President Trump announced early this morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 and will quarantine at the White House.
The president tweeted: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” His wife tweeted: “As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.”
Vice President Mike Pence said on Twitter, “We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are among world leaders to offer their support overnight.
What happens now?
White House physician Sean P. Conley released a memorandum confirming the diagnosis. He stated, “The President and First Lady are both well at this time,” and added: “The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
According to the Washington Post, a senior administration official said the White House was not aware of additional positive cases late last night. Aides are being tested and contacts traced; some aides are expected to stay home for the foreseeable future. Officials also said that presidential and political travel will be canceled.
US and European stock futures and Asian shares fell this morning after the announcement. Oil prices tumbled more than 3 percent. There is no word so far from former Vice President Joe Biden or his campaign regarding his status.
The year 2020 has been unlike any in living memory, primarily because it has combined so many other difficult years. It began like 1974 with impeachment, then became 1918 with the pandemic, 2008 with the recession, and 1968 with street riots.
However, never before in American history has an incumbent president been publicly diagnosed with an illness this close to an election.
In uncertain times like these, God’s word offers us three important reminders.
One: God is Lord of the present and future
The possible outcomes of this morning’s announcement are many.
The president’s days in isolation will halt his intense campaign schedule and rallies. Depending on his condition, upcoming debates could be canceled. The president could become symptomatic, as did Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and be severely affected during the closing days of the campaign. He could resign from the ticket. It is possible that he could die from this disease, as have more than two hundred thousand other Americans.
On the other hand, he could remain asymptomatic and recover quickly while campaigning from the White House. He could benefit from public sympathy that aids his campaign and reelection.
The Bible says of us, “You do not know what tomorrow will bring” (James 4:14). This is true whether we are the leader of the free world or someone few people know. This is why God invites us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Let’s accept his invitation today.
Two: The Lord is still King
Today’s announcement is shocking the world, but it is not a surprise to our omniscient Lord. God “knows everything” (1 John 3:20) and sees “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). The One who “determines the number of stars” and “gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4) is on the throne of the universe today.
We can turn to him today with our fears and uncertainties, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Name your greatest fear this morning and trust it to your Father. When you do, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).
Three: We can be light in the dark
In the uncertain days to come, God’s people can be light in the dark (Matthew 5:14–16) for others to see. Our faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). If we will “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12), others will be drawn to the One we trust today.
Please pray for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump right now. Pray for God to protect and heal them. Pray for our Lord to guide our country in these uncertain times. Pray for his will to be done in the election and with our future.
And ask him to use your faith and hope to lead others to faith and hope. Brother Lawrence was right: “Many things are possible for the person who has hope. Even more is possible for the person who has faith. And still more is possible for the person who knows how to love. But everything is possible for the person who practices all three virtues.”
Let’s be that person today, to the glory of God.
The Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day from a biblical perspective. Jim Denison speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He is a trusted author and subject matter expert in areas where faith and current events intersect.