Book Review | Coronavirus and Christ

From Piper’s prayer at the end “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.” Location 807

In case you were wondering if John Piper was EVER going to write a book about the new coronavirus….good news, he has! How does he do it? Well, if you have ever read any of his books, you know that he writes out of obedience to what the Lord has laid on his heart. And I’m so glad that Piper has written something to address the times that we are living in. As I write this post, we are wrapping up the 4th week of the COVID-19 crisis that has shut down daily life as we know it…schools are closed, restaurants can’t allow dine-in seating, all sporting events have been cancelled, churches are worshipping online only, and we are learning that “safe at home” is a much different perspective than “stuck at home.”

Piper’s words in Coronavirus and Christ are so helpful because, as always, he points us back to the truth of God’s word. God was not caught off guard by this virus. Let’s remember that nothing happens without God’s permission. He is using this for His glory and our good. We don’t have the whole picture and we can’t see clearly what He is doing. We don’t have the capacity to understand God’s purposes, but we can trust His heart and His hand and we know that His compassion and mercy have not changed. We are the recipients of grace upon grace (John 1:16).

Here are the two questions that Piper seeks to answer in writing this work:
Who is this God that rules over the coronavirus?
What is this God doing through the coronavirus?

I highlighted several things while reading and have pasted those highlights at the end. I’d encourage you to pick up this book and read it for yourself. As always, Desiring God has made the book available for a free download here. You can also purchase it on Amazon or wherever you normally purchase books. Check out the video below to hear John Piper’s thoughts on why he wrote this valuable piece.

  • My confidence that God speaks is rooted in the fact that the Bible is his word.  He has spoken, once for all, and he still speaks in his word.  The Bible, rightly understood, is the voice of God. Location 90
  • God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 Location 90
  • Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19 Location 269
  • He is not double-minded.  There is a perfect beauty and coherence in how all his attributes cooperate.  But neither is he without complexity.  His character is more like a symphony than a solo performance. Location 302
  • The coronavirus was sent, therefore, by God.  This is not a season for sentimental views of God.  It is a bitter season.  And God ordained it.  God governs it.  He will end it.  No part of it is outside his sway.  Life and death are in his hand. Location 336
  • Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21 Location 345
  • The reason all of us deserve to perish is not a list of rules we have broken, but an infinite value we have scorned — the infinite value of all that God is for us in Jesus Christ. Location 633
  • “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (1949) p. 26  Location 641
  • What God is doing in the coronavirus is showing us — graphically, painfully — that nothing in this world gives us the security and satisfaction that we find in the infinite greatness and worth of Jesus.  This global pandemic takes away our freedom of movement, our business activity, and our face-to-face relations.  It takes away our security and comfort.  And, in the end, it may take away our lives.   The reason God exposes us to such losses is to rouse us to rely on Christ.  Or to put it another way, the reason he makes calamity the occasion for offering Christ to the world is that the supreme, all-satisfying greatness of Christ shines more brightly when Christ sustains joy in suffering. Location 651
  • The coronavirus calls us to make God the all-important, pervasive reality in our lives.  Our lives depend on him more than they depend on breath.  And somethings God takes our breath in order to throw us onto himself. Location 660
  • The coronavirus pandemic is the experience of loss—from the smallest loss of convenience to the greatest loss of life.  And if we know the secret of Paul’s joy (Philippians 3:8), we may experience the loss as gain.  That is what God is saying to the world.  Repent and realign your life with the infinite worth of Christ. Location 683
  • God has his work to do—much of it secret.  We have ours.  If we trust him and obey his word, he will cause his sovereignty and our service to accomplish his wise and good purposes. Location 766
  • From Piper’s prayer at the end “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.” Location 807

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