As I write this (April 2020), the world seems to be going crazy. There are over 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 140,000 dead around the world. The United States has 640,000 cases and 31,000 dead. And those numbers will likely rise dramatically in the near future.
The economies of countries around the world are in freefall. Medical professionals and facilities are being stretched to the limits, and sometimes beyond. Stay-at-home orders and business closures are forcing hardships on many, especially those who can least afford them.
Our world seems to be going through a drastic sea change before our eyes. Where is God in all this? What, if anything, is he doing?
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He Is Still Sovereign
I think it is important to remember, that whatever is happening in our world, God is still sovereign. He is in control. For the one who knew all of human history from creation, nothing that has happened, or ever will happen, will catch him off guard. Unlike our political leaders today, God is not scrambling to come up with a solution to this pandemic. His ‘solution’ has been in place from creation.
I know that there are some today who see God’s judgment in the pandemic. That God is punishing a world that has turned away from him. That he is angry because we have come to accept abortion, homosexuality, or any number of other moral failures. But I do not believe that to be the case. Yes, in the end, God will judge the world for our rebellion against him. But I see nothing to suggest that that time is now.
This pandemic gives every sign of being a natural occurrence. One that infectious disease experts have been predicting for many years. Unfortunately, we did not do a good job of listening to their warnings and are now paying the price. But I believe that this is just a natural event.
Does anything happen apart from the will of God? I don’t believe so. But that is not the same thing as saying that God causes everything that happens. I believe there is much that God allows. Things that are evil. And things that cause pain and suffering to humanity as well as to the rest of creation. Things that happen according to his permissive will.
But, at the same time, I do not believe that God permits just anything to happen. Rather, God permits those things that will further his purpose in our world. And forbids those that will not. Everything God does, or allows, serves to further his purpose in creation.
And that includes COVID-19. I do not know how this pandemic serves to further his purpose for us. It is hard to see a silver lining for the human race in this disease. But just because I do not understand, does not mean that God’s purpose has failed or is misguided.
Where is God?
I do not believe that God’s purpose for humanity is to be happy and content in this life. His purpose is fixed on something that is beyond this life. He is interested in having an eternal relationship with me. And all that happens in this life is used to shape and prepare me for that eternity.
My hope does not lie in this life and what it holds. My hope is in God. It is the hope of eternal life promised to us in the Scripture (Tit. 1:2). And so, while what he is accomplishing now is a mystery to me, I will continue to trust him. To trust the one who knows best. Who is working out all things for my good, and for all who love him (Rom. 8:28).
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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