This morning, during Bible Study, we have a very deep conversation about where God is in the midst of this pandemic. It is certainly a good question, one that many are asking, many desperately asking as loved ones are hospitalized. In our isolation and distancing, we feel like God’s absence is pervasive., and we have been forsaken.
It is okay to feel this way, it is human. In the midst of darkness, our first response is to wonder where God is. “Is God with me, us? Has God left us in our time of need?” are the questions we ask. Certainly do not punish yourself for expressing such thoughts, thinking you are lacking in faith. In our pandemic, it even seems worse because we cannot be present with one another to encourage one another. But as the messengers of God frequently remind us, “Do not be afraid.”
The Christian witness proclaims that the fullest revelation of God can be seen in Jesus the Christ. What we know about God is seen in the person of Jesus. When Jesus encounters the Widow from Nain in Luke 7, scripture says, “he had compassion on her.” This translation is an understatement to say the least. The word that is translated as compassion can also be translated as guts being twisted. Jesus does not just have compassion on the widow, but has his guts twisted by her grief. Where is God in the midst of the pandemic? Grieving with us, God’s guts twisted as God sees the grief of those morning loved ones who have died or loved ones who have been torn from each other by isolation.
God is not just moved by our experience, God is moved to action just as when God heard the cries of his children Israel in bondage in Egypt. God is nothing if not the God of action in history. The disciples of Jesus asks him in John 9 why a man was born blind, was it because of his sin or his parents sin? Jesus responds by saying the man was born blind so all could see the glory of God.
Why the pandemic? I do not know, but what i do know is that we are seeing the glory of God in this pandemic by seeing the loving actions of millions. First and foremost, the completely overwhelmed healthcare workers around the world who have demonstrated superhuman efforts to care for the sick. Care, that I might add, places them into the jaws of death. Just as a firefighter runs into a burning building to save a human life, healthcare workers are going to work everyday. Some are leaving their homes and traveling a far distance to volunteer in hospital settings completely foreign to them. This is not human, this is divinely inspired giving of self! Try to convince me that God is not in this kind of response and I will laugh in your face! These actions of countless numbers is the face of God!
It is the act of the Divine that inspires worship. Have you seen the responses of people of New York, London and Italy to the work of the healthcare workers? People are responding to the love and commitment of the unnamed who love is inspired by the Divine spark within us. The Divine spark that cannot be covered by the darkness of sin. The Light came into the world and the darkness cannot overwhelm it!
Where is God? I know where God is. I have seen God. Just have a look around. Do not be afraid, for I will be with you always, even to the end of the age. Not my words but our God’s.
SO. MAY. IT. BE.