It seems any time there are calamities like the Australian bush fires, hurricanes, tornadoes or the current coronavirus, the question comes up, “Where is God in all this?” or “Does God have anything to do with this?”
These things are meant to raise these kinds of questions. What is disappointing to me are the answers that are often given by religious people who are interviewed. Nature may be blamed. Maybe Satan had something to do with it. Of course, we can always blame politicians from the other party.
It seems very few are giving biblical answers. There is a tendency to soft-pedal God’s involvement, kind of apologizing for God. God doesn’t need our excuses.
There is some truth in answers like these, but what about God? Does God have anything to do with these calamities?
Who controls what happens in this world where so much seems to go wrong? One thing is sure. We are not in control.
We read in Ephesians 1:11 that God, “Works all things according to the counsel of his will.” Notice “all things.”
This is an echo of Job in his confession to God of his misunderstanding of God’s providence in his life: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:2,3)
Isaiah 46:9,10: “... for I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purposes.’ “
Psalm 135:6: “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.”
After God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan king of the Babylonian empire confessed, “... for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ ... for all his works are righteous and his ways are just ...” (Daniel 4:34,35,37)
But do all these texts have anything to do with things like the coronavirus?
In Moses’ song, he gives this word from the Lord, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no God besides me; I kill and I make alive: I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”
In Isaiah 45 after showing how he would raise up Cyrus about 170 years later to send the Jews back to Jerusalem, the Lord says, “I am the Lord and there is no other; I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all those things.” (Isaiah 45:6,7)
In Amos 3:6 we read, “Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?” Is this only true of cities? The Bible teaches us that God works all things according to his counsel, his plan.
What David wrote about himself is true of everyone. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance, in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
It is a great comfort to a Christian to know this. Nothing in our lives is unknown to God. He has planned out every day of our lives. God alone knows how many days we have here on earth. We are all powerless to shorten or lengthen the days God has determined for us.
But there is even more. “And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
In these seemingly uncertain times that is a sure promise that those who love God may always trust. Notice the promise is given to those who love God. God knows who loves him and who doesn’t. How sure are you that you love God?
Charles Fitzpatrick is a retired pastor from Reibers Reformed Baptist Church near Shermans Dale.
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