Bro. Jehiel (Jose Israel P. Capistrano)
With the continuous spread of COVID-19, most of us are required to stay in-doors, temporarily leave our normal daily activities and this has actually given us the opporunity to spend some time for other things that we were usually too busy for.
“What’s a good K-Drama in Netflix?”
“What’s a delicious dish to cook?”
“How do I use Tiktok?”
“What time are we allowed to go to market?”
“Has the subsidy from the local government came in yet?”
“How many confirmed cases are there in our area?”
As more and more people get sick and die everyday, it seems that the load of questions arising here and there increases with it, especially when we have too little to do but too much time to think.
And for some, these questions may not be that simple. These are the types of questions that even though we don’t really have a grasp of their life stories, we can still feel their pain, hear their hearts screaming and even their tears falling.
“How about us?”
“Where are we going to get our food?”
“What will I feed my kids?”
“When will I recover from this disease?”
“Why can’t we even have the rights to give our mother a proper burial?
There are so many questions.
There are questions that we can easily find answers to. There are questions that are fine even if not answered. There are questions that are brought by our anxiety and fear. Fear because of what we are currently going through and could possibly go through. Fear not just for ourselves but more for our family and loved ones.
There are questions that continue to seek.
“I thought God is love?”
“Why won’t God just make COVID stop?”
“Where is God in the middle of all these?”
Why did God allow these things to happen and why He has not put an end to this pandemic so no one will have to die or suffer? I can summarize my response to this in five words: “I also don’t know.”
This might not be an appropriate question for someone who believes and has faith in God. But let’s still try to address the questions just to make some sense of everything that has been going on.
First of all, God is really love. The love of God is not imaginary nor it is a make-believe. God’s love is real for me and for you. It isn’t just a word and it’s something we all can experience and actually feel. God also made it a point to prove His love when He manifested in flesh and went through great deal of suffering for us. John 3:16. As Christians, God’s enduring love should be at the center of our faith. And you should not let any circimstance in your life alter your faith and your relationship with Him, even if you become directly affected by this pandemic or any unfortunate events that may come to you. Always remember that God loves you.
God is both love and all-powerful. God is sovereign. He is the Supreme Being.If He is love and all-powerful, why did He create our world to be messy, chaotic, evil and full of sufferings? The answer is… He did not.
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely.” – Genesis 1:31
God never desires harm to His children and that’s why He created the world very good and pleasant. If He did not author evil and sufferings, where did it come from? – Let us remember that because God truly loves us, He created us with the intention that we may experience the best experience there is – to love and to be loved. In order for us to experience genuine love, He needed to create us as rational beings or someone with the ability to think, to choose and to decide. We call this free-will. The thing with free will is that it can be abused in one way or another by making wrong moral decisions. Bad decisions that are against God’s orders and instructions so we may love a life that is “very good, suitable and pleasant”.
We are able to practice our free-will because of the Permissive will of God. Take Apostle Paul for example, even though the instruction was clear that he must go to Jerusalem, he decided to take the other route and went to Rome – this is what permissive will is. (Acts Chapter 31). Of course, once we commit to a decision or action, there will be consequences. God does not want conflict, robbery or even sickness but you’ll still see them around you as these are consequences of the choices made by us or by the people around us.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Throughout our lives, we will experience unfavorable and damaging situations. So bad that even a small glimmer of hope that something good will come out of that situation is out of sight. As Christians, we should strive to face these situations holding on to this faith:
“Suffering may not be good, but God can turn it around to accomplish good.”
And that is not impossible. If we recall, isn’t it that one of the darkest and saddest events in our history is when Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross? If we were there to witness His sufferings, our hearts would have probably been filled with anxiety, worries and grief. But God took that immensely negative moment and used it to accomplish the greatest blessing that can happen to us. Because of His sufferings and death, we are able to feel his love, we gained a deeper understanding of His kindness and we received the chance for our spiritual salvation.
We may not know now or fully understand the greater scheme of God’s plans and why He allowed these things to happen, but let’s continue to trust that He will work for the good according to His purpose.
So, what should Christians ask?
Rather than question God’s decisions and actions, it is more fitting that we question our own actions while we are going through these tough times.
“While the world is in chaos, are you living an orderly life as a Christian?”
“Are you being compassionate to other’s misfortunes and sufferings?”
“Are you helping the needy or at least include them in your prayers?”
“Are you holding on to “God will provide” especially now that you don’t have a stable income or have you forgotten that God is helping you?”
“Now that you have more time, do you also have more time for the Lord?”
“What if you’re back to your normally busy life, will you have less time for Him?”
“Are you praying more?”
“Are you still finding peace in your heart?”
“Can you feel that God is helping and protecting you?”
…and so much more.
If we fail to ask the right questions, this seemingly nightmare sequence of events brought by COVID-19 will only be a difficult and unfortunate experience for us. This struggle will come and go without any benefit or positive impact in our lives. If God is allowing these things to happen, it is important that we ask ourselves if we are truly living each day just as our Lord taught us. Though we suffer and there are lots of uncertainties, let’s strive to overcome this in a “Christian way” by having the same set of attitudes that Jesus had when He was suffering. Because this is the only way to receive what God has planned and prepared for us.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
Few years from now, we will look back at 2020 and COVID-19. And when we do, I hope we will also be reminded that this was time that we were able to know God more, the time when we learned to trust in Him more, the time when we once again proved that He loves us and continuous to help us, time when we actually felt that life is short – in an instant, you may lose it or one of your family and friends. While there is COVID or even if this has come to pass, let us love more, let’s do more good things, let’s be more compassionate, let’s be kinder, let’s trust God more, serve God more and love God more.
COVID-19 is not just a test of health and wealth, it is a test of character and faith.