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The Sovereignty of God and COVID 19

In this “unprecedented time”, when lives are being lost and the world is in turmoil because of the
COVID 19 virus, how are we as Christians to think and respond to this crisis? The answer is to do
what we should already be doing, look to God’s Word and try to understand the Sovereignty of God
even in times such as this. The Westminster Confession of Faith, which was drawn up in 1646 by
the Westminster Assembly and is a confession of the Church of England, states that ‘God is a Spirit,
in and of Himself infinite in being,glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal,
Unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most-wise,
most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and
truth.” In other words, God is Sovereign and rules over the whole of creation. The Sovereignty of
God is something Christians tend to take for granted until we see things occurring that cause us to
look heavenward and ask, “why, LORD?” In the book of Isaiah 45:6-7, God says this of Himself
through the prophet, “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 these things.” The word ‘calamity’ here
must be understood in context of the whole chapter. This whole prophecy is directly aimed at Cyrus
the king of Persia and is in context of his downfall which was brought about by the will of God, and
the will of God alone. The Hebrew word for calamity is ‘ra’ and can also mean ‘evil’ or anything bad
in general but we must not make the mistake of thinking God is the author of such events. To think
like this is blasphemy of the highest order and it is this way of thinking that Jesus spoke about when
He said, “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever
blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but
is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29). This is a direct response from Jesus when He is accused
of being possessed by Beezlebul (Vs.22). As politicians are fond of saying, “let me be clear on this”
God is not the author of sin, that is Satan’s domain. So then, what are we to make of this? God will
allow ‘calamity’ or evil to bring about the purposes of His divine will. This is evident throughout the
Scripture when we read the life narratives of people like Joseph, Job, and the apostles etc. Paul also
attests to this in Romans 8:28, when he writes, ‘And we know that for those who love God all things
work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’
So in light of overwhelming Scriptural support we must conclude that even in this climate of what
is rightly described as “unprecedented times”, we must lean on God like never before to try and
understand His will for us at this time. That is not to say that we can be foolish and put ourselves or
loved ones in danger, no, we must be wise and considerate to our friends and neighbours. While the
current mandate is to self isolate and “social distancing”, we can join together in prayer and ‘self
studying’ in order to petition God for a way to serve Him in this time that He has allowed us to
experience.
While COVID 19 is a global threat as children of the Sovereign God of all Creation. We may be
confined to our homes but God is not confined to anything. Let us continue to worship and praise
our glorious Saviour and redeemer. It is crucial at this time that we do not neglect our private
worship and prayers.
Renowned composer Johan Sebastian bach would often sign his works with the initials SDG which
stands for, soli Deo Gloria, to God alone be the glory. Let us take a leaf from his book and rededicate
ourselves to God at this time as we try to understand and make sense of what God is doing
and bring Him all the glory remembering that whatever happens in this world God is still Sovereign
over His Creation.
Amen