Think Well

Thinking Carefully about God and the Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

I’ve been trying to get my thoughts about God and the coronavirus clear. This has been helpful for me. I hope it may be to you as well.

Disease and death are evil. They are symptoms of a world broken and breaking with sin.

Evil means “morally wrong,” as in “murder is wrong.”

It also means “this is not how it should be.” Anyone experiencing the coronavirus or its fallout (all of us) is experiencing a world that is not the way God intends it to be.

God hates evil and so should we. We should hate what is happening to our world and mourn with those that are experiencing it.

The future is not defined by this evil. It’s defined by our free choices in response to it. It’s defined by the goodness, wisdom, and power of a God that is able to make all things work for good.

This is our cause as Christians for hope.

But on the way to hope, we can’t take shortcuts. We can’t skip over correctly defining what we are experiencing. We are experiencing evil. The Bible says we should mourn with those who mourn. Especially those that do not share our hope. We can’t skip mourning.

Let’s not say weird things. Let’s not say the coronavirus is good. The Bible says, “woe to those who call evil good” (Isaiah 5:20).  The coronavirus and all disease is evil. We must distinguish between the thing itself and what it brings about.

We can’t take shortcuts because people are listening. I’ve said things like, “I can’t wait to see how God will use this.” But as I’ve thought about those words, I’ve realized they are a shortcut for everything written here. If you know the Bible, you know this shortcut. But if you don’t, these words can be so callous, pollyanna, and unkind.

The world needs to hear the the full truth about what God thinks and feels about our world. Hope that doesn’t confront reality is shallow. We have a hope that is firm and secure because it correctly sees our circumstances but is not trapped by it.

We can’t take shortcuts during a time like this. For others, but also for ourselves. Our view of God is refined in suffering. I’m nervous that the more we speak in shortcuts, the more we think in shortcuts. The grooves of our soul are formed by what we say over and over. It’s possible that skipping over defining and mourning evil has left us with an impression that God doesn’t really see or care.

Nothing could be more opposed to the gospel. God would not come to Earth to die if it was all just gonna work out for good. It makes Jesus’ tears in the garden look melodramatic. The cross is not some historical climax because God was bored with the story. It’s his response to evil. He spends the whole Old Testament defining and mourning evil.

If any part of you believes God does not see or does not care, spend some time asking him what he thinks and share in his mourning.

Yes, he makes all things work for good. But on the way to claiming that hope, let’s not skip over naming this chapter and mourning it.

No shortcuts.

Scriptures I’ve been meditating on: Genesis 1-3. Revelation 21:1-5. Isaiah 5:19-20. Romans 12:15. Romans 8:18-31. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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  • Reply Dalton March 24, 2020 at 8:53 am


    Challenging and well thought out in this time. Thank you for writing this!

  • Reply Nadiia March 24, 2020 at 11:25 am

    I agree: all of us are experiencing loses right now, and losses are to be called losses & to be mourned.
    Job’s friends tried to skip this part & God didn’t approve it. Job was deeply mourning over his losses instead & needed friends who could mourn with him to make his burden lighter.
    There is a movie ”The Beach” in which people try to create an ideally ”happy” utopia on an island. When suffering enters their little world, they try to ignore it, but it is impossible: it shatters their fake ”paradise” to pieces.
    Suffering didn’t belong in real paradise as it does not belong in new heaven & earth where we are heading. We need to help each other while still on the way.

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