Living With a Pandemic

Several people have asked me, "Why did God send this Coronavirus, and/or why doesn't He stop it? Why must so many people die? Why doesn't He answer our prayers?"

First, I'm sorry for your pain, your sickness, your fears and your tears, whatever precipitates them. I'm sorry that you can't hug your grandchild these days, or kiss your mom on the forehead, or visit her in a nursing home. Pain and suffering are real and the last thing we should ever do is ignore it and hope it goes away. Better to do what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane; He agonized over it. On the Cross He didn't sing His favorite hymn; He said, "Father, why have you left me alone?" Stop right now and think about that.

Friend, there are no easy answers, and frankly, there never will be. People who say there are probably lie about other things too. As for me, I have a long list of questions to ask when I get Home. I believe God will patiently answer all of them. But that is then; this is now. So what do we do in the meantime? In about five minutes worth of words, let me give some practical suggestions that I hope don't come across as simplistic.

1) Live in the moment. It's all we have for sure, you know. All the fear and anxiety in the world, with regard to the future, won't make today better or worse. None of us know what tomorrow holds, nor can we easily forget yesterday. (See Matthew 6:34 and James 4:13-15 for applicable truth on this).

2) Never assume that because God doesn't answer every prayer that He doesn't answer any prayer. Seriously, sit down and make a list of prayers He has specifically answered over your lifetime. You'll likely be quite surprised...and grateful.

3) Blame Satan if you're going to blame anyone. You could add Adam and Eve to the list as well. Since they rebelled against God's best for them in the Garden, the whole world has been going to hell in a handbasket. Paul tells us in Romans 8:22, that all creation, like a woman delivering a baby, has been groaning ever since. Then he adds that "...not only creation groans; but we groan inwardly, as we wait for the redemption of our bodies." I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more that verse makes sense.

4) Don't draw conclusions from comparisons. The great American Philosopher Peter Bertocci, once said it like this, "We all have teeth, and sometimes they ache, so why must my teeth ache more than yours?" He was saying, "Some suffer; some don't. Why?" I don't know the answer to that, (neither did he!) but it's on my list to ask about when I get Home.

5) We should remind ourselves that we know very little about the why's and how's of God, despite what a lot of preachers say (and I am one)! During every hurricane and tornado warning there are devout people offering up prayers in every town. One prays fervently that God will spare their town; another prays the same prayer for their neck of the woods. One town is spared; the other isn't. Logically, we could say that God heard all the prayers and answered them. But since we don't know, here's a thought to ponder: I wonder how many thousands of tornadoes never killed anyone...because God answered prayers? I wonder how many accidents never happened, because God answered prayer? I wonder how much suffering never commenced because of the goodness and kindness of God our Savior? We don't know, do we? Guess what? We never will...till we get home. Paul said, "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now we know only partially, but then..." (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Ah, "but then." Let those words sink in dear one. Sometimes there are no answers..."but then." Sometimes the pain is excruciating..."but then." Sometimes we feel like giving up..."but then." Sometimes we're scared..."but then." Sometimes we're angry..."but then." Sometimes our faith is on vacation and we've lost the map..."but then."

"But then..." Those two words are sometimes the only thing that keeps me going. I guess Jesus would call it "mustard-seed faith." It's little itty-bitty faith perhaps, but it's faith nonetheless. You with me? As Zechariah said, "Don't despise these small things." (Zechariah 4:22). Some versions says, "Don't despise these small beginnings." I like that better. Every day there are "small beginnings."

We think we're in the end times, and in a sense, we are. I pray regularly, "Please come back soon today maybe?" But here's the other side of the coin--compared to eternity, this life is but a brief puff of air. Take it seriously...but not too seriously. Find something, or someone today, who makes you smile. Better yet, bring a smile to someone else. We can still do that while we're social-distancing. In the meantime, keep praying! And while you're at it, you might want to (in the name of Jesus!) tell Satan to go to Hell. That's where He belongs, you know, seriously. He's just out on temporary furlough right now.

One last thing. Do you know God? Do you trust Jesus? Do you believe in Heaven? Oh dear one, I hope you do. There's no part of me that can bear the thought of going Home without you. Please read the Gospel of John during this virus thing; then read it again. You may discover a new and better path. If I can help, let me know. In the meantime, take a deep breath, hang on...and smile. It's not silly; it's really quite reasonable. In fact, I'm smiling right now...for both of us. Won't you join me?

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