One of the charges laid against those who are seen as most enthusiastic about lockdowns and vaccines is that they have forgotten about God’s Sovereignty over life and death and so are doing everything they can to cheat death. Furthermore, the argument is that belief we can control the virus is “hubris.”
I’ve argued in the past that both charges are unfair. However, it is always good to be challenged, especially if we look at our response to the virus and recognise that it (either personally or collectively) reflects either a level of over confidence in our ability to get through or fear of the consequences then perhaps we are not trusting God’s sovereignty as much as we should.
At the same time, may I gently put the challenge back into the court of those who have been most vocal in protesting lockdowns. We can be quick to accuse others of lacking confidence in God’s sovereignty whilst our own need to be busy suggests that this is a lesson we need to learn to.
The Methodist Covenant Renewal prayer says:
“I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering*. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen”
These beautiful words remind us that God is sovereign over our life, through good times and bad, through fruitful and barren seasons, in activity and quiet, in life and death.
For many of us 2020-2021 feels like lost time. We had so much we were hoping to do, so many plans and expectations, hopes and dreams. Instead, we found ourselves marking time. We were
- Put to suffering
- Laid aside
- Allowed to have nothing
And yet, if we’ve every prayed that prayer, then those are exactly the things we asked God to do in our lives. And the secret to that:
O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine.
Do we really mean that? Do we really know that Christ is ours and we his?
We are starting to learn some of the lessons from lockdown but if we are honest, many of us still are struggling to make sense of why we have been through this terrible season in our lives. At the moment we are simply sat with the broken pieces of our hopes and dreams. WE are searching.
The starting point to finding the answers and also living with many unanswered questions is to learn the lesson that God is sovereign and that whatever has happened, God has been working all things together for good.