by Brian Whited, Chaplain, Gentle Shepherd Hospice
The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth…for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. (Psalm 50, excerpts)
If you are like me, the last few weeks, have felt more and more uncertain as new concerns of COVID-19 are revealed. Schools are no longer meeting, large gatherings are a thing of the past, and we now practice social distancing. One small blessing has been daily walks down a lonely country road with my family. The other day, my wife grabbed this photo of cows on a hill and I was reminded of Psalm 50.
God is in control.
But there are times when it may feel like he is not. Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and ate of the fruit and they realized nakedness and shame. Abraham raised a knife above his head with his son Isaac underneath him poised to take the fatal blow. Moses led his people out of Egypt, but with a large Sea preventing his escape and a vengeful and grieved Pharoah and his army in hot pursuit. The singer of Psalm 137 marched alongside a riverside with his Babylonian captors mocking him. A Jewish man hung on a Roman cross, his followers in despair.
And right now it feels like God might not be in control. We have questions. When will this crisis end? Will my parents be okay, what about my kids, or even myself? As a hospice worker, we are some of the few on the front lines, interacting and engaging with the highest risk population for COVID-19. Will I be exposed? What if one of my patients is exposed?
These are real questions and some of the real answers are not readily available right now. I do firmly believe we should and can honestly ask these questions and that God readily desires and gives us the freedom to seek him in these uncertain times. And I would like to explore some of these questions in future devotions; the theme of God’s freedom in allowing us to grieve, to question, to love. But right now I want to go back to the question, is God in control?
Well, God came down and walked with Adam and Eve and he clothed them. There was and would always be a ram in the thicket next to Abraham. The Red Sea was always going to part. The Babylonian exile would one day end and the people return to the land. And the Jewish man died and was buried in a tomb, but the tomb, only a few days later, was empty.
And so too, God is in control of COVID-19. We don’t have all the answers right now, but with certainty, God is in control. He knows each hair of each cow on each hill, just as he knows each hair on each person that will contract COVID-19 and each person that will not. Right now, we can trust that. I’m thankful for each one of you in the roles you play and I’m thankful for the God who is in control of all things.