I can’t answer some of those questions, but I can tell you the answer to the last question is YES!
Of course, we can know it from the Bible, in which we are told, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). We can and should have faith in God’s Word, to believe that He cares even when we cannot see the evidence.
But sometimes that is just really, really hard. And in those circumstances, sometimes God will show special grace to give us evidence here and now that He not only knew this was coming but that He is active and at work in the midst of troubling times.
Read below for an account by someone I know personally who is ministering in a needy country that is also feeling the early effects of COVID-19. I’ve removed identifying details because of where my friend is, but I can personally attest to the truth of this. It’s not a “my brother’s friend’s father’s cousin-twice-removed” kind of story. What follows is my friend’s amazing first-hand account of God’s foreknowledge and provision.
“Three years ago someone in the US had it on his heart to send a shipment of medical supplies here, and he worked with our ministry to send it. However, there were ongoing issues with the customs agency here, and they could never satisfy the government document requests. Eventually, they dropped the matter and the shipping container was abandoned.
“On March 21, 2020, one of our neighbors who is involved with another ministry got a phone call from the man in the US who had sent the container. She did not know him, but he got her name because of her work with other relief efforts in the country. He told her that all they had to do was sign for the container and they could pick it up. The ministry director signed the paper work and was told the container would be released within a day or two."
We serve a great big God who took those medical supplies off the shelves years ago and stored them away for the people we have all grown to love. While the world struggles to find masks, gloves, and hospital gowns... Jesus had 50,000 of each of those, [plus] oxygen tanks, ventilators and monitors already set apart for our people in just a time as this.
"NOT ONE BOX WAS MISSING FROM THE SHIPMENT. 100% OF THE CONTENTS WERE STILL THERE."
But instead, that container was held, miraculously untouched, until being released this week, in the midst of growing hopelessness, just in time to be in place to save lives in the country where my friend is.
Do you think that God did not know this would happen? Is he too weak to save? If He arranged this, could He not also have worked things out many years in advance to have people in place at all levels of government around the world, in medicine, in business, down to neighbors helping neighbors, to work modern-day miracles and to show His great love and mercy and power in the midst of this unprecedented worldwide crisis? If He can manage to get much-needed medical supplies around the world early, and then frustrate human plans to force those supplies to sit, untouched, until this global pandemic, and only then release them when they are most needed - if He can do that, can He not care for your family, even in a time of both financial and physical uncertainty?
And if he does not in the exact way that we want, can we still trust Him and the plan we cannot understand? Can we still love and worship and follow the One who laid down His life on the cross for our redemption?
I’m sure there are difficult times ahead for our nation and for the whole world, and I am not minimizing the suffering that anyone may endure, whether physical, emotional, or financial. But more than that, I am sure that God is greater, and He is standing with us, and available to all who reach out to Him. He is worthy of our trust, and our worship. The evidence of that is everywhere.
In His Word.
On the cross.
In an empty tomb.
And in an abandoned shipping container of much-needed medical supplies sent to a third-world country YEARS before there was even a hint that they would be needed.
By all means, be careful and stay home to protect others from infection. Do all you can to protect yourself and others from this virus that is indiscriminately spreading throughout the world.
But as you do, let go of the fear. Do not be anxious. Do not despair, beloved. God sees. He knows.
Trust Him in all things, even this.