CORONAVIRUS. I don’t remember one word that could invoke such a wide array of passionate emotions. Maybe Donald J Trump! People seem to have strong opinions when his name is mentioned! Ha!
Jokes aside, corona has shaken the core of the world as we know it. Everyone’s home has been touched. The longer this pandemic continues the more the numbers become names and the faces are no longer in the abstract news bulletins, but those of our friends and family.
One predominant question on many minds is: “Where is God in all of this suffering?” I will not presume to answer on behalf of the King of the universe, but I can share with you some Biblical truths which I pray will encourage you.
In the course of humanity, we are not the first to encounter widespread plagues that have decimated countless people. History books are full of such accounts. Thankfully, we can read about some of them in the Bible and see “where God was when they occurred”.
The most famous plagues occurred in the time of Israel’s captivity in Egypt. All historians unilaterally agree that there was a time when Egypt ruled the world as the most powerful nation on earth. Calling their Pharaoh a God, it is undoubtable that they considered themselves untouchable and of supreme power. When a weak old shepherd named Moses shuffled in from the desert to which he had been exiled and presumed to speak about a God whose power was larger than Pharaoh, the Egyptians laughed. According to the Exodus account, by the end of the time of plagues, there was no doubt in their mind a deity existed which was more powerful than a mere mortal king. That omnipotent God had shown He would move heaven and earth to protect and free his people from their years of slavery. The all-powerful God had humbled an entire nation.
In the past few weeks, we have heard of heart-breaking stories of people succumbing to coronavirus. This modern day “plague” has hit many men and women who just a couple of weeks ago might have thought they were untouchable due to their power and wealth. I am not saying I believe God causes these diseases, but I am saying in the presence of such no one is immune and everyone is humbled by the reality of their own frail and fragile state in the world. James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow? What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Psalms 144:4 states, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”
It is in such times that we are forced to accept the brevity of our lives and reevaluate what is really important. We are forced to accept the reality that we have no control over our lives. We are also forced to examine eternity and what lies after death.
Here is what comforts me. I know that no matter what I face in this life, my God is walking with me through the valley of the shadow of death. In fact, He promises over and over we will have trials, but then Jesus promises to give us peace and strength to get through those trials. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Trials like COVID-19 remind us of what is important — the family and friends who will stick by our side in our time of illness and the relationship with God which gives us strength to smile and peace in the midst of the storm. The Bible promises us that God is desiring us to follow Him into an eternity where there will be no more pain, death, tears, or suffering.
If you are one of the millions to whom this virus has struck personally, I can’t imagine how hurt you feel. It is normal to question God in a time like this. How could a loving God stand by in such a time seemingly silent.
May I encourage you gently? He is still seated on the throne beckoning any who would listen to come and rest in Him, come and cast your burdens. Just come as you are. I know it might not feel like it now, but this too shall pass.
God will never leave you nor forsake you. He promises that repeatedly throughout the scripture. Go to him. Shout at him. Tell him how mad you are. He knows your every thought anyway! He isn’t threatened by your honesty. But don’t leave Him. He is the only one who can carry you through this. He is your only Maker who knows your deepest thought and biggest fear and the only one that can bring peace deep in the hidden places of your soul. He is the only one who carries the keys to eternal life. He is not just your father, but your friend.
In these uncertain times, we can face tomorrow with hope because we know He lives and there is no disease on earth that can change that fact.