Looking out of the window today there is a big contradiction. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the birds are singing. Spring is in the air and the buds on the trees promise new life. But a deadly coronavirus is also in the air. We call to our neighbours from afar; we stay distant; we fear what might happen to ourselves or those we love. The contradiction is glaring: promise of life in the beauty of spring and the danger of death in the Covid-19 virus.
In all this, is faith in God just another contradiction? Is God not loving enough to care or not powerful enough to assist? Not at all. In fact, it is in the Bible that we see the answer to this apparent contradiction. We see the beauty of spring stemming from a world made by a loving God, brimming with life at its first creation. We read of disease, decay and death entering the world when men and women rebelled against our loving Creator and rejected his rule.
Many enjoy reading CS Lewis’ Narnian Chronicles – like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lewis did not just write children’s books. He was also a great thinker. Pondering The Problem of Pain, Lewis wrote:
Perhaps, like most in the western world today, you rarely think about God. It is only when some tragedy strikes that you are made to wonder. You might agree with Lewis that pain gets our attention, but also ask: why does God shout to us in this way? If God loves this world, why is there so much suffering?
That question often assumes that our present lives are all that matters, or that they are what matters most. But consider the Bible’s perspective: that death does not end our existence, but rather that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). Our life on this earth is suddenly put in perspective when we consider the binary choice of an eternity in heaven or hell.
This is where we see God’s love in action. God has a perspective on time and eternity that we lack. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, who is God himself, into this world of pain. He came with a message of warning and an offer of salvation. Jesus knows that what matters most is not maximising our pleasure and minimising our pain in this life, but our eternal destiny. Jesus told us
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
Believing in Jesus, God’s Son, does not merely mean accepting the fact of his existence or the teaching of the Bible. Believing in Jesus ultimately means turning from going our own way to trust and rely on him for this life and eternity. It means trusting that his death paid the punishment that our rebellion against our Creator deserved and trusting that the record of his perfect life can replace our own.
As I enjoy the spring sunshine, I thank God that enough beauty of his original creation remains to know his goodness. As I hear of pain experienced by family and friends in this pandemic, I hear God’s voice loud and clear: there is something badly wrong in this world. I thank him that he has alerted me to this before it is too late. I thank God the Father most of all that he sent his Son to this world to experience pain and to suffer death by crucifixion to be my Saviour. I thank him that there is a hope beyond the grave because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. I thank him that, because of what Jesus has done for me – and that alone – I am ready to meet him. Are you?
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