As the COVID-19 virus spreads, it’s very easy to lose faith and to live in fear of the headlines and people’s predictions. But even in shaky, unsettling times, Christians can have firm confidence, for we are people of the Word who know that the world belongs to our sovereign Lord. His rule and authority extend over the atomic level of every microbe and virus.
Is God in Control?
The ministry of Joni and Friends is focused on the very people who are most susceptible to the coronavirus – individuals with disabilities, young and old, as well as the medically fragile and the elderly. Our Area Ministry teams are supporting special needs families with practical support and prayer. At the International Disability Center, the headquarters of Joni and Friends, we have launched a staff-wide prayer effort where groups meet throughout the day to pray for these vulnerable populations.
The ministry message of Joni and Friends rests squarely on the foundation of God’s sovereignty. Psalm 33:11 assures us that,
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.”
This means that Jesus knows exactly where the virus is, and where it is going next. Since He always does what is wise and good, He has good and prudent purposes as it concerns this disease.
My Personal Reflections
I have a deep personal interest in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, for I am also an individual at great risk – I am an aging quadriplegic with fragile lungs and an immune system which can be easily compromised. But I bolster my confidence with the same assurance we give the people we serve through Joni and Friends: The world belongs to Almighty God, so Christians can be confident in His plan and purposes. There is absolutely no reason to be caught up in the panic or blame.
To our friends with chronic conditions who contract this virus, we stand beside you with prayer and practical support – please contact us immediately so we can pray wisely, committedly and specifically for your family.
To those who stave off this virus, I implore you to join us in interceding for our nation’s exposed populations, including the elderly, disabled people in care centers, special needs families, and ventilator-dependent individuals. These are the very people we serve at Joni and Friends, and we are convinced they have God’s heart. Join us in lifting these vulnerable persons before the Throne!
In the Meantime
When will this outbreak pass? Job would answer,
“I know that [you, O Lord] can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
In the meantime, let us be people of light and hope, sharing Isaiah 46:9-10 with everyone we meet.
“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me… My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isaiah 46:9–10).
Yes, this coronavirus COVID-19 is disconcerting. But as Dr. John Piper writes, “All natural disasters are a thunderclap of divine mercy… calling all people everywhere to repent and realign their lives, by grace, with the infinite worth of the glory of God.” So, pray fervently, share the good news of God’s mercy, rest in His purposes, wipe all counters and wash your hands frequently!
Isolation and loneliness are daily realities for the families we serve. This temporary need for social distancing is permanent for families living with disabilities. So I’m boldly asking for your help today. These vulnerable, special-needs families need your prayers and God-given generosity to come to the rescue through practical and spiritual help from our nationwide network of staff and volunteers.
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