It's a great morning to be alive. I opened my eyes at 3:35 a.m., after sleeping at 10:30, and then proceeded to make some coffee. I cranked up my iMac and noticed there was an impending update. Clicking update, I now wait for Mac Big Sur 11.6 to download and install. It's a process I am always wanting to delay because it if frequently time consuming.
Despite a relatively speedy Internet (for the #Philippines, anyway), the process is slow. It has been an hour and 25 minutes now, so it must be a big update. In my mind's eye I am already behind regarding what I hope to accomplish for the day.
If patience is a virtue, and I believe it is, it is continuing to download within me. After all, wisdom yields patience, and wisdom is an ongoing process. Come to think of it, suffering is also an ongoing process for us mortal souls.
Most of us have suffered as a result of the coronavirus, so I really don't need to dwell on this fact. But I have heard one refrain among people I run across, either in person or online: why would a good God allow such a pandemic to happen?
It's an insightful question, so why does He?
First of all, we should be fully aware that God is sovereign (Psalm 90:3-6). As the Creator, He does what He wants when He wants, and who are we to question Him? He is in full control 100% of the time, from the beginning until the consummation of time.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," some will say, "but get to the point how a good God allows this pandemic to begin, to continue, and to cause suffering and death!"
Let's calm down and not blow a heart gasket here. God is at work in us all, whether we are believers or not.
Satan sought to tempt Job and God allowed him to do so. Satan, the accuser, said that the only reason Job trusted God was because he had been blessed by God. But God did not agree. He knew Job was an upright and righteous man!
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said" (Job 2:10, NIV).
Job's wife not only had an anger problem, but she lacked faith, and she did not have any love and compassion for her husband. Job's reply is spot on. This is because in this earthly life we will experience goodness as well as pain and suffering.
In due time God restored Job and increased his blessings. You see, suffering is for a short time when compared to eternity. Peter said, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10).
There are three reasons why we suffer in this world. The primary reason is because we are a part of a fallen creation (Romans 8;18-25). The second is because of our sin. The third is when we are persecuted for the cause of Christ and are spreading His word.
Only a person who is a liar or a true prophet can make any claim to know the reasons why God brought about COVID-19. To us it remains a mystery. But what we can know is that one of God’s primary purposes in any trial we experience is to get our and the world’s attention off of self and instead directed towards Him.
The Bible provides insight and some history of pandemics and plagues. We know that God wants us to be obedient to Him rather than the world. And when the world is not, as we can see with all the lawlessness, sin and turning away from Him, He intervenes.
"The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish" (Deuteronomy 28:22, NIV).
God’s punishments always have an end goal of bring about repentance and restoration to His creation. So we cannot know if He placed the pandemic in our lives or allowed it. What we can know is that He is seeking our attention.
C.S. Lewis once remarked in one of his several books, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
There is no sure way to absolutely know whether or not the COVID pandemic has a specific spiritual cause, but we can know that God has sovereign control over all things (Romans 11:36), and that He will work all things together for the good of those who know and love Him (Roman 8:28-29).
The spread of a pestilence like the coronavirus is but a foretaste of the pandemics that will be an aspect of the end times. Jesus referred to future plagues associated with the last days in Luke 21:11.
Additionally, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will have power “to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want” (Revelation 11:6). Seven angels will wield seven plagues in a series of final, severe judgments as detailed in Revelation 16.
Has the pandemic aroused in you an awareness and need to turn to God yet? Have you cried out to Him for His favor? God is asking each of us to repent of our sins and wrongdoing. He is asking for us to turn away from the worldly lives we often live and instead trust in Him. Won't you take some time today to do these very things?