God Hasn't Changed in the Pandemic
by Gini Crawford, MSW
I am sitting here in the early morning asking God, "What should I write concerning the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic?" Frankly, I have thought maybe nothing, since there already are many encouraging devotions and sermons out there. As I started seeking God about what, if anything, to write, the sky lit up in pinks and oranges, God's unchanging nature was written in the sunrise speaking to me. It was such a quick answer to my prayer, I was shocked. Yes, God's intimate presence still surprises with how alive He is to me. He does speak to me often through His quiet voice from His Word, but this morning He literally painted a picture for me to answer me. Very amazing!
Who God is never changes, even in a pandemic
Through God's perfectly timed sunrise, I understood what He wanted me to write. He was saying, "Tell them that I never change! I remain faithful. Just as the sunrise comes up every morning without fail, and the day becomes night without fail, I will faithfully get the world through this Pandemic." God will be with the world and everyone in it, even the people that don't know Him, faithfully through this awful health crisis.
God is faithful... / For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness. 1 Corinthians 1:9a; Psalm 33:4 NASB®
Who God is will never change. He is always: All-powerful, the source of life, sovereign, holy, righteous, just, merciful, all-good, patient, full of grace, faithful, all-knowing, all-wise, always with you, all-seeing, all-hearing, kind, forgiving, and of course all-loving. This Pandemic will get worse before it gets better, but remember, God is the same no matter how bad it gets. I guarantee He will be found in the midst of all the suffering and struggles - providing, protecting, and guiding you and whoever else will call upon Him. God hasn't forgotten us! Read Psalm 4:1, 4-8, 86:1-13, Jeremiah 33:2-3; Philippians 4:5-7, 11-13.
For I, the LORD, do not change... / ...God is not a man that He should change His mind. / Who is a God like You ... He delights in unchanging love. / Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever./ The Lord says ... "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me." Malachi 3:6a, 1 Samuel 15:29b, Micah 7:18, Hebrews 13:8, Isaiah 49:15-16 NASB®
God is good even in the hardest situations
Right now I would imagine very few of us are thinking what is happening is good. The world around us is full of troubles and worries, isn't it? Our grocery store shelves are empty, especially the toilet paper; all events, even weddings, need to be put on hold; businesses are dying, especially small ones, because they need to be closed; medical care is overwhelmed, so for those of us with preexisting conditions, it isn't easy; if someone has the virus, that in itself is frightening, and so on. Will our lives ever be the same again?
God tells us in His Word, the world is always changing, but He doesn't. He is working, even through this distressing health crisis, both for our good and for the good of others. The amazing thing about God working His goodness out is - He sees things from an eternal all-knowing perspective, and we don't. Nothing happens to us that God won't use in a beneficial way in the present, in our future and into our eternity. Read Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 6:23, 8:18, 28, 31-39. As the Apostle Paul who suffered a lot said in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18,
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB®
"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NASB®
You can trust God even when the going gets rough, because His good is being worked out in His plans for you. Trusting God leads to peace and strength when the world is in a pandemic (John 16:33).
God is sovereign even when the world is in crisis
God is sovereign, so couldn't He have stopped this pandemic disaster? Yes, for a simple answer, but not for the whole answer. Since God is sovereign, He is in control of all things. We can say, He is in the midst of everything - the good and the bad too - blessings and trials - failures as well as successes - health and sickness - and yes, even the Pandemic. There is no evil in God or from God, but in the same frame of mind, no evil can happen without God's permission. Yet, He promises to get us through every trial, tribulation and trauma in the best possible way for us. Go to Him in prayer. Look for His comfort and wisdom in His Word. Read Psalm 119:105; Romans 5:1-5; James 1:5.
You hear my voice in the morning; at sunrise I offer my prayer and wait for your answer. Psalm 5:3 (GNT)
You are not a God who is pleased with wrongdoing; you allow no evil in your presence. Psalm 5:4 (GNT)
For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires... Do not be deceived, my dear friends! Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning. James 1:13b-17 (GNT)
As you will see by reading Isaiah 40:10-31, God is the sovereign ruler over the whole universe. He created all things and easily controls them. However, God always rules with compassion.
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:10-31 (NIV)
Since God is in absolute control of all things, and always governs by love - you can trust Him to do exactly what you need. Trust in Him and He will guide you through all things - the good, bad and this pandemic. And He will give you the strength to handle it. Read Proverbs 3:5-8.
God's loving care is in the midst of the crisis
God is the God of love. His love is sacrificial towards us. He died for our sins on the cross so we could be eternally forgiven and live forever with Him if we choose to (John 3:16). 1 John 4:10 talks about this unselfish and unfailing love from God,
This is real love - not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10 (NLT)
If you look at the immense humanitarian effort taking place around the world, you see God's loving care especially from Christians, but also from everyone who does kind acts. We all are created in God's image, so we can say, all loving and kind acts are an arm of God's love and kindness.
God's love is in Italy right now through Samaritan's Purse Emergency Hospital. They are treating seriously ill coronavirus patients for free.
God's loving care is in every act of kindness during this health crisis: Doctors and nurses missing sleep to care for more people, people donating blood, people delivering their extra food to the less fortunate, people making face masks in their dining rooms, people re-tooling their businesses to fill a need, people walking a sick person's dog, people paying for their friend's rent, people buying take-out food when they'd rather eat in, churches having online services, stores offering free home delivery when they are struggling, people being kind to one another, people praying for people they don't know and so on.
... Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8:34-37 NASB®
God died so He could show His love for you, so of course He will be with you through the hardest and worst times in your life. Look for Him in the midst of your everyday activities, as well as your struggles from the coronavirus. He will be found!
"Am I a God who is near," declares the LORD, "And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?" declares the LORD. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:23-24 NASB®
You can absolutely place your hope in God, because He won't change His mind about His promises of hope for now, and for the future. He will always be Who He is! Seek Him. He wants to help you through the Pandemic. Read Psalm 91; Matthew 7:7-11.
I need to warn you, when you leave God out of this crisis, you leave out the One Who loves you, Who suffered for you, Who has the only words and actions that bring eternal life and everlasting hope and peace, and Who has the only power to enable you to endure for an eternal benefit.
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