“8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 NIV
No doubt, COVID -19 has brought challenges like, family problems – including problems with children, work problems, health issues, the country lockdown resulting in financial difficulties to our nation and in our personal lives.
It appears that many people are losing their grip on faith in God during this crisis situation. Many people are saying they are so tired of living. Some people also ask: “Did God send the coronavirus?” I really don’t think so. Others are asking, “How could a good, loving God inflict pain and hardship on His loving children?”
Some people even complain that they have prayed daily for an end to this COVID-19 spread that is gripping the world, turning human interaction into a virtual affair; upending lives everywhere due to a struggle against this silent enemy about which little is known and God seems to have turned a deaf ear. Churches, mosques, synagogues and temples have had to shut their doors in every corner of the planet because of the spread of COVID-19.
Some people also ask the question: “Where are the so-called powerful televangelists who think they are so powerful in their prayers as to change everything overnight when they pray?”
As a faith community, there is no doubt that we have prayed all the prayers we know. We have fasted to the best of our ability. We are doing what God wants of us. We are more faithful today than ever before. We read the Word and pray more than before. We are involved in the kingdom work, but it seems that God is nowhere to be seen or heard.
We have kept praying in this time of crisis, but it appears that heaven is quiet. As the reality of COVID-19 continues its relentless assault, some people seem to think that God has left us alone for a long vacation, neglecting and abandoning His creation to suffer.
Could it rather be that we have abandoned God? Are we keeping God’s precepts? Is this abandonment not evident because of the increase in murder, hate, adultery, greed, profanity, blasphemy, lust, dishonesty, pride, and the list could go on and on?
Even more so, could it be that today our musical lyrics and movies promote godlessness in our society? Could it also mean that we have created other gods who we worship beside the one true God? Could these gods be: sex, sports, entertainment, money, self and pleasure?
In the midst of all the questions raised above regarding whether God has turned His back on His creation, I firmly believe and I am convinced that God has not turned His back on His creation.
God is still present and He can still heal our land, but our hearts must turn away from the gods of this world and we must set our hearts on our Maker and Creator.
The truth is, God brings good out of every crisis situation. As people of the Methodist faith would know, we have a beautiful hymn which includes the following stanzas – Stanza 1:“God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; he plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Stanza 4: “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace; behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face”.
So, in this crisis situation, we must understand that sometimes it is impossible to see God’s power and providence in the face of crisis because of our fear and anxiety due to our abandonment of God. However, we can see His power and providence when we look back in reflection on past crisis events. Again, in times of crisis it is very hard to sense that God is present and working to bring good out of a bad situation. But, when we look back at such times, we can often see the powerful hand of God working on our behalf behind the scenes during the crises.
The question is, those who think God has not answered our prayers, if we had not prayed in the past, what would have happened? At times it may seem to us that God is hiding Himself in our moments of crisis. Like the writer of Psalm 66 we can expect that “truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of our prayer”. And yet God hearing doesn’t mean that He always or even typically answers how and when we expect or want.
He will indeed hear us and answer, but often in ways and in timing we do not anticipate. Let us all keep calm and obey our leaders and respect the lockdown period we are in. The COVID-19 battle will be over, and we will bounce back powerfully.
Remember, as believers in Christ, we do not assume that our God isn’t seeing us or hearing us or answering us, just because our lives are not unfolding according to our plans!
Note that in the midst of Jesus’ crisis in the garden of Gethsemane, God heard His cry, but God didn’t let the cup pass. He didn’t spare Him from death.
Our God ALWAYS sees us. He ALWAYS hears us. And in Christ, He will ALWAYS answer; not necessarily when and/or how we want, but with the answer we need–painful as it may be for now–for our ultimate good and His glory. God will NEVER forsake us. We are never defeated as Christians because Jesus is in our corner. God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble so we will not fear. God is reminding us to be still and know that He is God and know that He is in control and know that He will provide and He will make a way out of the COVID-19 crisis. It is in God that we can find our true security, no matter what happens. Shalom!