This pandemic, with all the suffering and trouble that has come with it … is it from Satan or is it from God? How should we view it? For that matter, how are we to view any suffering that comes to us and to others? Does it come randomly, by chance? When painful loss comes to us, do we assume it comes from the evil malice of our arch-enemy, the Devil? What part does God play in the grief that comes to us? Ask person after person and you get various answers as to what impact the unseen world has upon our world. So, where can we get such knowledge? Only from the Bible, the Word of the living God … that’s how we ultimately know anything.
Here’s a great passage for our pandemic experience …
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. 15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.James 4:13-15
Did you notice that it does not say, “If Satan wills, we will live and do this or that.?” It is God who determines what will come to us each day and where the course of our lives will turn. Everything we experience, He allows. The business we do, the profit we make, the trips we take, the places we live in … it all depends on how our sovereign Lord plans for any of it to take place. Consider
Yep, God designs and allows all things to bring about His glorious purposes!
Consider the attitude Job had after he lost his family, his wealth, and his health …
“Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.Blessed be the name of the Lord.”Job 1:20-21
And after God restored to Job everything He’d taken from him, and much more, God’s Word reveals in Job 42:11.
All his [family and friends] sympathized with him and comforted him concerning all the adversity the Lord had brought on him.Job 42:11
Who was it that brought all that loss and suffering on Job? It was His God and Father, who used the agency of Satan! If the book of Job teaches us anything, it reveals that Satan could never touch us without God’s permission! Consider Paul’s understanding of his affliction
“Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”Are you surprised? It was God who sent a messenger of Satan to afflict Paul! … for Paul’s sanctification!2 Corinthians 12:7-9
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is how weak and helpless we are! We are not in control. God taught our brothers Job and Paul that. Enough of self-sufficiency. Enough of pride. Enough of loving the world too much. Enough of getting angry at God or rebelling with our self-pity when trials hit. Holding the infinite Creator accountable for impinging on our rights, and complaining when we don’t get our preferences, will only bring to us more pruning. We are to humble ourselves under His almighty hand (1 Peter 5:6).
We can rest assured that we are not left exposed to the ruthless violence of Satan. That great red dragon could not even touch a helpless baby in the process of being born (Revelation 12:1-5). That fearsome foe is a doomed creature – and he knows it. That’s why he’s so angry! He knows his time is short (12:12)! Our mighty Father is our faithful Protector/Keeper (Psalm 121) who never fails, nor lets us out of His sight. Our Good Shepherd knows what He’s doing in this world with His family, and with his enemies. It is for us to trust in Him, our sovereign King, and know He works all things together for our good and for His glory (Rom 8:28)!