As the death toll from Covid 19 soars, the old question that always surfaces in hard times makes a comeback: “Why does God allow something like this pandemic? Is God the author of hurt and pain?”
Let me say two things. First, the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came that we might have abundant life. (John 10:10) The thief (the devil) thrives on our hurt and pain. He’s licking his chops. God hurts at times like this. He loves us and He suffers as He sees His children and others suffer.
But, the second thing that touches me is this: “Do we have any right to accuse God? Has the world been living in a way which pleases Him? If He has removed His protecting hand for a moment is it because He hates us or because so many have said, ‘Leave me alone. I want nothing to do with you or your way of living, God.’”
And God gives men what they want, but they never realized how terrible this world would be if God completely removed His hand of protection and blessing. As the Lord bore our sins, pains and suffering on the cross, we Christians sometimes share with the pain that comes on this world.
Make no mistake about it. God isn’t hiding, neither is He insensitive.
Several years ago the son of some of our friends in Belgium committed suicide. I’ll admit I had a hard time digesting this. These people had sacrificed as missionaries in a tough country then came back to a hard spiritual corner of Belgium and faithfully served the Lord as pastors.
Their son had used drugs and began to have problems with serious depression. One day his dad and his brother found him hanging from a tree in the woods.
I couldn’t imagine anything that would hurt worse than that. And I had some real, “why?” questions. I’m not sure we will ever have all the answers this side of eternity. Job and his buddies spent more than forty chapters trying to figure out why all those calamities fell on him.
At the end God never told him why. He gave Job a new revelation of Himself and when Job saw that, he didn’t have to know why. “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5, 6 NIV)
After lots of thinking (and hurting) I’ve come to at least five conclusions. In times of pain these seem counter-intuitive but I’m convinced they are true:
God is good.
God is faithful.
God will do what is right.
God is working all things for our good.
God loves us with an everlasting love.
I heard a country song one time that made me smile. A fellow had been in love with a girl when they were both very young. He prayed that she would be his wife but it didn’t happen. Twenty years later, by chance he met her one evening at a hometown football game. And he sang …
“I thank God for unanswered prayer.”*
In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done,” before we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
To pray with faith, you first have to honestly say, “Your will be done in me and in this situation, just like your will is done in heaven. Even if it’s not what I think I want.”
Let me pray for us. “Father, you’ve got this. We feel like we do just before we start a roller coast ride, but You’ve got us. Come. Teach us what You want us to know in this. Thanks for stopping our mad rush left and right. You slow us down to hear your voice. Give us the ability to hear. Reveal Yourself to us in a way we’ve never seen You before. Please. Give us a heart to say, ‘Yes,’ and then obey.
“Change us so that when all this is past we’ll be different. We’ll know you better. Our hearts will be delivered from addiction to the adrenalin rushes of this world and plugged into the your current from heaven.
“Send revival Lord. Come fill this longing in our hearts.”
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“My friend Gary Thomas frequently challenges me to grow spiritually through his insights that probe beneath the surface of my faith. He writes, “I learned that faith isn’t tested by how often God answers my prayers with a yes but by my willingness to continue serving him and thanking him, even when I don’t have a clue as to what he is doing…”
“I found peace in knowing that while I cannot control how long I live, I can control how I live. One of my mottoes is “Control the controllables and leave the uncontrollables to God.” I don’t get to determine the length of my days, but I can determine the quality of the days given to me. I wanted “gold”—character—to be produced from my fiery suffering.” From Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren.
Image by sumanley pixabay.com/fr/
Songwriters: Garth Brooks / Larry B. Bastian / Patrick Alger/Unanswered Prayers lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group