There is something in men and women that desires control over our circumstances. We don’t want to be manipulated, we want freedom to forge our own destiny. Christians understand that this desire can be traced all the way back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve made a conscious choice to rebel. In a sense, our first parents said to God, “not your will but mine be done.”
But when we encounter a natural disaster or a rampaging disease, our illusion of control is temporarily stripped away. In the case of COVID-19, our current pandemic, we fight an enemy that we can’t even see.
Certainly, we must do everything we can to stop the spread of this disease. We need to exercise our creativity to find a cure and heal those who have been infected. Our mandate to do this can be traced to creation, when God tasked us with subduing the earth.
But, as Christians, we need to do these things with the reminder that we are under-creators, we are to be in submission to the ultimate Creator, God.
My prayer in response to the COVID-19 virus is two-fold. First, I pray that the spread of this horrible disease is stopped quickly and that we can prevent further loss of life.
The second part of my prayer is that we learn from this that while we have some control as part of our mandate to subdue the earth, we do not have complete or ultimate control. I pray that many will turn back to our creator in acknowledgment that only He brings order out of the chaos.
None of us know how this disease will impact us individually or as a society. All we know for sure is that for some amount of time, we cannot go about doing the things we were doing only a month ago. Our lives have been disrupted and real people will be going through real pain as a result.
But my hope is that in our pain and as a result of the disruption, we turn to our Heavenly Father as the ultimate source of comfort. The words of the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism come to mind and I will close with them:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?Copied from The Reformed Church in Ameria web site.
A. That I am not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death —to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.