For aeons now humans have asked the same ultimate question “Why does God allow suffering?” Covid-19 has proved itself to be a disease of nightmares; indiscriminate and evading thus far the efforts of brilliant medical and scientific minds in their search for a vaccine or treatment.
The first thirteen verses of Psalm10 pose the same questions that tantalise us today. We ponder the plight of doctors and nurses in their relentless care of needy patients, the inability to visit loved ones in hospital or care homes, the loss of jobs and financial insecurity, and increased domestic abuse and crime. This is precisely why Richard Dawkins holds, “We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
As a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are historical facts. Death is not the end because Jesus rose from the dead. Consequently, God will be utterly fair and those people who have had the wrong end of injustice in this life will be ultimately compensated. Atheism has no such hope and its ideology flies against the basic human notion of justice.The Early Church was no stranger to pandemics, ultimately managing to weather the pandemic of Justinian 1st. (527-565 CE). In the Old Testament the nation of Israel recorded their years of desperation in the beauty, prayers and hymns of the Psalms, an example of which is this Psalm – (vv 10.14-18)
Our belief in resurrection and afterlife and the strength of our faith are tested again and again as was the faith of the Early Church which evangelised the world in a prophetic way. Such love for others would surely matter little if we are just atoms to be discarded at death and the faith that we currently share makes sense of a situation in which Jesus suffers with us.
Living God, we come in faith to worship you, yet we come conscious that our faith is so very weak, sinking without trace when trouble and danger threaten. Forgive us, and speak again of your loving purpose and sovereign power. Teach us that even in times of turmoil you are there, nothing finally able to overcome your will; that we can confidently put our trust in you, now and always. Amen