Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. (Psalm 5:11)
To understand God’s protection, we need to understand God. It can certainly seem like God has not protected us at a time when our lives have been tipped upside down by the coronavirus. We are all under a virtual house arrest in order to slow the spread of this virus, and many are starting to feel a little stir-crazy! How can this possibly be God’s “protection”?
First, we must understand what God has promised to protect us from and what He has not promised to protect us from. God promised to protect us from the evil one, not evil itself. In other words, on this side of the grave, God has promised to protect us from the penalty of our sin, but not the presence of it.
Jesus endured the penalty for our sins on the cross. He drank the cup of God’s wrath and died in our place. And for all those who place their trust in His atoning death alone for their salvation, ultimate spiritual protection is assured. Once we are saved, by grace through faith, we are always saved. No one and nothing can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:29). Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
And yet, even in our saved state, we will still face storms, suffering, and sorrow. Job was saved and he suffered. John the Baptist was saved and he suffered. Paul was saved and he suffered. Jesus Himself is the Savior and He suffered unimaginably!
The presence of this pandemic in the present day is a result of the sin that has stained this world. When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, everything fell with them. Everything in this world is broken, and thus we all face sickness and disease; one day we will all go the way of the grave. God may or may not protect us from this coronavirus. But He has already protected us for all eternity from the sin virus through the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior.
Should we pray for protection from this virus? Absolutely! Should we play our part in slowing its spread? Unquestionably! Should we pray for healing for those who are affected? Unconditionally! But through it all, we must remember that God is more concerned about our character than our comfort. He is conforming us into the image and likeness of His beloved Son Jesus by any means necessary, and those means include COVID-19.
Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples when they asked why a man was born blind? The disciples assumed that the man’s disability was the result of some sin in his own life, or perhaps that God had visited the sins of the man’s parents upon him. The disciples rightly understood the sovereignty of God over all things, but they totally misunderstood His purposes. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus corrected them, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:3).
This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have ever seen, but let us not give in to discouragement or despair! Rather let us pray that the work of God will be displayed in our lives, even as they are upended by this virus.
You are in my prayers and in my heart.
Purpose and Passion,