If God exists why send this terrible virus? A question often expressed in our culture and recently sent to me by a close friend with a genuinely curious heart. It is a topic we have never discussed, yet an opportunity to share my faith and understanding of God in a way that ignites a deeper inquisitiveness for an answer.
My response is rooted in my own discovery of God’s character, promises, and role in human history. My answers were found in a quest to unearth the truth after God stirred my heart in a beautiful park where I often retreated in search of solace and peace. Then I pursued Him, to discover what follows…
1 – God’s character is rooted in his overarching marvelous plan to rescue and restore our world from it’s broken place outside his created plan and purpose. The divine narrative in the Bible discloses God’s grace, mercy, and steadfast loving kindness toward all of humanity he created in his image. His character is always good. His desire is to rescue. He initiates and provides the way into His eternal flourishing garden/kingdom, to exist in loving relationship with him and each other. He is creating and populating a new world. We have a choice to be in that new world or not.
2 – We live in a fallen and broken world. The story of Adam and Eve portrays humanity making a choice to reject God’s plan and design our own plan for ourselves. They were enticed to be like God to decide right and wrong. A deceptive lie that allowed decay and death to enter humanity’s existence with physical, spiritual, and emotional consequences. This is the foundation of sin. What is fascinating about this is that God gave them what they wanted, even though it meant separation from Him. He allows us to have free will. In this moment disease, death, shame and guilt became our new normal.
3 – The rest of the Biblical narrative discloses God’s endeavor to reveal himself as a Holy yet loving deity, with a rescue plan for the entire world. It’s many books are written in a variety of literary styles brimming with words that penetrate our heart to ponder on the magnificence of his wisdom and ways. This, I call His glory! I was heart struck at the thought that mere men would write laws forbidding themselves from doing what they naturally want to do. Laws, wisdom, and ways of living that are rich in justice, equity, and selfless sacrificial love toward all others.
4 – The Glory of God is weighty and impossible for us to live out on our own. Glory means fame or renown, what makes one famous. One of my favorite sections of the Bible is when Moses meets God on the mountain asking God to show him his glory. The answer is astounding.. God said to Moses; I am going to put you in a cleft of a rock and let all my GOODNESS pass before you. As He passed by Moses He proclaimed his Name: The LORD, the LORD (Yahweh – means I am who/what I am).. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
The glorious beauty in this is that God did this after the people he rescued from Egyptian slavery made a golden calf to worship, and after the first Ten Commandment stones were shattered. Those he rescued rejected him in their impatience. Yet, He starts the second set of stones written with His words giving them grace and mercy to start again. God’s glory continually hails us out of our fallen heritage to occupy our place in His eternal kingdom.
5 – God’s rescue plan is accomplished through Jesus! This is the foundation of Christianity. God decided to send His Son in human flesh to live with us, revealing Himself and his rescue/restoration plan through Jesus’ life, teachings, wisdom, death and resurrection. Jesus is humanity’s faith portal into God’s kingdom, and God’s act of costly love and grace displayed to us in a way so that we can understand the immense value of it. In Jesus God made his impossible glory possible for us.
Another favorite section of scripture for me is the Apostle Paul’s speech to the Greek Athenians in the book of Acts. He notices a statue they worship to an unknown god and teaches them of the God they do not know. He tells them that God is not far from each one of them and to not think of gold, silver, shines or anything made with human hands as a god. He announces that this is the time of grace for them to turn back to the living God before His fixed day where He will judge the world in righteousness.
He is a good God, a loving God, a gracious God, a merciful God, a forgiving God, a Holy God. He lovingly invites us to let go of our fallen heritage that is enslaved to decay, death, pride, lust, selfishness, and a desire for control, and enter into His kingdom and be cultivated into His garden. Made possible through faith in Jesus, and following the way he shows us in the Gospels. The invitation is expansive to an exclusive centre, brimming with a promise that He will complete the good work He begins in us. The choice is up to us. I hope you search and find what I found – it’s precious, beautiful, and unforgettable!
There are so many other stories from the Bible that give glimpses of the majesty and glory of God. But I leave that for you to investigate for yourself. Open your heart and let him turn it into a magnificent garden full of His beauty, love and grace.
I will leave you with this.. A few verses after Moses was in the cleft of the rock God is described this way: “A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… but by no means will clear the guilty. Let faith in Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross clear away any guilt.
Last of all .. I do not think God sent a terrible virus to kill his creation, but I do think He will use any disease in our fallen heritage for good and reveal the perfect beauty of the heavenly realm to those who want to see it. God bless you!