Covid-19. The Corona virus. Regardless of its name, it is infamous throughout the entire world. One cannot watch the news or go on social media without seeing or hearing statistics, memes, articles, and posts on this topic. Though some may not find the current state of affairs to be overly concerning, there are many others who are suffering and scared. How does one respond to the global pandemic and mass hysteria? Likewise, how can a Christian make sense of a loving God in the midst of a suffering world? Though there is no simple answer to this, I would like to offer a Christian response to the Covid-19 crisis.
“The Problem of Suffering” (or evil) is probably the most common objection to the Christian faith. Specifically, if God is good and loving as well as all powerful, then why would He allow evil and suffering to exist? If God is good but cannot stop evil, then He is not all powerful. Likewise, if He is all powerful but refuses to stop evil, then He cannot be all good. Though this is commonly offered as a refutation of the Christian faith and to God’s existence in general, this so-called problem, is not really a problem for the Christian. In fact, without God as the moral foundation of perfect goodness, by what standard could one declare something evil? Likewise, the burden of proof is too high for the skeptic to bear. One cannot prove that God could not have morally sufficient reasons for allowing suffering and evil to exist. What if God allowed suffering and evil in the world because He desired humans to have free will? Genesis 3 records the Fall of humanity where Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, which resulted in sin, disease, suffering and death to enter the world. Scripture seems to be clear that God is not the cause for suffering and evil to exist. Therefore, God should not be blamed for the world’s suffering.
On the other hand, one might not be doubting that God could or does exist, rather they might be struggling with why a good and loving God would allow suffering to continue. Couldn’t God end the virus today if He so desired? Of course. In this case, the questioner is not looking for a philosophical response, but a pastoral response. The answer should come from a place of humility. The honest and upfront answer is that we do not know why God would allow circumstances like the Covid-19 pandemic to occur. However,
Proverbs 3:5 states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
Scripture reminds us to trust in God when we experience difficulty. Although we as humans are finite and limited in knowledge, God is infinitely wise. Additionally, Matthew 10:29-31 reveals that nothing happens without the consent of God. All of creation is in God’s loving care and will not be forgotten. So, does that mean that suffering is good? Not necessarily. God’s Word does not deny the reality of evil circumstances, but He promises that He is in control. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Though we may endure some trying times, God promises to ultimately bring good out of every circumstance for those who love and trust in Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
God wants to hear from you and calls you to pray and let your requests be known to Him. Because of what Jesus did, we can make our concerns known to God and have perfect peace. The gospel of Christ proclaims that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose from the dead. Thus, Christ has conquered sin and death and offered us the gift of eternal life. The gospel message reminds us that though this world experiences suffering and death, we have nothing to fear. Whether it is suffering, death, or a global pandemic, Christians can be confident knowing that the God of the universe is with them and is in control working all things for their good. The world may pass away, but our God will never fail. So, when it comes to the Covid-19 virus:
Do not fear and trust in the LORD!