Thursday, April 9, 2020

COVID-19 Series: #12—How can a God of love allow COVID-19?

19 Pastoral Thoughts On COVID-19

“Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground” (Genesis 3:17–19).

One question that we cannot run away from as we see and hear of the devastating effects of COVID-19 is, “How can a God of love allow such suffering?” We feel that, if God truly is what we Christians claim him to be, there should be no diseases and disasters in this world.

We must never be flippant in answering this question because those who ask it often do so out of real pain. They may have witnessed a loved one go through unbearably excruciating pain for a long time before finally dying. They may have seen many people suddenly swept away by death until they felt numb. That is when they ask the “how” question. It is painful.

The best way to answer this question is by going back to the beginning of history when the world came fresh from the hands of its Creator. It was a perfect world, without pain or death. Our first parents sinned against God. As a result, he pronounced on them—and on the rest of us—a punishment that included suffering and death, as we saw earlier in our Bible reading.

So, “How can a God of love allow COVID-19?” We answer, “We deserve worse than this because we are under God's righteous judgement.” The God of love is also a God of holiness. In Christ, our sins have been paid for so that believers will never pay for them in hell. Yet, while we remain on earth, God says thorns, thistles and viruses will cause us untold suffering.

“Depths of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear?
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

There for me the Saviour stands;
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands,
God is love; I know, I feel;
Jesus lives, and loves me still.”
—Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

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