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Who Is In Charge?

As we are witnessing with the coronavirus, unexpected events shake our sense of stability and normalcy. Predictability is comforting, and it also creates the illusion that we are in control of our lives, our environment, our economies, etc. Those without a strong faith in God might feel that things are spinning out of control, that they are on a wild roller coaster ride – without a seat belt.

Job was perplexed by the things that befell him – sudden, catastrophic, unexpected loss. Terrible tragedy, disorienting events, death, sickness, doubts, false accusations and abandonment – all these came flooding into his life and mind.

After Job exploring the matter intellectually with his “friends” and reaching no rational explanation for what had befallen him, God finally intervenes with a series of challenges on His creative power and maintenance of the world. He asks Job: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know!” (Job 38:2-5).

God is both chiding and informing Job about His handling of the world. He continues in this vein for four chapters, reaffirming in Job’s mind that no matter how things may look from a superficial standpoint, He knows how to superintend the world.

We need to be confident of this same truth today as the world faces a pandemic, the economy is sagging, normal life events have been interrupted and even our common social habits are suspended (displays of greeting, affection, etc.). We should not sorrow or fear “as others who have no hope” (I Thess. 4:13) or others who have no confidence in our Lord who reigns over all at the right hand of God.

God allows human free will to operate within the overall bounds that He sets; He is ultimately in control and He has reasons for allowing catastrophes to happen. I suspect we are all examining our commitments and motives to the Lord more closely than we have in a long time. This is a good outcome of a regrettable situation.