Resting In God’s Hand During Health Afflictions
The Bible is the foundational truth to rest upon during the affliction of a health crisis. The Word of God declares, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ You will not fear… …the pestilence that stalks in the darkness…” (Psalm 91: 1-6)
Let us first look at the most frightening word in this passage of Scripture. “Pestilence” (דֶּבֶר deḇer) means a dreaded disease, an epidemic or pandemic occurrence of sickness that has caused a lot of deaths. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 223). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.; Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
All through history, from Biblical times to this date, there have been diseases which have had its negative effects. Epidemics and pandemics will come and go until Christ returns. There will be diseases which will disrupt daily life and may lead to the destruction of many lives. What determines your peace and your eternal destination is the faith you live out before the God of heaven and earth, your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit of Christ.
A Personal God Is Able
Finding peace amidst pestilence begins by understanding God is a personal Deity. The Old Testament gives us His personal names. Unlike today in ancient times a person’s name was more than just a likeable label. (Drane, J. W. (2000). Introducing the Old Testament (Completely rev. and updated., p. 252). Oxford: Lion Publishing plc.)
In the key text there are four descriptions of God which are worth grasping:
1.)Most High (Elyon): He cannot be compared to anyone, He is above all things, He owns and is ruler over everything.
2.) Almighty (Shaddai): Gives us the awareness of God being all-powerful, all-sufficient, a Sovereign ruler who is present all the time.
3.) Refuge (Yahweh): Reveals God’s nature in the highest and fullest sense, stressing His absolute faithfulness to fulfill His promises.
4.) Fortress (Elohim): Reveals to us God’s intensity in revealing His power, preservation and preparation. (Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). In Tyndale Bible dictionary (p. 542). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)
God is the one to look to when living through an epidemic or pandemic. He rules over all, He is the only true God who is above all, having the power to control and guide the government in all the decisions needing to be made as well as implementing the plans which have been set in place. He is all-sufficient, able to provide everything needed to come up with a treatment, strengthen caregivers and those afflicted. He is able to give wisdom to the medical field, businesses affected, to all whose lives have been disrupted or displaced. He promises wisdom to all who ask. (James 1:5) He can prepare His church to minister to all who have needs while resting on all His promises. He does not just watch from heaven but is omnipresence, present even if the world cannot detect Him. (Anderson, K. (1996). Where to Find It in the Bible. Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)
The Bible says “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) Psalm 139:7-12 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about be night’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
Unbelief and spiritual coldness cannot keep God from working in the midst of mankind. In the New Testament we read, “…they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet, He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:27)
Dwelling In God’s Shelter
Our spiritual condition must be in good order if we wish to enjoy resting in God’s peace through epidemics and pandemics. Scripture says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High…” The child of God who has his mind on the Lord’s will, who considers how the Lord feels about his life (Philippians 1:27) and thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:16) is the one who enjoys God’s guidance, protection and enablement’s. (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 2, p. 268). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)
Christians who dwell in the shelter of the Lord is at home were God makes His will known, they return to the Lord when the world view and the lies of the devil intrigue’s them to live outside of God’s purposes. They acquaint themselves to the call God sets before them and they make it heartfelt-work over everything the Lord places them stewards over. Christians do not only have admittance but have residency, living under God’s provision and protection, resting and enjoying His refuge forever. (Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 876). Peabody: Hendrickson.)
Christians who trust in God live close to Him. (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 709). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)
The married couple who makes it their life style to be aware of each other’s desires and needs is the couple who enjoy oneness in what they do. They know how each other respond in life circumstances, there is an awareness of what each other is doing, producing a confidence in each other, especially during crisis. The marriage covenant is the comparison of our relationship with Jesus Christ, with the Body of Christ being the bride. (Revelation 19:7; 21:9) The closer a person gets to God, His Son and walks in obedience to the Holy Spirit, the more he will dwell with the Lord.
To “dwell (יָשַׁב yāšaḇ) means to sit, to inhabit, endure or stay. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 479). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.)
Many approach their relationship with the Lord like many approach their religion, maybe making it to a church service occasionally. We are not to make work, ministries, families and hobbies our dwelling place. When we approach our work, ministries, families and hobbies as being gifts from the Lord, through stewardship, then we seek to be in the Lord’s presence, dwell to have fellowship with Him so we can oversee those life blessing through His enablement. 2 Peter 1:3 says, His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promise, so that through them you participate in the divine nature… (2 Peter 1: 3-4)
Dwelling with the Lord enables us to enjoy God as our refuge (מַחְסֶה maḥseh), indicating a place of safety and protection. Christians can also know Him to be a fortress (מְצוּדָה meṣûḏāh) a strong hold. (Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 597). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) Holy Spirit illumination of knowing God as our refuge and fortress moves Christians to be loyal. Loyalty is the foundation to Christians seeing their callings through to a healthy completion.
Christians knowing God’s refuge and Him being their fortress, will not fear, like most people in this world do in epidemics and pandemics. The present pestilence does not cause them to fear – they do not panic, they pray for direction, for open doors of opportunities and His will be done. They rest in His goodness as they minister to those in need and they know their eternal home is sure, even if they should catch an infectious disease and pass on.
Are you seen as a child of God, in this pestilence, as one who trust the Lord, resting in His goodness and faithfulness? Or are you seen as one who is over-reacting, hording what others might need. Are you making ways to minister to those who are homebound or maybe afflicted? Are you reasonably obeying those in authority, whom God has placed in charge to get a hold on the present pestilence?
Praying God’s best for you.
Practical Prayer Guide:
- Trust in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord.
- Seek God for His guidance, protection and favor.
- Ask the Lord what He wants us to learn in this trial.
- Ask the Lord to bring this country to repentance.
- Ask God to give wisdom to our government.
- Ask God for a cure.
- Ask God to guide our medical research teams, give strength to all caregivers and protect them.
- Enable the afflicted to respond to treatment.
- Ask God to give you open doors of opportunity to minister to the sick.