COVID-19| God's Megaphone
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
One of the ways God works is by speaking to us louder through moments of pain and suffering.
How can a loving and powerful God allow evil and suffering to the extend that we see in our world? Different versions of this question have been asked by many people facing pain and suffering in its various forms. I would like to call these wheelchair questions, as they are posed by those facing suffering. Then there are others who ask the same question from a philosophical position, and we can call these armchair questions. Today we will look at the question from a wheelchair perspective in light of COVID-19. Many people will lose their jobs. Some will lose their investments and savings. Others will lose loved ones, and some may contract the virus and die. How do we reconcile faith in a good and powerful God in the face of evil? We need to consider carefully how we respond? In an effort to exonerate God, many have ended with a God so different from the God of the bible. So how is a good and sovereign God at work even through evil and suffering. One of the ways God works is by speaking to us louder through moments of pain and suffering. In his book, The problem of pain, CS Lewis said these words which are so apt:
“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” This has been certainly true for me. I can recall some profound lessons I have learnt in the darkest days of my life. I remember burying my father at the age of 15 and organising a funeral for my own son in a distant land away from family. In these moments of pain, I saw God work in ways I had not seen before. So, what is God saying through this strange and unexpected megaphone of COVID-19: Be humble: You are not in control of your life If there is one thing we can all certainly learn from COVID -19 is that we are not the masters of our lives. World over, so many trips, meetings, holidays and business deals had to be cancelled or postponed due to this virus. Even powerful nations with vast wealth and sophisticated medical institutions were not spared. We live in a day when science and technology have advanced so much that it’s easy to think we have control of our lives. Yet such a disaster as COVID- 19 comes as a loud and timely reminder from our creator that we are only creatures, exposed to evil, be it natural, moral and supernatural evil. We are finite beings with limited knowledge and power. At the end of the book of Job , after a long silence listening to Job’s questions , God finally speaks and in essence he reminds Job of his place: Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone . Job 38:3-6 This then begs us to ask “If we are that finite, and evil seems so precarious? Who can we trust or depend on in face of evil and suffering? “With that, we turn to God’s second megaphone message. Trust God: He has experienced evil at its worst One of darkest moments of my life was holding the lifeless body of my son Andile who had died in utero. In the weeks and months that followed, we were surprised at how many couples shared with us similar experiences of loss as they sought to encourage us in our grief. It gave us some comfort to talk to others who had walked the same road ( though there were many who had not experienced this but cared for us in great ways .) You see, when we talk about evil and suffering, the God of the bible knows what this is about. In fact the worst act of evil ever done on earth, yes more than COVID-19 or the Holocaust, was the crucifixion of the Son of God, Jesus, who was himself God. He faced betrayal in the most painful way, he faced mockery by the crowds whom he was dying for and they put him up on that cross to die like a criminal, yet he was the most perfect human to ever walk on earth. Our God knows the deep pain of unjust suffering. And that is one unique thing about Christianity, no other religion has a God who understands our pain like the God of the bible. Hear these words from Hebrews 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18 But it doesn’t help much if God has only experienced evil but has no power over it. And this leads us to the third megaphone message that God shouts to us in our pain: Do not despair: God has conquered evil God is sovereign, he is in perfect control of all of creation at all times. God is infinitely wise that our human wisdom is like folly to him. Because of this, even the brutal murder of his son, is still under his sovereign control. You see, at the cross, in the midst of the worst pain, he conquered evil. He dealt with the reason why there is pain and suffering in our world - our sin. So we can say he dealt with the root problem of evil through the sacrificial death of his sinless son on behalf of all sinners. And his resurrection from the dead was a sure proof that he has conquered sin and death. But evil still exists you may ask? Yes, now we live in a time called “now but not yet”. The devil and all forces of evil have been defeated on the cross but we await a day when the full reality of that will be revealed at the second coming of Jesus when he will fully establish his Kingdom and bring judgement to the world. The question now is, are you a part of this Kingdom? So, do not waste your pain and suffering. Will you make the most of COVID-19 or any other suffering that may come your way by listening to God’s megaphone. Evil is real. We are not in control. God understands and in Jesus, God has dealt with evil once and for all time.