At our best moments, by your grace, we are not sleeping in Gethsemane. We are awake and listening to your Son’s prayer. He knows, deep down, that he must suffer. But in his perfect humanity, he cries out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass.”
In the same way, we sense, deep down, that this pandemic is appointed, in your wisdom, for good and necessary purposes. We too must suffer. Your Son was innocent. We are not.
Yet with him in our less-than-perfect humanity, we too cry out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass” (Matt. 26:39). Do quickly, O Lord, the painful, just, and merciful work you have resolved to do. Do not linger in judgment. Do not delay your compassion. Remember the poor, O Lord, according to your mercy. Do not forget the cry of the afflicted. Grant recovery. Grant a cure. Deliver us—your poor, helpless creatures—from these sorrows, we pray.
Do not waste our misery and grief, O Lord.
But do not waste our misery and grief, O Lord. Purify your people from powerless preoccupation with barren materialism and Christless entertainment. Put our mouths out of taste with the bait of Satan. Cut from us the roots and remnant of pride and hate and unjust ways. Grant us capacities of outrage at our own belittling of your glory. Open the eyes of our hearts to see and savor the beauty of Christ. Incline our hearts to your word, your Son, and your way. Fill us with compassionate courage. And make a name for yourself in the way your people serve.
Stretch forth your hand in great awakening for the sake of this perishing world. Let the terrible words of Revelation not be spoken over this generation: “Yet still they did not repent” (Rev. 16:8-10). As you have stricken bodies, strike now the slumbering souls. Forbid that they would remain asleep in the darkness of pride and unbelief. In your great mercy, say to these bones, “Live!” (Ezek. 37) And bring the hearts and lives of millions into alignment with the infinite worth of Jesus.
In Jesus’s name, amen.
This article is adapted from Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper.
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