Instead of asking “why God?”, how about “what are you doing God?”
Aaron Ho // February 25, 2020, 12:08 pm
Image source: Google Maps
In moments of trial, we may be tempted to ask the question: “Why, God?” And that would be legitimate. After all, we are only human.
As believers though, we know that our God is sovereign. He is not caught unawares – He is in fact actively engaged in world affairs throughout human history.
That being the case, perhaps a more pertinent question to ask is: “What are You doing, God?”
Now, I don’t claim to speak on behalf of God; I only humbly offer my personal reflections.
Crisis brings out the best and worst in people – and this is both a challenge as well as an opportunity for us.
Instead of the widely reported hoarding by many Singaporeans who emptied shelves of supermarkets across the island when the DORSCON code turned Orange, there are now many encouraging stories emerging of churches and Christians rising up to be a blessing by their acts of giving.
A cell group, for example, pooled together several thousand dollars and provided coffee for our medical workers.
Instead of shunning nurses in uniforms, various groups in Singapore are also penning thank-you notes for those on the frontline who are currently working overtime, having their leave cancelled for the foreseeable future, etc, in appreciation of their sacrifices.
However, it is not an exaggeration to say that churches and Christian ministries have been adversely affected by the current state of affairs, at least on the surface. Due to concerns over mass gatherings, believers might opt to stay home rather than attend Sunday worship.
Chapels are either cancelled or take on a different form in missions schools. And at least two churches are at the centre of potential clusters of coronavirus cases. Again, from a purely human point of view, it would be difficult to see what good can result from this.
And yet, Romans 8:28-29 is the rock-solid foundation of our hope.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:28-29)
What “good” can possibly arise out of this crisis? Let me suggest a couple.
First, there has been an outpouring of prayer not only for the situation in Singapore, but also in China and indeed the rest of the world. I know of a church that has organised a 24-hour prayer chain that will last until the situation is over. Many other churches are rallying together in prayer as well.
This intense seeking of the face of God may ostensibly be due to concerns over health. But God, in His grace, can still use imperfect motivations to draw our attention to Him – that we might hear His heart, sense the urgency of the times and not go on with business as usual.
Second, in fast-paced Singapore, we barely have time to pause and reflect about life (and death). We are often so busy making a living or raising a family that eternity scarcely comes into the periphery of our daily considerations.
This virus may be the jolt that once again reminds us that we are mortal – that we will one day pass from the earth and stand before our Maker to give an account of our lives. And that day may not necessarily be some day in the far future.
To a world that is questioning, uncertain, worried or fearful, we have good news to proclaim!
Salvation of our souls, forgiveness of our sin, reconciliation with God, the redemption of our mortal bodies and all of creation, eternal life in the presence of God in the new heaven and the new earth where sickness, sorrow, suffering cease… all these are bound up in the Person and work of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
This is what we Christians have to offer our world.
Third, we ought to remember our God is not removed from our struggles and suffering.
The gospel of Matthew 1:23 says this: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).”
God is with us on the journey of life. He enters into our circumstances, and graciously grants us the strength and wisdom we need to navigate the complexity and challenges of life here on earth. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us.
Countless Christians throughout history have testified they have never felt the presence of God so near as when they were going through trial.
What is God doing in the midst of this COVID-19 situation? I cannot answer that for you. But if we lean in to listen to God’s voice, I suspect we may hear some of what I shared.
Let’s also remember that the last command Jesus left us was:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
May we heed His call.
THINK + TALK
- What questions have you been wrestling with since COVID-19 started?
- What do you think God is doing in the world today?
- How can you share the good news with others?