God Did Not Do That

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted April 28, 2020

During one of his daily media briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo turned away from his usual discussions of medical statistics, equipment needs, and even his mother’s Sunday cooking rituals to offer a theological pronouncement: God, the governor said, was AWOL when it came to slowing the infection rate for the COVID-19 disease.

“The number is down because we brought the number down,” Cuomo said on April 13. “God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.”

The statement passed with little notice among mainstream media outlets: An online search of The New York Times showed “0 results” for the phrase, despite that newspaper’s saturated coverage of the coronavirus. The Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York State’s capital, made no reference to Cuomo’s remarks either.

We Need God

Other media did take notice, however, including The Christian Post, an online evangelical publication, and National Review, the conservative magazine founded by the late William F. Buckley, Jr. In the latter, writer Kathryn Jean Lopez responded, “When Andrew Cuomo declares that God has played no role in our successes and protection and healing, he is missing why we need those churches open. … The real bad death is in triumphant declarations that God has no hand in our lives at our most vulnerable. We need [God]. He is near.”

Evangelist Franklin Graham, whose Samaritan’s Purse charity has erected a field hospital in New York’s Central Park to treat coronavirus patients, commented on Cuomo’s remarks on Facebook: “We always must be careful what we take credit for. Yes, we must be cautious and combat the spread, but make no mistake—God can help us. His power is as infinite as His love. Millions of Americans and millions of New Yorkers have prayed for New York and for an end to the spread of this virus. We continue to see answered prayer in our field hospital. Gov. Cuomo, I urge you—don’t dismiss the power of prayer and the ability of God to work in this crisis and in the ones we will face in the future. He is our hope, and we continue to pray for His mercy on our nation.”

When God Intervenes

The Bible is replete with stories of God’s intervention in the course of human history; indeed, it could be argued that one reason we have the biblical record is to document the concern God has for His creation. The Bible bolsters our faith and calls us to rely on Him.

One of the more notable examples of this is what another government leader, Hezekiah, the king of Judah, did when confronted by illness. In this instance, detailed in 2 Kings 20:1–11, the illness was personal to Hezekiah, and not the result of a plague; nonetheless the king’s reaction was significant.

In verse 1, Isaiah delivers a stark message to the Judean ruler: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’” Hezekiah’s time on earth was soon to come to an end.

Instead of merely acquiescing, the king beseeched God: “Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, ‘Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly” (vv. 2, 3).

God saw the man’s tears; He heard Hezekiah’s heartfelt prayer. And God acted upon it! Before Isaiah could even leave the palace, the prophet was given another message for the king: His prayer had been heard and would be answered! The Lord added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life, during which time his son, Manasseh, was born.

God desires for us to come to Him in prayer, as Hezekiah did. He loves to grant us good gifts in accordance with His will (John 15:7). In prayer, God demonstrates His healing, His protection, and His mercy to us.

Learn about the vital importance of prayer, especially during the current state of the world, from our newly completed revival series, The New Heart.

This is not to say that God cannot or will not help without prayer, only that God listens and responds to our supplications. This is also not to suggest that sound medical treatment, “social distancing,” and other prudent measures are not necessary during a pandemic. It is prudent to observe the best recommendations of health authorities and one’s own physician at such a time.

But the point is that God did not leave us to fend for ourselves. He is the Life-saver, the One who made this planet and everything on it, including us. Psalm 46:1 declares, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” John 15:5 says that without Him, we can do nothing at all! From where does the desire come to live and to preserve life in others? It comes from no One but our Creator.

Just last week, Pastor Doug Batchelor and Pastor Jëan Ross discussed “A Sudden Shift: How COVID-19 Changed the World.” You can find that 90-minute Bible study—in which viewer questions were answered—available for free at our website. At a time when some leaders are diminishing God’s role in the pandemic, find out what God is actually doing from a biblical perspective and what it all has to do with you.

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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