Coronavirus and Christ (Day 3)
God Will Decide
People would often ask me before my cancer diagnosis, “How’s your health?” And I would answer, “Fine.”
I don’t answer that way anymore. I say, “I feel fine.” There’s a difference.
The day before I went for that annual prostate exam, I felt fine. The day after, I was told I had cancer. In other words, I was not fine. So even as I write these words, I do not know if I am fine. I feel fine. Way better than I deserve. For all I know, I have cancer right now. Or perhaps a blood clot. Or the coronavirus.
What’s the point? The point is this: the ultimate reason we ought not to say, “I am fine,” is that God alone knows and decides if you are fine—now. To say, “I am fine,” when you don’t know if you are fine, and you don’t control if you are fine, is like saying, “Tomorrow, I will go to Chicago and do business there,” when you have no idea if you will even be alive tomorrow, let alone doing business in Chicago.
Here’s what the Bible says about a sentence like that:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13–15)
The Rock I stand on (and want you to stand on) is the Rock of God’s action in the world now, and forever. “If the Lord wills,” the Bible says, “we will live.” That’s about as involved now as you can get. Not just, “Whether you live or die, you will be with God,” but also, “God will decide if you live or die—now.”
And not just live or die. He’s even more involved than that. “If the Lord wills, we will . . . do this or that.” Nothing is excluded from “this or that.” He is totally involved. Totally. This health, or that sickness. This economic collapse, or that recovery. This breath, or not.
Which means God, in effect, is saying to us in this crisis, “Fear not. Whether you live or die, you will be with me. And in the meantime, while you live, nothing will happen to you—nothing!—that I do not appoint. If I decide, you will live. If I decide, you will die. And until you die at my decision, I will decide if you do this or that. Get to work.”
This is my Rock—for today, tomorrow, and eternity.
These short readings are my invitation for you to join me on the solid Rock, Jesus Christ. What that means will, I hope, become clear.
My aim is to show why God in Christ is the Rock at this moment in history—in this pandemic of the coronavirus—and what it is like to stand on his mighty love.