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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Knowing God Part 4 (A Perspective on Covid-19 Part 32)

Today’s psalm: Psalm 90:2-16

“Relent, O Lord! How long?

Have pity on your servants!”

(Ps 90:13)

This is our plaintive and desperate cry under COVID-19. But how long this lasts actually depends on us. How long will it take for us to repent of our sins and turn back to God? It is of course not necessary for each and every person in the world to do so, but for there to be enough that God is assured righteousness is not defeated and can thus be restored. After all, Abraham interceded with God for Sodom, getting God to agree not to destroy Sodom if there were even just ten righteous people.

So we need to understand the realities of life and of what God is doing.

First, there is God’s righteousness and justice. “Truly we are consumed by your anger, filled with terror by your wrath. You have kept our faults before you, our hidden sins in the light of your face. Our life ebbs away under your wrath” (v.7-9a). God sees the great evil that is in our world today, and is justly angry. As such, God sends chastisement into the world, with the purpose of disciplining and turning His children back to the right path. Unless we see COVID-19 as God’s chastisement, we will not be making the right decisions and moves as to what we do with our lives.

Second, we need to recognize God for the awesome Creator and all-powerful and eternal Being that He is. “Before the mountains were born, the earth and the world brought forth, from eternity to eternity you are God.” (v.2). God is in control of everything, from the super novae in the universe to the invisible pathogen that causes pandemics. As such, when we are helpless, we must turn to Him, and certainly not to our own devices and human capabilities. How tragic it is if we do not know or acknowledge God, and thus have no one to turn to but ourselves.

Third, our lives are in the hands of God. “You turn humanity back into dust, saying, ‘Return, you children of Adam!’” (v.3). God gives life and brings death. If God withheld His hand from our lives for even a second, we would turn back into dust. But the great irony of life is that mankind has come to depend on self, even to think that we are gods. We think we control our destinies. We think that our science and technology can solve all of our problems. If we insist on going this way, then God allows us to reap the consequences of our folly. Only when we acknowledge our helplessness and turn to Him can we find relief.

Fourth, only God is our refuge. “Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations.” (v.1). It is only God who ultimately protects us and prospers us. Even when we do not acknowledge it, God it is who has been keeping us safe and secure in His care. Is that actually not great comfort for us? That we can trust in the Almighty for our well-being. And now that we face the challenge of COVID-19, that we can lift this dire situation to God and look to His mercy.

Given the above, how are we then to act?

First, we must recognize and accept God’s chastisement, and let this bring us back to the fear of the Lord. “Who comprehends the strength of your anger? Your wrath matches the fear it inspires.” (v.11). Fear of the Lord is of course the beginning of wisdom. Having experienced the wrath of God in COVID-19, we must be made fully aware of how our sins and evil have provoked His anger, and must turn back to Him. God can completely overturn our lives, over which we have no real control. We must acknowledge God and His justice, and be in awe of Him.

Second, as fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, we must learn how to live our lives according to His ways. “Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (v.12). God must be assured that we have learned our lesson, and that we will amend our lives from hereon. Only God’s ways can assure us of well-being in life. Only righteousness can prevent a repeat of this pandemic, or even worse. We must resolve to walk in God’s ways.

Today we are still under the scourge of COVID-19. But we do have God. Tomorrow is another day. “Fill us at daybreak with your mercy, that all our days we may sing for joy.” (v.14).

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