Theological Reflections on the Pandemic

Brian Tabb: So thou, sick world, mistak’st thy self to be Well, when alas! thou’rt in a lethargy. . . . There is no health; physicians say that we, At best, enjoy but a neutrality. And can there be worse sickness than to know That we are never well, nor can be so? —John Donne, “An Anatomy of the World” Once again, the terrifying term “pandemic” has been headline news. On December 31, 2019, Chinese health officials reported cases of serious respiratory sickness in people associated with a large market in Wuhan, China. This outbreak was soon linked to a “novel coronavirus” (later given the innocuous name “COVID-19”), and the World Health Organization declared “a global public health emergency” due to the deadly virus. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as “a pandemic,” with confirmed cases of the virus in well over 100 countries, thousands of confirmed deaths—and thousands of new cases being reported each day. The Center for Disease Control ominously warns that there is “no vaccine

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Ten Lessons from a Hospital Bed

Lessons learned by John Piper through a recent spell in hospital: 1. Don’t murmur about delays and inefficiencies in the hospital, when you are getting medical care that surpasses by a hundredfold what is available in 90% of the world. 2. Don’t let yourself be numbed spiritually by the ceaseless barrage of sounds, noises, television, and chatter that surround you in the hospital. 3. Don’t default to the television. 4. Pray for the patients near you and, if possible — without undue offense — see if your roommate will let you pray for him, and tell him words of hope in Jesus. 5. Realize that physical pain makes focusing on God’s promises more difficult and demands greater concentrating effort. 6. Reach out to a friend or family member to help you. 7. Accept the humiliation of wearing the same unflattering gown everyone else wears. 8. Let the pain and misery of your body, and of the people around you, remind

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Why doesn’t God always heal the sick?

Sam Storms: God loved the Apostle Paul. Yet God sovereignly orchestrated Paul’s painful thorn in the flesh and then declined to remove it, notwithstanding Paul’s passionate prayer that he be healed (2 Cor. 12:8-9). We are not apostles. Yet, God loves us as his children no less than he loved Paul. We don’t know the nature of Paul’s thorn, but each of us has undoubtedly suffered in a similar way, and some considerably worse. We, like Paul, have prayed incessantly to be healed. Or perhaps knowing of a loved one’s “thorn,” we have prayed for him or her. And again, as with Paul, God declined to remove it. Why? It’s hard to imagine a more difficult, confusing, and controversial topic than why God chooses not to heal in response to the intercessory pleas of his people. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I think I’ve got a few. 1. FAITH Occasionally healing does not occur because of

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Why Joni Eareckson Tada wants to take her wheelchair to heaven

Joni, from her moving booklet Hope . . . The Best of Things: I sure hope I can bring this wheelchair to heaven. Now, I know that’s not theologically correct. But I hope to bring it and put it in a little corner of heaven, and then in my new, perfect, glorified body, standing on grateful glorified legs, I’ll stand next to my Savior, holding his nail-pierced hands. I’ll say, “Thank you, Jesus,” and he will know that I mean it, because he knows me. He’ll recognize me from the fellowship we’re now sharing in his sufferings. And I will say, “Jesus, do you see that wheelchair? You were right when you said that in this world we would have trouble, because that thing was a lot of trouble. But the weaker I was in that thing, the harder I leaned on you. And the harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. It never would have

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