalmist says in another place that he who trusts in the Lord lacks no good thing (Psa. 34:10). The Apostle Paul said that he found the secret of the contentment, namely, trusting in God (Phi. 4:11). For this reason, since we have such abundance in God, we should be overflowing and even wanting to serve others during this pandemic.
Secondly, we can know in God is in control during COVID because nothing can separate us from his love - not a worldwide disease or the repercussions that this has for our day-to-day life. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I think the key in this passage is the present and the future. God assures us both at this point in time and for whatever the perceivable future is that His love cannot be cut off from us.
And, to tie a bow on this, the COVID-19 pandemic reveals all the more how much greater God's love - that we won't be separated from, that we can trust in - is than life itself (Psa. 63:3). It seems as if right now the pleasures of this life have been restricted in a way that we know God's love never will be.
SJ: I already know we have God’s love. What should we be thinking in ways of coping?
DM: I think we're all going to be thinking different things. Ultimately, I think we should be thinking of the future hope we have with Jesus when there will be no more pain, and no more diseases and that we should be even more excited for his promise to return and make all things new.
On a more practical level, I think we should be letting the Psalms direct us as we reconcile feelings of lacking purpose, dealing with bouts of anxiety etc. As the late preacher Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones advised, we should preach to ourselves more than we listen to ourselves. This doesn't mean that we neglect these feelings that we're experiencing, we address them, but we do so by running them against God's promises, like the self-talk in this refrain:
"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God" (Psa. 42:5).
SJ: Ok, thanks.