An excerpt from John Piper’s new book, Coronavirus and Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 58–59.

My job here is not to imagine, as in John Lennon’s famous song.

He tells us to imagine that there’s no heaven, no hell, but only sky.

And then he says that such imagining is easy. Just try.

Right. It is easy. Way too easy.

The coronavirus demands hard reality, not easy imaginings.

God and his word are the reality we need—the Rock under our feet. So my aim here is to point to reality, not create reality. My aim is to hear what God has said, and affirm rather than imagine.

I will point to what the Bible teaches and then make the connections with the coronavirus. Yours is to judge what is right.

I say that because it’s what Jesus said about “interpreting the present time.” He was indignant that people could use their reason to make sense out of weather patterns but not the divine working of God in history:

You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? (Luke 12:56–57)

So my hope is that you will ask for God’s help, look to God’s word, and judge for yourselves what is right. I hope you will test what I say by the Scriptures (1 John 4:1), and hold fast to what is good (1 Thess. 5:21).

The book is being made available for free in an audiobook (read by Piper) and an ebook, and the print version could be pre-ordered. It is being translated into 18 languages.

(Here’s a really helpful 45-minute podcast conversation between Collin Hansen and John Piper about the subject.)