Founder and teacher of DesiringGod Ministries, John Piper, offers his wise counsel for Christians on what to make of the coronavirus in an Ask Pastor John episode from last week.
If/when the coronavirus grows and gets worse in our nation (now having two recorded deaths and many more cases) as Christians let’s put our hooks into the foundation of who our God is. Pastor John Piper gives us four realities:
- Suffering, Corruption, and Futility of this world, on this side of heaven’s door, is to be expected. When sin entered the world through the fall of Adam and Eve there were consequences and God is sovereign and has ordained these experiences. Romans 8:20-23
- Sometimes God uses sickness as a mercy to his people. It can act as a purifying and rescuing judgment, which is not condemnation, but an act of mercy fro his saving purposes. 1 Corinthians 11:29-32
- Sickness can also be an act of particular judgment for those who reject God by giving themselves over to sin. Piper gives two examples one from Acts 12 with Herod the king being struck down by an angel because he did not give God the glory. The other from Romans 1:27 where men had exchanged natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another. They received the due penalty for their error.
- All-natural disasters are a thunderclap of God’s mercy. This is rooted in Luke 13:1-5 where a tower had fallen and killed eighteen bystanders. The crowds came to Jesus and asked what he made of this. Jesus’s answer is powerful in Luke 13:4-5 where he shifts the focus from the bystanders who were killed to the ones who saw it and calls them to repentance.
Now, that’s the message of Jesus to the world at this moment in history, under the coronavirus — a message to every single human being. Me, and you, Tony, and everybody who’s listening, and every ruler on the planet, every person who hears about this, is receiving a thunderclap message of God, saying, “Repent.” (And I think the Chinese authorities should especially pay attention, who have recently — and I just read another article yesterday — become so increasingly harsh and repressive against the followers of Christ.) Repent and seek God’s mercy to bring your lives — our lives — into alignment with his infinite worth.John Piper