1. What questions do you have for God as a result of what’s happening with the coronavirus?
“Why?” As we experience the ongoing and devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on sports as well as the world as a whole, we may be asking, “Why is this happening?” We’re not looking for scientific explanations of how the coronavirus spreads or why it’s so dangerous. We’re looking for something deeper: “Why is God is allowing this to happen?”
We can feel confused and unsettled when we’re confronted with unanswered questions of such significance. Why does God allow pandemics to take place? Why did God allow your sports season to be taken away when you were looking forward to it so much? Why did God allow your platform of coaching or playing to be abruptly removed when your heart was set on using sports for his glory? Where do you turn when you’re feeling confused?
Read Psalm 13 and John 11:1-44
The antidote to confusion is knowledge: knowledge of Christ. The knowledge we ultimately need is a personal, relational knowledge of our Lord Jesus. At the end of the day, this is more important than knowing all the answers to our “why?” questions.
In Psalm 13, the psalmist is confused about why God is allowing him to continue to suffer at the hands of his enemies. While he doesn’t receive answers to his “why?” questions, he pivots in the last two verses to what he knows to be true of the Lord: the Lord loves him with unfailing love, the Lord is his rescuer, and the Lord is good (vv. 5-6). His knowledge of the Lord is critical in the midst of confusing, unsettling circumstances because it enables him to trust the Lord – even while he doesn’t have answers to all his questions.
In John 11, Mary is confused about why Jesus did not come to heal her brother, Lazarus, right away. Why did Jesus allow her brother to die? Jesus cares about Mary and responds to her confusion and grief – but he doesn’t give her an explanation of why he didn’t arrive more quickly. It is far more critical that Mary knows who he is.
25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” (John 11:25-27)
Jesus wants Mary to grow in her personal, relational knowledge of him: knowing that Jesus is the resurrection and the life; being confident that he is truly the Messiah, the Son of God. This is what will enable her to trust him even while she doesn’t have answers to all her questions.
2. What do you know to be true of who the Lord is? How does this knowledge of him make a difference as you walk through this challenging season?
Again and again in the Bible we find this to be the case: in the face of unsettling confusion created by difficult circumstances, the Lord directs us to the knowledge of who he is. It’s not that our “why?” questions are unimportant. God can certainly answer our “why?” questions if he chooses. However, the more critical question is “who?”: who is the Lord who is sovereign over all?
As we know God personally through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, we’re enabled to trust him. We know he’s the one with ultimate power and authority. We know he loves us with his steadfast, sacrificial love. We know his wisdom is perfect and his grace is more than sufficient for us, no matter how challenging our current situation might be.
Feelings of confusion during this time are understandable. God welcomes our “why?” questions. But first and foremost, he wants us to focus on who he is. Continue to build your personal, relational knowledge of Christ through spending time with him: studying God’s Word, talking to him in prayer, and resting in his presence. The more we truly know him, the more we can walk through this difficult season with unwavering confidence in the Lord. And we can point others to who Jesus is in a world that desperately needs him.
3. What specific steps can you take to continue to grow in your personal knowledge of Christ? Take a few minutes to solidify a plan for putting these steps into practice. Commit this to the Lord in prayer, trusting his enabling.
Psalm 13:5-6 –
5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.