THREE big items are competing for the headlines: the untimely demise of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, the continuous spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and the Taal volcano eruption. The raging bushfires in Australia, the Trump impeachment and the African swine fever have been eclipsed by these developments.

For the 2019-nCoV virus, China is struggling to contain it and the rest of the world is doing all they can to prevent it from entering their borders. As of this writing, there are about 6,000 confirmed cases and 132 deaths. Cities were locked down and travel was restricted. Even with all the advances in medicine, science and technology, humanity seems to be helpless against the virus. There is neither cure nor vaccine. China, though a military and economic giant, was brought to its knees by a tiny enemy.

As for Kobe, I am not a fan of him or of basketball in general. But I was amazed by the outpouring of emotions from all over the world. The guy is well loved. Even after retiring from his basketball career, he continues to amass wealth through various investments, endorsements and businesses. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kobe has a net worth of $500million. He probably has not peaked yet when his life was snuffed by a helicopter crash.

For the people of Batangas, Cavite and Tagaytay City, many have probably realized that years of hard work building a dream house, a business, a livelihood or a farm can be wasted in an instant by a natural disaster. At the height of Taal Volcano’s release of ash and sulfur, many places were deserted and became ghost towns. Many have returned to their ash-covered homes, but the lockdown is still enforced within the 7-km radius.

What do these things tell us? It reminds us that we are not in control. We have knowledge and technology, but we cannot subdue the power of nature. We can’t even predict the exact time when disaster strikes. Advancements in medicine cannot also stop the emergence and spread of a deadly virus.

Wealth, fame and power on the other hand cannot stop death. The parable of the rich fool in Luke 12: 13-21 reminds us about this. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing bad in being rich if you work hard for it. But it must not be our ultimate goal. We were created for a higher purpose than just acquiring riches.

Indeed, only one is in control over all things. He is the Creator of the universe, the Author of life and the great Healer. Isaiah 45:6-7 says “that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.”

Yes God is in control. So fear not. Romans 8:28 says “and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”