Praying 1 Peter 5 during the Coronavirus Crisis

– By Jonathan Kopke.

“If God is so good, and he’s so powerful, why is he allowing this coronavirus pandemic to happen?”

We’ve all heard that question by now.  Maybe we’ve asked it ourselves.  And, no doubt, there are solid, biblical answers available for that question.  In his book The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis condenses all of those answers to just this:  “God whispers in our pleasures, and speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains.  Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  So in this coronavirus pandemic, it seems that God may be using his megaphone to call doubters to repentance, and believers to purity.

But nobody asks “Why is God allowing this pandemic?” out of intellectual curiosity.  We ask that question out of disappointment.  Out of confusion.  Out of fear.  Logic didn’t make us ask that question, and doctrinal logic isn’t going to give us any thoroughly satisfying answers to it.  But for what we really need — emotional comfort — we can turn to 1 Peter 5:6‑10.  And to me, the fifty-year-old Living Bible paraphrase of that passage is still the most helpful rendering of it in our language.  Let’s try to pray our way through that passage, one line at a time.  It begins,

If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…

And so we pray:  Father, you are God, and I am not.  I’m not in any position to argue with you or be your critic.[1]  You don’t have to justify yourself to me or defend your reputation — but I do need your reassurance.

… in his good time, he will lift you up.

Father, I know I belong to Jesus, and so I know that this pandemic is not your condemnation of me.[2]  With that assurance, I can trust that you’ll lift me up — maybe not right when I think you should, but when you decide that we’ve come to your good time.

Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

Father, I remember that a sparrow can’t drop to the ground without you knowing it, and you’ve even numbered all the hairs of my head.[3]  No one and no thing can snatch me away from you.[4]

Be careful — watch out for attacks from Satan your great enemy.  He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks.

Father, if you are for me, who can ever be against me?[5]  I renounce all the evil influences that are tempting me during this crisis to turn to something other than you for comfort and strength.

Trust the Lord, and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.

Father, I lift to you our youngsters at the Hope Community Center in Kenya where, on top of the coronavirus, they’re facing a plague of locusts.  Protect them.  Smile on them.  Give them your peace.[6]

After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory.

Father, since you didn’t spare even your own Son but gave him up for us all, I’m absolutely sure that you’ll give us everything else that we need[7] — if not in this world, then in the eternal glory to come.

He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever.

Father, I know that what this blighted world has intended for evil, you have intended from the beginning for good.[8]  I know that you cause everything to work together for the good of those who love you.[9]  The promise that you’ll personally pick me up is all I really need to know.  Like a child who stops crying in its mother’s arms, my soul is baby-content.[10]

To him be all power over all things, forever and ever.

Father, I end where I began:  You are God, and I am not.  You have power over all things, and I do not.  The one thing I ask from your eternal power is this: “When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me.”[11]  Amen.

[1] Job 40:2

[2] Romans 8:1

[3] Matthew 10:29-30

[4] John 10:28

[5] Romans 8:31

[6] Numbers 6:24-26

[7] Romans 8:32

[8] Genesis 50:20

[9] Romans 8:28

[10] Psalm 131:2 msg

[11] The hymn “Abide With Me” by Henry Francis Lyte


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