the bottomline

So, Where is God in All of This?
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 by Dan Allen

The view from the front porch hasn’t been so rosy of recent. Weeks folding into months of a pandemic that has shuttered countries and has led to untold thousands of sick folks and tens of thousands deaths all across the world. It has disrupted life as we know it sending fragile economies into tailspins the like of which we’ve never seen, whose recovery may take years if ever! Grief, despair, uncertainty, real pain—physically, emotionally and financially—is the order of the day. The view could not be bleaker.

Where is God in all of this? Is He, like what the prophet Elijah sarcastically said to the prophets of Baal when their god did not respond, meditating, relieving himself, on a journey, or perhaps asleep and must be awakened (1 Kings 18)? Is God indifferent? Is He uninterested in our suffering? Has God turned his back against us?

This question could have been asked of Him down through the centuries during severe droughts, famines, floods, hurricanes, tornados, fires, wars, tyrants murdering innocents or personal sufferings—the unexpected loss of a child or parent, a debilitating illness, financial crisis, etc.

So, where is God in all of this? 

Right where He always is—on His throne in Heaven. This has not taken Him by surprise, nor is He apathetic or unsympathetic to our suffering. To understand this, one has to broaden their view to the big picture. When God created this world, He declared it was good. I’m thinking He was a bit too modest—it was perfect! But humans marred that perfection by disobeying God. Thus, sin entered the world. Life expectancies would soon start to decrease as disease increased. Nature would begin to break down from that once utopia and turmoil ensued. It has taken thousands of years, but it has never turned around nor will it. How can something go back to perfection when it is soiled.

Is there any hope for us? 

Absolutely! Through all of these difficulties, God wants us to break through the muck and mire and turn to Him in Whose image we were created. That’s on a personal level, but it could just be that through these challenging times enough folks turn to him causing revival to break out. Oh, how I pray to that end.

In the smaller, personal picture, God is seen through the acts of kindness that we show to one another especially in these trying times—“loving one’s neighbor as yourself,” “laying down one’s life for their friends.” Christians gain much respect when they “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This has been noted through the centuries especially during similar pandemics. During the 3rd century when Rome was losing an estimated 5,000 people a day at the height of the outbreak, and the people were disposing their sick and dying loved ones into the street so that they would not get sick, Christians were taking them in, caring for them, and, often, getting the same illness and dying. They were demonstrating a communal love like had never been seen before (John 13:35). Centuries later, Martin Luther’s own daughter died during the bubonic plague. He refused to leave the city so that he could help the sick. He noted that maybe we are to die at our posts.

It is through times like these that the best of humans shine through. Whether it is from altruistic motives or the love of Christ shining through, we are seeing example after example of this happening right now. It is making the view from the front porch a bit more optimistic and auspicious. 


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