Author Alex McFarland
Copyright © 2020 Alex McFarland729 words
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Can we trust that God is with us in the midst of the corona virus crisis?  Do all of the pain, social upheaval, and desperation indicate that God has abandoned us?  Many wonder—where is God in the midst of all this sickness and trouble?

Headlines struggle to adequately describe the magnitude of the corona virus situation.  COVID19-related statistics are continually being updated as accounts of death, damage and turmoil dominate the news.

Whether facing a human-initiated tragedy like 9/11, or in times of natural disaster like Nashville’s recent tornado—and now amidst the chaos that is COVID19— we invariably ask ourselves, “Why?”  In the process of enduring such calamities, people may wonder, “Where is God?  Could He have prevented this?  Does what I am going through matter to God?”

As limited, finite human beings, no one can fullyknow why a given event might have happened, or why seemingly innocent individuals suffer.  But we long for an answer to the elusive issue of why. People in Jesus’ time wanted to know why a certain man was born blind (John 9) and why lives were lost through a prominent disaster of that era (Luke 13). Should we automatically conclude that sinners were getting their “just deserts?”  Or like John the Baptist’s moment of doubt while in prison, should we conclude that maybe God isn’t as authentic or faithful as we had first thought (Matthew 11)?

We may not know every reason behind the events of life but meaning and hope can come from reflecting on what humans do know about God and this world.

In a number of ways (through creation, conscience, Scripture, and through Christ Himself), God has shown His creatures that He exists.  This alone is encouraging to ponder: God has tangibly revealed Himself to the human race. Not only may we know about God, we may personally know Him. 

God has revealed much about this world and His plans for it.  The Bible informs us that the original creation was perfect, but sin and fallenness was introduced through human rebellion.  Moral evil resulted in natural calamities (the flood of Noah, climate changes and global weather patterns as the ripple effect of man’s choices).  Even birth defects, cancers, and viruses are among the toxins that reverberate throughout this prodigal planet.

Hope or consolation would be nonexistent if the human story ended there.  However, there is valid reason to trust God’s promise that He will one day “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).  John the Baptist was encouraged to evaluate his own doubts in light of the promises of Scripture and the Person of Christ.  Divine love, forgiveness, healing and even victory over death are not just pious platitudes, but are realitiespromised by both the Bible and Jesus.  Christ’s historically verified empty tomb is tangible proof that this death-conquering Jesus was indeed in a position to authoritatively speak about the here and the hereafter.

Christians do not deny the realities of evil and tragedy, but we do affirm that God can (and will) bring good from them.  Like Jesus, we weep with those who weep (see John 11:35 and Romans 12:15) and long for the day that evil will be quarantined, and this world restored.  Believers everywhere extend their prayers, love, sympathy, and support for the people everywhere suffering from the corona virus.

Our hearts and help are also with those suffering from the financial implications of the corona phenomenon.  As a pastor myself, I encourage churches everywhere to help your neighbors in every was possible.  And of course, let us continue to pray for our President, his cabinet, for medical professionals, and for first-responders everywhere, all valiantly serving in the shadow of this pandemic.

May God use this time to draw us all closer to each other, and closer to Himself.  With a benevolent God presiding over all things, there truly is no need to panic or be fearful.  At this time and always, may God enable America to pull together with brave and grateful hearts.

Religion and culture expert Alex McFarland has authored a number of books on apologetics and worldview, including “The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity” and “The God You Thought Your Knew” (Bethany House Publishing).  He is a pastor, educator, and broadcaster. His website is www.alexmcfarland.com