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The Present Crisis

Updated: May 25, 2020

By bro Peter Kwan

Fear and anxiety have been gripping the world with the coronavirus disease. The disease seems unforgiving and beyond our control, but we can take comfort in the fact that the LORD IS IN CONTROL.

Since the first sin committed by man (i.e. Adam), the world has been subjected to suffering, in forms such as natural disasters, diseases, wars and death. We read in Romans 8:22 (ESV): For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. In fact, there is one man in the Bible who experienced many adversities and many types of suffering. He is Job.

Job was blameless and upright. He feared God and shunned evil. The Lord said to Satan, "There is none like him on the earth." (Job 1:8) He was greatly blessed with a family of seven sons and three daughters, and with 7000 sheep, 3000 camel, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys. Satan appeared before God and attacked Job’s character: "Does Job fear God for no reason?" (1:9). Then, Satan asked God to stop protecting and blessing Job, and claimed that Job would curse God if the “hedge” surrounding Job was removed! (1:10) God allowed Job to be severely tested by Satan, on the condition that Satan cannot harm Job’s person.

The drama began with Job’s losses in a single day: his oxen, donkeys, and servants to Sabean raiders; his sheep and servants to fire; his camel and more servants to Chaldean raiders; his sons and daughters to a tornado. Job mourned and tore his robe, shaved his head and fell to the ground. But then he worshipped. In grief, he still praised God, even though he considered God as the one who had done all these things. He blessed the name of the Lord. He did not charge God with wrong (1:20-22). Instead, all Job did was to acknowledge God’s sovereignty:

Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (1:21; ESV)

The drama continued with Satan approaching God, requesting that God afflict Job with a terrible disease (2:4-5). To prove Job’s integrity, that he was blameless and upright, God allowed Job to be tested again by Satan, on the condition that Satan must spare his life (2:6). The disease was characterized by boils (2:7), itching (2:8), drastic change of appearance (2:12), worms and running sores, pain in the bones and gnawing pain (30:17), blackened skin and fever (30:30). The indication was that this horrible condition continued for months (7:3; 29:2). Job’s wife lost faith and called upon him to "curse God and die" (2:9)

Later, Job’s three friends arrive to mourn with him and to comfort him. His friends apparently did not know and understand Job and his relationship with God. They accused him of doing evil and of abandoning God. Job pleaded His case to God (Job 5-13). God appeared to Job (Job 38-42:9). “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (38:1-2). The Lord revealed His Omnipotence and His Creation to Job (38:4-42:6). The song “LORD, I BELIEVE” specifies something about God which we can and must believe.

"When we behold the wonders of creation, The flowers that bloom, the raindrops as they fall, The spacious skies, and life’s perpetuation, We cannot doubt that God controlled it all.

When we perceive the state of alienation In which the soul, from Thee, O God, was lost, We must believe, by heaven’s ordination, Our Lord redeemed and paid the bitter cost.

Some days are filled with joy and expectation, Some days are dark, with cares we are beset. In hours of joy or hours of tribulation, Be with us, Lord, lest we, lest we forget.

Chorus :

"Lord, I believe, yes I believe, I cannot doubt or be deceived; The eye that sees each sparrow fall, His unseen hand is in it all."

Elsewhere, the Bible confirms that God rules in the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:32-37). The apostle declared that God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). Civilizations rise and fall. Great leaders of nations have reigned and have been dethroned. Even wicked rulers may be doing God’s bidding (Isaiah 10:5-15). God never forsakes the righteous (Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:33).

There are a number of statements that declare God’s unlimited power. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14); “I know that You can do all things” (Job 42:2); “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37); “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26); “Ah, Lord God! It is You who have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for You” (Jeremiah 32:17).

First, we do live in a world that has been corrupted by the problem of sin, and we will always see the effects of such corruption. This includes death, sickness, natural disasters and even this global scourge, COVID-19.

Second, we should always consider where we are in our relationship with God. We know we live with corruption. We also know that God has promised final redemption and a day of judgment (Acts 17:30-31). Are we ready for this? Are we ready to meet our Maker? Let us therefore draw near to our God with fervent prayers of praise, thanksgiving, confession and supplication.

Third, take every opportunity through testing to learn and grow (James 1:2-4). That's on us. We cannot always stop disasters and problems from touching us, but we can control how we react to the circumstances. In whatever situation we find ourselves, like Paul, we can trust that the Lord will help us through and strengthen us to accomplish all that He desires (Philippians 4:11-13).

Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

This verse gives comfort, hope and direction to Christians every day. We may feel like feathers blown in a typhoon of despair with the present crisis. But our faith and hope is grounded on a sure foundation. GOD IS IN CONTROL.

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