“I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!”Romans 8:38-39 (CEV).
At this writing, our nation has just surpassed 100,000 deaths from the Covid-19 virus. One hundred thousand Americans have lost their lives to this virus and the total number of deaths slowly increases with each passing day. That’s more than 40 times the number of people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Someone observed that lining up that many coffins end to end would stretch almost 130 miles. It’s hard to fathom so many deaths.
In times of such tragedy many people ask the question,“Where is God?” Where is God when all these innocent lives are being snuffed out like delicate candles? Where is God in the midst of such death, suffering and tragedy. Why did God allow this? Let’s be clear about something. God doesn’t cause tragedy or inflict suffering on anyone. Nor does God send suffering on people because of their sin. The death and tragedy inflicted upon thousands from this pandemic is not God’s will. God does not cause death, suffering or tragedy. If this tragedy was not God’s will then where is God in the midst of all this suffering? Where is God?
Where is God? God is present working in and through all the heroes who are serving in our hospitals and ICU’s to save people’s lives at the risk of their own. God is working through the doctors who are tirelessly working in many cases without PPE’s to save people’s lives. God is working through the nurses doing the extremely dangerous work of inserting endotracheal tubes into the patients and connecting them to a ventilator. God is working through the counselors, psychologists, clergy and others trying to bring comfort to the families of the victims. God is working through the custodial staff working round the clock to clean and disinfect the patients rooms and ICU’s.
Where is God? God is working through the truckers who drive many hours to deliver the food, medicines and other necessities that are needed in every city, village and metropolitan area.
God is working through the grocery store managers, stockers, cashiers, baggers and others making sure that we have the food, produce and supplies that we need at risk to their lives for very low pay.
God is present and working through the first responders: the police, fire-fighters, paramedics and rescue workers who are working tirelessly to deliver the sick to the hospital, food to the elderly and to keep our cities and nation safe from social upheaval in this pandemic.
God is working through the research scientists and immunologists who are relentlessly working to discover a vaccine to eradicate this deadly virus.
God is working in the volunteers working to deliver groceries to the elderly and those confined at home. God is working through the volunteers of the food pantries to help feed the millions who have lost their jobs and have no money for food.
Where is God? God is present and working in all these people and more. And God is still working in every act of love and kindness, support and generosity expressed by people who truly live as God’s children. The Gospel of John tells us in John 1:4-5 “In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it” (NCV). No matter how dark things may appear in our world, the light of Christ is greater than the darkness and the darkness of evil will never overcome it. That light can still be seen all around us if we look for it. God is that light. “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all” (1 John 1:5, NLV). And that light is manifested in every human act of kindness and love. May we share that light with those we see suffering, and may we reflect that light in a world often filled with darkness.
Loving God, we thank you that even in the midst of tragedy and suffering you do not abandon us. We thank you for all those who have given of themselves to serve others and who through their loving service You comfort and care for us. Help us to join them, by helping to bear the pain and suffering for others even as you did for us through Jesus. Amen.
Questions for Reflection
- In times of difficulty and tragedy where do you see God at work?
- During this pandemic where could you work to be the hands and feet of Christ through our church to the Ruston community?
- Someone once said that ministry begins where our gifts intersect with the world’s needs. What gifts do you have to offer that could bring light into the world by meeting needs in the community?