Where Is God In This Pandemic?

The Problem of Suffering

During these trying times with sickness and death all around, we ask why do good people suffer? What did whoever do to deserve this? Isn’t God all-powerful? Can’t He make this go away? I will attempt to answer those questions. First the easy ones.

Isn’t God all-powerful? Can’t He make this go away? — Yes is the short answer, but that raises a second question: Why doesn’t he?

Because we live in a “fallen broken world.”

Genesis 3:14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,

cursed are you above all livestock

and above all beasts of the field;

on your belly, you shall go,

and dust you shall eat

all the days of your life.

15  I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and her offspring;

he shall bruise your head,

and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;

in pain, you shall bring forth children.

Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,

but he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife

and have eaten of the tree

of which I commanded you,

‘You shall not eat of it,’

cursed is the ground because of you;

in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

18  thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;

and you shall eat the plants of the field.

19  By the sweat of your face

you shall eat bread,

till you return to the ground,

for out of it you were taken;

for you are dust,

and to dust, you shall return.”

It is all Adam’s fault that we get to live and die in a broken world that is full of sin, sickness, war, and death instead of a paradise where we would have lived forever. And who exactly pronounced this curse? Yep, the Guy who is all-powerful and could make this all go away—but He won’t, at least not with an all-powerful wave of His hand. We can thus conclude that whatever happens in this world is a result of the Adamic Curse.

The Apostle Paul says as much. We enter the world identified with Adam and his sin but have a second chance if we identify with Christ.

1 Cor 5:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

ALL this suffering we hate in life is the natural result of living in a fallen world.

Does God allow it? Of course, He does. He pronounced the curse, remember?

Spring ahead 3,000 years to the time of Israel. God created the nation Israel and gave it a set of rules we call the Law of Moses. It was really a conditional covenant between God and the nation He created. Conditional, meaning both parties of the covenant were obliged under its terms. God promised blessing for Israel if Israel followed the Law (of Moses), but He also promised discipline if they did not.

God knew they could not meet the terms of the covenant, so He provided a means of finding “judicial righteousness” (to avoid the discipline if they failed) and forgiveness through animal sacrifices, which were a picture of what Christ would do at the Cross. This “forgiveness” (atonement = covering of sin by the blood of the sacrifices) was good for one year before they had to do it all over again. But they failed even under these terms.

Written into the Law and seen in Deuteronomy 28 is a listing of the blessings Israel would receive for obedience and a list of cursing for not. (Go read Deut 28. You will be shocked.) The discipline included sickness, defeat in war, and even being expelled from the land they were promised and taken into slavery. Yes, those were God’s provisions. Israel failed twice to meet their side of the covenant and, ultimately, in both cases, they were expelled from the land.

What you see in the Gospels during the time of Christ is a spiritually sick nation that was less than 40 years away from the final judgment seen in Deut. 28. Had Israel been spiritually well and meeting the terms of the covenant, you would not have seen the sickness that Jesus was constantly healing. You would not have seen the resistance of the “religious” leadership to His Messiahship. About 36 years after the Cross in 70AD, using Rome as His instrument, God destroyed Israel in a long and awful war then expelled them out of the land with many going into slavery to the Romans. Yes, God did that! But more accurately, Israel did that to themselves. They could have had great blessings but … If God did that to “His People,” what do you think He will do to the rest of the world when we slip into that kind of God-rejecting behavior?

John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

This passage was recently used by a priest as an argument to reject the “image of a monstrous Father,” but he left out the answer to his own question about human suffering found in the very next verse.

John 9:3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

The passage had nothing to do with rejecting the “image of a monstrous father.” Rather it is about is God taking a product of a fallen world and using him to demonstrate who Christ is. As a result, how do you think the blind man felt about it? Do you think he would have been better off had he never been blind? His suffering produced a teaching moment for both the blind man and those who were witnesses to the act then and for thousands of years after. Through one man’s temporary blindness, a whole world saw who God is and that He is capable of fixing what Adam broke. The blind man and thousands of others who have accepted Christ are in heaven today because of the incident.

We live in a broken world that God is leading to redemption. Yes, there is a time when broken will be fixed, but meanwhile, we must live with what we have and allow God to teach us about ourselves and Himself.

The promise of the coming vehicle for that repair is seen in that Genesis passage at the beginning of this study when God placed the curse on Satan, Adam, the woman, and the world. He said to Satan—

Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and her offspring;

he shall bruise your head,

and you shall bruise his heel.”

Satan’s offspring would “bruise his heel” a damaging but not fatal blow — Christ’s death at the Cross

The woman’s offspring will “bruise your head” a fatal blow — Christ’s victory over Satan’s attack at the Cross and His resurrection.

Is this pandemic God’s discipline on this Christ-rejecting world? Maybe, but I think it may be the beginning of something else, but that is another study.

And I leave you with this. What do these passages below say to you? Think long and hard about your answer. Eternity is a very long time to have buyer’s remorse.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Gal 2:16  yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

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