Having become used to all the wonderful benefits of today’s medical skill it has come as an unpleasant surprise to find that a tiny virus can bring such chaos, fear, financial ruin, suffering and death. We can’t blame the virus: this little string of RNA is just doing what it knows best, reproducing itself as fast as it can, and doing it rather successfully. And if there is nothing beyond the material world, as some assert, then there’s no-one to blame, except the politicians who always get the blame.
But if like me you believe that this world is created and ruled by a loving God then you may be perplexed or angry. Why would God allow a virus to do this to us?
Actually, the same Bible that shows us God’s love says so much more about him, and gives us many reasons why his world is full of suffering and futility. Here’s just one of them: Since we must all one day give an account of ourselves to God our impartial judge, everything in our lives that reminds us of our frailty and mortality brings, along with the pain and the tears, a healthy prompt to stop thinking that this life is all that matters. Everything that vexes us is also a kind reminder from our Creator to be ready to meet him. Even as we look at the stern face of sickness we need to see the warm heart of a rescuing Lord who longs for our hard heart to soften towards him.
And we certainly can’t accuse God of keeping his distance and avoiding all our trouble. In his Son, God came to us, became one of us, suffered with us and then ended Death’s proud boast once for all. However strange Easter will be this year I trust that we will once again be reminded that everyone whose confidence is in Jesus Christ will share fully in Christ’s resurrection victory. “The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Jesus laid down his life for his friends, rescuing those who put their trust in him and giving us the best ever example of the kind of selflessness that is going to be needed as we try to help each other through this severe trial.
May God bless you this Easter