I am really struggling with my faith lately. Why has God allowed so much suffering with the COVID-19 pandemic?
This is a pretty common question being asked these days. The suddenness of the coronavirus throwing the world into chaos has left most of us shell-shocked. But taking a look at the big picture offers at least a few answers and some valuable lessons.
First, much of what happens in this world is the result of foolish, reckless decisions made by people. Scientists have long warned about the type of health risks from the type of markets in Wuhan. Upton Sinclair warned about unsanitary conditions in the American food industry in "The Jungle." Were these problems God's will or human stupidity?
So many of the world's problems are due to greed, laziness and human irresponsibility. A man decides to drive while drunk and kills an innocent family on the road. A gang member sends a message to rivals on a drive-by and kills someone who was just walking down the street. A predatory lender makes bad loans and leaves a massive bill for taxpayers to clean up.
So much suffering is caused by mankind, not God.
Second, during times of stress and strain, our character is tested and revealed. As life grows frustrating and inconvenient, will we only focus on our own comfort or how we can help those around us? Will I forego some of my freedoms to protect others (like social distancing and wearing a mask)? Will we drift away from the Lord and the church or work to draw closer to both during times of quarantine?
Third, God's love is not measured by the absence of problems. Those who peddle Prosperity Theology are guilty of coupling God's approval and favorable external circumstances. The truth is very different. In Romans 8, the apostle Paul cites a host of external factors as being unable to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. The difficulties we presently face are nothing compared to the blessings the Lord has prepared for us one day.
Do not let the struggles we face now to weaken your trust in the Lord. Even while we cannot always answer the question "Why?", we can take comfort in the question "Who?"
The Who is the God of all creation. And he is working even now to put this fallen world back to rights.
He is the One in whom all your trust can be placed.