Covid19 may somehow help many unsaved to come to Christ and therefore be a part of God's plan. Alternately, there may be other positive reasons for its presence that only God alone knows. Therefore, praying against it may not be in His will. How do we pray about this horrid virus?
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'Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:12-14).
Yes, God is sovereign, and nothing happens without His permissive will. God is also able to bring ultimate good out of even the worst circumstances. However, in this present age, we still live in a fallen world in which forces opposed to God are also very active, and circumstances can occur that are not in accordance with God's specific will, among which I would include the presence of communicable diseases. I would grant that a product of pandemics such as this may be the bringing of some people to repentance and faith, but I would be very hesitant in concluding that God allowed this particular pandemic for that purpose. The pandemic is causing much death and suffering that may involve or affect anyone. Also, it is taking the lives of people who have not yet been reached with the gospel. From that perspective, I would view it as perfectly proper for Christians to pray that it be alleviated, and to work in whatever way they can to bring about its eradication.
When we consider what God's will might be in relation to specific events in our world, like the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe it is important that we first remind ourselves what God's general will is, as revealed in the bible. 1. Jesus, as creator, expects every human being to obedient to his will, as revealed in the bible (Genesis 2 & 3); (Deut 28 - Blessings for Obedience); (Matt 12:36-37); (Rom 5:12-20); (Rom 14:12); (1 Pet 4:1-5) 2. Jesus, as redeemer, wants every human being to be saved from his judgment and eternal wrath (2 Pet 3:9); (John 3:16-18); (Rom 5:8) 3. Jesus, as king, expects his people to surrender to his authority, follow his leadership and live pure and holy lives (Matt 28:18-20); (Matt 10:5-42); (Luke 10:1-24); (2 Pet 3:11-14) Now that we know these broad theological truths about God's general will for all people, it can guide our understanding of what God wants to accomplish through specific events that take place in out lives. Here are some suggestions: 1. Pray for the salvation of everyone who does not have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:5) 2. Pray that the Lord will send workers into his fields to gather in the harvest (Matt 9:38) 3. Pray that people will forsake their idols and turn to the Lord in sincere and pure devotion (1 Thes 1:2-10) 4. Pray that the church of Jesus Christ will be prepared for his second coming (Rev 21:1-27) God often used calamity (like plagues) in the Old Testament to cause the nation of Israel, his chosen people, to turn away from their evil and wickedness and turn back to a sincere and pure devotion to God. God even used the warning of impending disaster to turn an entire city away from its evil and into an obedient and faith-filled relationship with God (Jonah 1:1; 3:1-10). God's specific will in the midst of any trial or test we may face, like this Covid-19 pandemic, will be unique for each person, but will always be in harmony with his general will revealed in the bible. God welcomes us to ask him to reveal his specific will for each of us, in the midst of a health crisis like this, and he will surely guide and direct us so we fulfill the good work that he is doing in our lives.
A pandemic that kills millions of people is not part of God's "plan." The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus comes that we may have the abundant life (Jn 10:10). God will shut up heaven, command the locust to eat all your harvest, and will send pestilence among people, but none of that can be called "God's plan." God's "plan" is that the people will humble themselves and pray, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, so He can then hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chr 7:13,14). The question here actually questions whether we're to pray that God will heal the world of this awful suffering and death. The thought goes something like this: Since this is happening, it must be "God's will" for millions of people to die, so that the level of our depravity will be undeniable, and the result will be en masse repentance. So praying that God will remove this enemy of life from our midst is going against the will of God... I get dizzy reading that back to myself. It's very hard to believe that the bible can be so misunderstood, that Jesus can be thought of in that way. He came to us in person, fed the hungry, healed the sick, restored lame limbs, He even raised the dead. Besides all that, He preached a gospel of peace and good will among men FROM GOD (Lk 2:14). For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness (of God) to dwell in Jesus, and through Jesus, to reconcile all things (us) to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him.. whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col 1:19,20). We have peace with God. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1). Are people saved by going through trials and troubles? No! The (preaching of the) gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes the good news (gospel)... (Rom 1:16) And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mk 16:15). People don't get saved because of fear of dying, nor from fear of an eternal place of conscious endless suffering after dying. You must be born again. That which is born of flesh is (becomes) flesh. That which is born of Spirit is (becomes) spirit (Jn 3:6). Nothing is born from suffering or fear. God does not give us a spirit of fear. It wouldn't do us any good for what He gave/ gives us to do. The gospel is so overlooked by even the mainstream church. The church tries all kinds of different things to attract people to (here it is) THE CHURCH. Some believe that if you can get people interested in the church you might be able to get them interested in a relationship with Jesus. I won't offer an opinion on that idea. I think the bible gives answers. I think it tries to elevate the gospel in the mind of believers. Galatians 3:8 says, "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel BEFOREHAND to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU." Did we hear that? That text says Jesus,The Scripture, preached the gospel to Abraham. Abraham's faith was due to the preaching of the good news, the same way genuine faith is produced now. Faith in Jesus doesn't develop from getting healed of a sickness or a disease. We don't get it from having either success or failure. These circumstances are stepping stones in our lives that can bring us to a place of thoughtful meditation. That's all they are. THEN AFTER THAT, we should pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). ABOUT EVERYTHING!
God did a risky thing when He created us. Out of His great love for us He didn't create robots who expressed love toward Him Him but instead He gave us a free will and we chose to disobey and do our own thing. This resulted in death and suffering in this now fallen world. None the less God rescued us through Calvary and guided our paths into truth through His Holy Spirit. The OT is full of God's rescue stories from disasters caused by a very disobedient humanity. This covid event is another disaster through which God will not only rescue us but also teach us valuable lessons the most important one, for a start, being that we should turn away from our many Godless ways and turn back to Him. The way back is to pray for revival in human hearts everywhere (2 Chronicles 7:14).
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