John Chrysostom on God’s Sovereignty in Calamities
Keep a strong grip on this argument, as I do, and let it ever be secure and steadfast in your minds: not only when He blesses, but even when He chastises, God is good and loving. His very chastisements and judgments are the greatest sign of His good-will, the highest form of His gracious providence. Whenever you see famines, plagues, drought, rainstorms, atmospheric disturbances, or anything else that chastens humanity, don't be tormented or downcast. Worship the One who caused these things; be awe-struck at His tender love. He does these things so that in chastening the body, the soul may be healed. “Does God actually do these things?” someone asks. Yes, God does these things! Even if my whole community, indeed the whole universe were my audience, I wouldn’t flinch from saying this. In fact, I wish my voice were more piercing than a trumpet, that I could cry aloud from a mountaintop to everyone: God does these things! This isn’t my own rash opinion; the prophet stands at my side—“There is no evil in the city which the LORD has not done” (Amos 3:6)… We don’t praise a physician only when he leads the patient into gardens, meadows, baths, and water-pools, or spreads before him a well-supplied table. He is just as much a physician when he makes him go without food, weakens him with thirst, forces him to stay in bed, makes his house a prison, deprives him of light, shadows his room with curtains, and when he cuts, cauterizes, and offers bitter-tasting medicines. Why, then, is it acceptable to call him a physician when he does so many “evil” things, yet to blaspheme God, rejecting His providence over all events, if at any time He does one of these things—if He decrees famine or death?
— John Chrysostom Against Those Who Say that Demons Govern Human Affairs 1.4