14 Mar 2020
My 10 year old asks me this on the way to school. It’s a fair enough question - he’s had an assembly on it, he’s heard the Prime Minister explain it and two lovely calm men in suits talk about it on TV. Now he’d like to hear God’s press conference.
I start to formulate an answer in my head. Something helpful and clever sounding about God being sovereign, us being certain, acting like servants, should mention the vulnerable… then I look at his face, waiting for my clever answer and think, “No, your faith will not grow best with my cleverness. If it’s your faith, it needs to be your answer.” Here is how it went
What do you know about God? He is good
What do you know about our world? Bad things happen
What do you know about the virus? It makes people sick, it spreads quick and some people, especially old people might die of it.
What would you like God to do? Stop the virus spreading and stop people from dying.
That is a really good thing to want. That is a really good thing to pray for and we will. But we do know that one day everyone dies of something – yes, hopefully when they are old after a full and happy life. But 1 out of 1 die. Life has an 100% mortality rate. No hospital has ever saved someone’s life forever. So I want God to have a bigger and better answer than just, “death delayed”.
What does God say about dying? God says dying isn’t the end for everyone who trusts in Jesus. They are raised to be with him in heaven.
What does God say about living? Does He not really care about that, does he really think we would be better off dead because heaven is the good bit? No God wants us to live now.
So what does God want us to do now do you think? Erm, wash our hands and be kind?
Yes, God wants us to live now enjoying him, trusting him and loving others. He wants us to have a full life made all the better by having Jesus in it, by being part of his family and by caring for others. So we’ll wash our hands, stay at home if we are sick, make sure our neighbours have food, make sure the lonely have the help they need, live stream our services and stock up our food banks.
But why would God let this happen? What good can come from it? We get to love others. We remember why we trust God. And everyone else is worrying about dying, so more people look for Jesus.
God’s announcement on coronavirus: “This is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he has commanded us.” (1 John 3:23)