At our best moments, by your grace, we are not sleeping in
Gethsemane. We are awake and listening to your Son’s prayer.
He knows, deep down, that he must suffer. But in his perfect
humanity, he cries out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.”
In the same way, we sense, deep down, that this pandemic
is appointed, in your wisdom, for good and necessary
purposes. We too must suffer. Your Son was innocent.
We are not.
Yet with him in our less-than-perfect humanity, we too
cry out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.” Do quickly,
O Lord, the painful, just, and merciful work you have
resolved to do. Do not linger in judgment. Do not delay
your compassion. Remember the poor, O Lord, according
to your mercy. Do not forget the cry of the afflicted. Grant recovery. Grant a cure. Deliver us—your poor, helpless
creatures—from these sorrows, we pray.
But do not waste our misery and grief, O Lord. Purify
your people from powerless preoccupation with barren
materialism and Christless entertainment. Put our mouths
out of taste with the bait of Satan. Cut from us the roots
and remnant of pride and hate and unjust ways. Grant us
capacities of outrage at our own belittling of your glory.
Open the eyes of our hearts to see and savor the beauty of
Christ. Incline our hearts to your word, your Son, and your
way. Fill us with compassionate courage. And make a name
for yourself in the way your people serve.
Stretch forth your hand in great awakening for the sake
of this perishing world. Let the terrible words of Revelation
not be spoken over this generation: “Yet still they did
not repent.” As you have stricken bodies, strike now the
slumbering souls. Forbid that they would remain asleep in
the darkness of pride and unbelief. In your great mercy,
say to these bones, “Live!” And bring the hearts and lives
of millions into alignment with the infinite worth of Jesus.
In Jesus’s name, amen.
(From Piper’s concluding passage in his new book, The Coronavirus and Christ)