Not surprisingly, recently there have been articles, commentaries, opinion pieces popping up speculating that this viral pandemic we’re experiencing is God’s wrath, His anger, His punishment for – and fill in the blank – everything from not being the devout and faithful people we should be to not being good stewards of the Earth.
Christians don’t believe that God unleashes plagues or punishments on people. Some will take scriptural incidents and events out of context (namely from the Old Testament) miss why those specific incidents and events happened and that we live under a new covenant that was ratified on the cross of Jesus. God does not unleash plagues as punishments on people.
That there are plagues and other so-called natural disasters are part of a broken world that has been out of whack since Adam and Eve first rebelled against God. And a great deal of the ongoing misery we continue to see in the world is found in the evil that we do, allow, permit… The injustices we’re silent to, the corruption that we’re indifferent to – the ripple effects of that can have widespread consequences that afflict the guilty as well as the innocent.
As Christians though, we’re not to dwell on that. Instead we’re to redirect our thoughts on what Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel – The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
When each of us takes steps to confront evil in a charitable but just way… when we find ways to offer forgiveness and begin the hard work of reconciliation…. when we look for opportunities to be selfless and loving and reaching out to help someone in need – that is the gentle breeze of the Spirit working in and through each and everyone of us who claims to have been “born from above.”
So for those looking for where is God in the midst of this crisis – look at the health care workers putting their care for the sick above their own well being; look at the people who are creatively finding ways to reach out and to connect with people feeling isolated, alone and depressed; look at the littlest of gestures – the kindness and genuine care offered by a neighbor to attend to someone elses needs. It’s far too easy (and incorrect) to blame God for the evil we’re experiencing and missing the reality of His grace, His favor, His blessing, His very spirit being at work through countless and oftentimes unknown, invisible folks. Kind of as invisible as, say a the wind – that is blowing and driving about bringing healing, compassion and new life in the midst of this storm.