Q. So far you have just been speaking to certain theological truths—God’s sovereignty and God’s goodness, which is good and all. So is it wrong to have practical questions about the authority of quarantines, being a good neighbor, and how to feed your family, and things like that?
No, it is not wrong to have practical questions. In fact, it would wrong not to have them. But we want to make sure that we don’t start off on the wrong foot answering such questions.
This is because, in the Christian life, all doing must be based on being. Being precedes doing. In this case, being means being at peace, and being contented with the will of God for you and your people. If you are angry, or if you are fearful, or if you are trying to control everything, this means that whatever you do, you are going to do it wrong. God cares about the adverbs—not just what we do, but how we are doing it, and what demeanor we have as we are doing it.
If you are fearful, and hide under the bed, you are going to do that wrong. If you are bold and adventurous, and go out to show your courage off to everybody, you are going to do that wrong. So it is far better to have whatever you do blessed by the Spirit of God than for it to be technically a “correct” action on paper. And the Spirit always starts His blessing with whether or not we are in the joy of the Lord.
And so if you have learned the lessons from the first two questions—the absolute sovereignty of God, and the equally absolute goodness of God—this means that you will be able to thank God for what He is doing in your life, in the life of your family, the lives of your countrymen, and the lives of all other earthlings.
This is what we see in Ephesians 5. Right after the saints are filled with the Spirit, such that they are able to overflow with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, what do we read? “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).
Notice that this says that we are to give thanks for all things. Not just in all things, and not just despite all things. For all things.
Once you know that God is sovereign in His Heaven, and that God is goodness itself, all the time, and you make the choice to thank Him for this particular affliction, you will be responding as a Christian and not a Stoic.
With that done, the stage will be set. We will then be able to discuss profitably the legitimate authority of magistrates, the teaching authority of scientists, the lawful authority that the elders of your church have, and your authority within the confines of your home.