As believers, we know that we live in a fallen world, which is not what God intended when He originally created it. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8, "The whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now" (v. 22). Yet we also believe God is in absolute, unequivocal control of it all. Nothing escapes His purview, and nothing happens by accident.
So why has God allowed something so small like this virus to bring the whole world to a screeching halt? Why does He allow natural evil to exist at all, for that matter? And what should we as Christians be like during this time?
I'll tell you one thing: none of us can fully answer the question of why God allows evil in the world. Even Job, after going through intense suffering, didn't have his why answered by the Lord. But that doesn't mean we should skirt the issue. Jesus didn't in Luke 13 when the people brought up a recent tragic event (see vv. 1-5). Now, Jesus didn't explain why it happened, but He leaned into their questioning and used it as a platform to talk about a deeper issue: how our sin separates us from God.
So I can't explain why all this is happening, but I can answer the question What do we do now? I've addressed that question a number of times over recent weeks, but today I'll encourage you with this: we should be content. Paul wrote in Philippians 4, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (vv. 11-13). This tells us contentment is a learned quality that's directly proportional to how closely we cling to Christ and abide in Him.
And as we learn to grow in contentment, we need to reach out to those around us who are suffering and asking why. When Jesus' friend Lazarus died and Jesus showed up to the funeral, Mary and Martha basically asked Him, "Why didn't You come sooner?" And Jesus didn't give them an explanation; He wept (see John 11:35). He entered into the pain they were suffering in that moment instead of trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe for them. We as believers need to do the same.
Now is the time for the church to be the church. Now is the time for us to be the body of Christ—the hands, feet, mouth, and heart of our Savior. During this particular time, that means working harder and more creatively than ever to reach out and minister to those in our communities. But I believe we're going to emerge better than ever because of it.
It's understandable to ask why when it comes to this virus. And I'm not pretending to know why. But I do pray that God will use everything that's happening for His glory to move nations and individuals toward Him, including you. God holds every breath you take in His hand (see Daniel 5:23). If you haven't yet, submit to Him today as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the one who's in absolute control of it all.