Larry Deeds

As human beings we’re prone to want to find blame for things that go wrong.

This trait is as old as mankind. Remember in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned and tried to hide from God, they each passed the buck when God came calling. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.

Generally, God is the scapegoat, the blame for things we don’t understand and things we don’t like. And we often hear the question: Where was God? (Where was God on Sept. 11? Where was God when the tornado/hurricane/tsunami hit? Where was God when the plague came?)

I don’t understand much of what happens in the world, either in the realm of man-made or natural evil, but I know where God is. He’s always been sovereign and in control.

Where is God in this pandemic? Does He not care? Can He not do anything about it? Did He cause it or send it on us?

Christian speaker, writer and apologist John C. Lennox published “Where is God in a Coronavirus World?' It’s 62 pages.

Lennox shares that one’s worldview shapes how we see events such as the pandemic. Our belief about God and man, good and evil, nature and science are important to our thoughts, feelings and belief about these things. And Lennox explains there are no easy answers and he doesn’t try to give all the answers. But he keeps pointing us to God who alone has all the answers.

A recent Associated Press article begins by saying that almost two-thirds of American believers feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives.

People are searching for deeper meaning in the outbreak, according to research from the University of Chicago Divinity School and the AP’s National Opinion Research Center for Public Affairs Research. And many who don’t affiliate with organized religion see a possible larger message in the virus. And the research said that 26% of Americans say their sense of faith or spirituality has grown stronger as a result of the pandemic.

So, did God send the pandemic on us to wake us up? I don’t know. I do know God has used similar things in the past to get our attention. He sent 10 plagues on Egypt until the pharaoh got the message. And in the Bible, He used similar things, plagues, natural disasters, insects and more to wake up the sinning world.

I don’t know whether this is a direct judgment from God or not. I do know that as He is in control. He has allowed this to come at this time for a reason. So, as we continue on in our coronavirus world, I will be searching my heart to see what God is saying to me. And I hope that God’s church worldwide will be doing the same.

Our world is getting more and more ungodly and America is turning more from God. Our continuing hate and division, the continued killing of the unborn and our turning away from the needy, these are areas of needed repentance. Whether God has allowed COVID-19 to bring us to our knees in repentance and obedience, that is a need in our nation, our homes, our churches and in the hearts of God’s people everywhere.

Lennox concludes his book with three points: heed sound medical advice, love your neighbor and maintain perspective.

In maintaining perspective, he uses a quote by C.S. Lewis from 1948 about how Christians should respond to the existence of atomic weapons. We can update this to today by reading “virus” in the references to the atomic bombs and it still applies. Lewis wrote: “In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. How are we to live in an atomic age? I am tempted to reply, ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented. And quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made; and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends, not huddled together like frightened sheep thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

What then is the response of Christians and churches? In 1527 when the bubonic plague hit the German city of Wittenberg, Martin Luther refused advice to flee and protect himself. He stayed and ministered to the sick. His refusal to flee cost his daughter’s life. But in a pamphlet “Whether Christians Should Flee the Plague,” Luther wrote, “We die at our posts. Christian doctors cannot abandon their hospitals, Christian governors cannot flee their districts, Christian pastors cannot abandon their congregations. The plague does not dissolve our duties. It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die.”

So where is God? He is where He always is: He is everywhere accomplishing His purpose. I do not suggest I understand everything God does; if I did then I would be God. And I can only speak for God the things He clearly articulates in His Word. But I know the heart of God, that He is both holy and loving. He judges sin but loves sinners and gave His Son to die for our sins and to give us the free gift of eternal life. And I know that if you truly seek God, you’ll find Him.

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