Why Would God allow Coronavirus? (Suffering)
Why Would God allow Coronavirus? (Suffering)
Problem stated: Quote: John Stott: “The fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith, and has in every generation. It’s distribution and degree appear to be entirely random and therefore unfair. Sensitive spirits ask if it can possibly be reconciled with God’s justice and love.”
Alister McGrath’s dilemma: There is a problem with the character of God if……
- God could eliminate evil and suffering entirely.
- There were no good reasons for God to allow evil and suffering (answering this)
Quote: Helmut Thielike; well-known German theologian, was asked- greatest weakness American Christians “They have an inadequate view of suffering.”
Even godly believers should be prepared to experience suffering as a normal part of life.
- 1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…
- James 1:3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials
- John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble…
Key verse: Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
How? Some Principles and Examples
1. Test us: Shows where really are: Reveals strengths/weaknesses.
- James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
- Lord Tests hearts: Proverbs 17:3 … the Lord tests hearts.
- ILL: tough opponent in athletics
2. God strengthens our Faith with resistance/opposition
- James 1:3 the testing of your faith produces endurance.
- Strength developed- in the struggle, opposition.
- ILL: diamond, intense heat/pressure- 100 mls deep, 2,000 F, 750k lbs pressure sq.inch,
3. Builds and transforms character
- Romans 5:3 … tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character.
- Growth Opportunity– prove character dormant, waiting be used
- Build Christlike Character: Peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, forgiveness, courage.
- ILL: Greatest Generation WWII forced an entire generation grow up in a hurry
4. Gives us Hope
- Romans 5:5 We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about … hope
5. Awakens us
- Quote: C.S. Lewis “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” The Problem of Pain.
- Prodigal son came to senses: Luke 15:16–18 (Lost money, famine) He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight
- God’s uses pain to bring to bring us to repentance: Hosea 5:15 … In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me…. “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
6. Purifies us: Make us like Christ
- To Judah: Isaiah 1:25 I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.
- To Believers: Heb. 12:10 He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
- Make like Christ: Quote: Joni Erickson Tada: paralyzed diving accident as teen: “Initially I figured that if Satan and God were involved in my accident at all, then it must be that the devil had twisted God’s arm for permission… I reasoned that once God granted permission to Satan, he then nervously had to run behind him with a repair kit, patching up what Satan had ruined, (God) mumbling to Himself. ‘Oh, great, now how am I going to work this for good?’ But the truth is that God is infinitely more powerful than Satan… While the devil’s motive in my disability was to shipwreck my faith by throwing a wheelchair in my way, I’m convinced that God’s motive was to thwart the devil and use my wheelchair to change me and make me more like Christ through it all… He can bring ultimate good out of the devils wickedness.” Be Still My Soul: Embracing God’s Purpose and provision in Suffering.” ed. Nancy Guthrie,
7. Eternal perspective
- No comparison: Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17–5:6 (The Message) These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us…. we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven… Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! 5 The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less…
8. Changes the long direction of your life:
- God meant it for good: Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
- God sent me here: Genesis 45:7 “God sent me before you…
- Created nation: Israel 400 yrs slavery Egypt: Grew great nation under oppression/protection
9. Bring glory to God (reveal Himself)
- Blind man: John 9:1–3 (passed blind man) His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
- Lazarus: John 11:3-4 (Told Lazarus sick) But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
10. People are saved
- Persecuted church spread out: Acts 8:1 …on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…
- Paul in Roman prison/Gospel progresses: Philippians 1:12–14 My circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and …because of my imprisonment, (believers) have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
- Quote: Tertullian, 200 AD: “The oftener we are mowed down by you, the more in number we grow. The blood of Christians is seed.”
11. Humble us: Learn dependence
- Pauls’ Affliction so not trust in selves: 2 Corinthians 1:8–9 We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
- Paul’s thorn in the flesh: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 … To keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!… I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
12. Cause us to seek God
- Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
- God’s plan to bring to repentance: Hosea 5:15 … In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me…
13. Develop Compassion
- 2 Corinthians 1:4, 6 (God) comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God… 6 if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort,
14. Learn not in control.
- James 4:13–14 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
- Quote: Lisa Beamer: from “Let’s Roll” husband Todd Heroes on flight 93 9/11: “I’ve chosen to live in hope. The reason I’ve been able to do that is not because I’m a strong person. I don’t want anyone (thinking)… ‘Wow, she’s so strong: look at her! The reason I’ve chosen to live in hope is because of the heavenly, eternal perspective God has given me. That tells me that fear comes from feeling out of control, and if September 11. Has taught us anything, it is that we are never really in control. Todd and I were two people who planned the future; type A’;s who had all our ducks in a row. And yet we were not in control on September 11. But hope comes from knowing who is in control. Hope comes from knowing that we have a sovereign, loving God who is in control of every event of our lives..” (276)
15. Tears down our idols- rebuilds our lives
- Ezekiel 36:18–19 “I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 “Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands….(After) I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
- Storm destroys house built on sand:: Matthew 7:27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
16. Face our mortality.
- Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
- Ps 39:4 “Lord, make me to know my end…Let me know how transient I am.
17. Don’t fully understand
- His ways not our ways: Isaiah 55:8–9 (NIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.