"What God ordains is always good; He is my Friend and Father; He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather. Now I may know both joy and woe; Someday I shall see clearly That He has loved me dearly.
"What God ordains is always good: This truth remains unshaken. Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, I shall not be forsaken. I fear no harm, for with His arm He shall embrace and shield me; So to my God I yield me."
"What God ordains is always good." As of this writing, the coronavirus pandemic still rages worldwide, bringing illness, death, financial loss, and fear. How can any of this be good? Scripture tells us of God's almighty power. He sent devastating plagues against Egypt, knowing Pharaoh would not release the Israelite slaves "unless compelled by a mighty hand" (Exodus 3:19b). God gave His permission to Satan to test faithful Job. At different times, God allowed enemies to conquer His people in order to bring Israel to repentance. He has said, "I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things" (Isaiah 45:7).
We have no biblical accounts or prophecies concerning the specifics of the coronavirus or detailing other disasters that we experience today, but we know from Scripture that God desires our salvation. He created us to live in paradise, as Adam and Eve once did. Yet we, like our first parents, choose otherwise, rebelling against God's Word and will, preferring to rule our own lives in a created world that suffers with us in "its bondage to corruption" (Romans 8:21b). But before the foundation of the world, God chose us, by grace alone, to be His own. He sent His Son to suffer the penalty of death that we deserve, to restore to us the life in paradise that we rejected through our sinful rebellion. Through Jesus' redeeming work, God is now our "Friend and Father." Storms still gather in this fallen world, and each day we experience "both joy and woe." Yet in "sorrow, need, or death" we know that God will never forsake us. We may not, in most sorrowful circumstances, recognize the "good," but we can be certain "that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Our human intellect can never fully understand God's almighty power. It is not for us know His reasons or to expect, during this earthly life, the answers to all of our questions. One day, in God's presence in paradise, we will see clearly that even through pandemic, fear, and loss, He loved us dearly, embracing and shielding us in ways we could not see or imagine. We do not have the answers to every question, but we can be confident in this: "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
THE PRAYER: Almighty Lord, lead us to trust Your promises, confident that what You ordain is always for our good. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "What God Ordains Is Always Good," which is found on page 760 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you feel there are things that God has ordained to happen in your life?
2. Can you give a couple of examples of things God has ordained from the Bible?
3. How do think things will look on the other side of this pandemic? Will we have learned any valuable lessons? What might those be?
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