Wednesday, March 04, 2020

COVID-19 and Deadly Storms: A Christian's Prayer, Actions, Attitude, and Feelings

We have had two sad and heart wrenching stories dominating our news cycles recently.

As a Nashville resident for 7 years, I was deeply impacted by the video and photos from the tornado that struck the east side of the city this week. And equally concerned about the spread of this highly infectious virus.

The Nashville tornado has seemed to rally a more unified response at the moment and I doubt few people are happy that the coronavirus has resulted in partisan bickering.

Our country has DEEP divisions that have been growing. These are massive fault lines that ever grow into a feud and could be seeds of civil war if we leave them unchecked.

And no feud ends well.... the tragedy between the Caplets and Montages contains the famous line from Mercutio: "A pox on both your houses."

With no pun intended.... we need to carefully consider a proper response and community call to address this crisis, and ANY such crisis that threatens life and the state of our union.

APOCALYPTIC ALLUSION- The signs are in place.... are We READY?

As a Christian, I must bring us first to God's Word, that gives us multiple layers of information to encourage and inspire our approach and actions.

When we read the words of Christ in Matthew 24 and study the writings of John in Revelations, we see numerous 'signs' or possibly 'reminders' that Christ is returning. I have often seen the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgements is Revelation as 'pre-judgement judgement and pre-wrath wrath' that grow and rescind like the 'birth pains' that Jesus refers to in the Olivet Discourse.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. [8] All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. ( Matthew 24:7–8 ESV) 

And any perusal of global media will show that the signs are there, and have always been there. It is a call to say... BE READY... BE ALERT.. SEEK THE LORD

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8 ESV)

This is my similar post on any large scale that captures our national attention:

God is never absent in a crisis like this global pestilence, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes.... indeed He is ever present in that chaos... and though it migrates within the properties of nature that He designed, it also is contained in the majestic control of His mighty hand.

AND  like most humans in that I don't understand that... and if I am honest I don't like that. But I am so thankful that God has many promises that we can cling to when life doesn't make sense or when we don't like it.

God is so patient as we cry out in misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.

But I am human, limited in understanding, I don't see events in the light of eternity.... so  I do say to God that what Paul says in Romans is true... but frustrating...

"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' [21] Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21 ESV)

So we pray for God's will and His mercy. We understand that this virus has wreaked havoc in many places and many calamities fall in different ways everyday. God's love stands true in the midst of any human condition. His  gracious offer of eternal salvation to all who call upon His name far outweighs even the darkest human story.

But the Bible also encourage us to pray... to wrestle with Him... to knock... to seek... to ask.... It encourages us to pray in faith and Jesus teaches us to pray in unity of numbers and perseverance.

And ultimately, we trust in every answer.... sometimes "Yes", sometimes "No", and sometimes "Not yet". We know that God's ways are not our ways and God's purposes are just and His acts are good.

We bow before Him as sinners. We come before Christ as a people who often ignore Him and cling to idols who offer nothing but lies.

And yet, God's  heart is still so full of compassion. He demonstrated Agape love in space, time, and history.

[7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8 ESV)


So Father, we cry out to You- the ONE WHO CAN turn the virus called 'Corona' and we ask that even as Your people pray, the efforts and conditions of healing will take hold. We lift up the victims in Nashville and ask for your people to run in and restore.

Father, if it be Your will to not relent in that way, or seem slow in Your healing- we know that You are gracious and loving. Your children know how to pray as Job prayed, "Though he slay me, I will hope in him" (Job 13:15 ESV)

We also pray Lord that You would move the hearts of Your people to rally to the needs of others. We thank You for 1st Responders and countless thousands of others who give cups of water and words of healing in Your Holy Name right in the darkest places of human suffering and infection.

Lord, when You allow grace... may many people recognize Your mercy and fall their knees in thanks. We know the skeptics will mock and jeer.... they will say that it is only soul-less 'science' and resist You in hardened rebellion.

But Lord, may they even see Your majesty and peace and patience and love while the door of mercy is still open.

So Lord, Your people pray and we wait. We are not helpless or hopeless. May we be found dressed- clothed in the righteousness of Jesus- ready to respond to Your call in the peace that passes all understanding and the power of Your Holy Spirit.

So thank You for even the privilege the pray... to ask that You move among us so powerfully that all the world may see Your ways and be amazed.

In The Name of The King of Kings and Lord of Lords... Jesus Christ.


How does one Biblically respond to a disaster?

#1 God is in control- He was not absent from the disease. The curse of sin and the righteous wrath of holiness is the fury of it. He is  the pilot of it. Nothing happens outside of His sovereignty.

#2 The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5). ANY tragedy represents judgement for some and graduation to heaven for others. See Jesus commentary in Luke 13 on human disaster. The question is always- "Am I ready for my death- Am I ready to meet God?"

#3 God is loving and compassionate. In the chaos is also God's love. It is the same love shown on the cross. Where was God when pestilence struck? He was in the same place as when His Son hung on the cross. He is in control and full of love.

#4 For the believer. tragedy is eventually turned to triumph. Rom, 8:28 promises that all things work for good. How can that be? The reaction to the tragedy shows God's truth. It shows mans depraved nature (Rom 3:23) in the looting and crime. It shows the existence of God in how we value life (we spend money and risk lives to save lives). It gives God's people a chance to show compassion (II Corin 1). It wakes us up from trivial lives of idolatry.

What is more comforting? The Corona virus with no God in control or the virus being used by God to fulfill His eternal purposes?

How you answer that question shows what risk you have taken for eternity.

See Joseph's faith in Genesis 50.

Psalm 74:9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. 10 Human opposition only enhances your glory, for you use it as a sword of judgment.

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