Where are you, God?
"Did you know the hotline for domestic abuse has shot up by 50% since last week?" asked my husband over dinner last night. With most of the world working-from-home, it comes with varied experiences. The past 3-months of battling with Covid-19 has opened many cans of worms - most of which we were not prepared for. Deaths from the virus reaching almost 50,000 and infected cases just slightly shy of a million are just but the tip of the iceberg. With unemployment on a steady rise and the economy at an unprecedented low, and not to mention the sharp increase in cases regarding social issues, it's safe to say that Covid-19 is our worst nightmare played out before our very eyes. Perhaps it's also the time to ask, where is God?
During an online sermon my husband and I participated in last weekend, we were brought to Isaiah 24; very appropriately titled 'The Lord's Devastation of the Earth'. It was eerily accurate from the get go; "The Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it, he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants... the earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered."
And why is this so? The author explains quite soon after, v.5 "The earth is defiled by its people and they disobeyed the laws, violated the statues," Interesting. Even if one is not religious, I think we can all agree that humans have indeed brought devastation on the earth and to one another. From world wars, human trafficking to depletion of natural resources, we aren't very good at being custodians of what has been given to us. So, I suppose there is some sense as to why God would allow this devastation to happen. But what I cannot understand is the magnitude of it.
If it is a lesson He wants to teach us, surely 4 months will be sufficient. But instead, we are being told to prepare for the worst and that it may only get better from November. Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong are having a second wave and it seems most countries have not even ridden the tsunami of the virus yet.
Has God abandoned his people? I've been a practicing Christian for most of my life and I can safely say I am not even sure of the answer. It would be easy to give a model reply of a sweeping statement and say, "No, He is still walking alongside us like the good shepherd He is. But we must trust in His bigger picture and have faith in His sovereignty." But given the circumstances, knowing the growing cases of domestic and sexual abuse that are happening at homes, knowing people are losing their jobs and livelihoods by the minute, I'm not so sure I can say those words with confidence. I cannot explain to my friends who are not Christians, why the God of love would allow this to happen.
He is faithful, right?
However, what was helped me reconcile this dichotomy is to remember what God had done in the past. World War II finally came to an end after six long years. Many inspiring stories of Christian Jewish soldiers and prisoners were able to trust in God despite their horrific dispositions. This brings to mind an article by Lee Strobel, describing how God is still leading us even in times of suffering and uncertainty. We are all currently driving in a thunderstorm and we cannot see where we are headed. But soon, a truck with bright rear lights drive in front of us and in a way, guides us along. We still have no idea where we are headed, but at least there is light to guide us through the storm.
This analogy fails to explain what happens if the truck doesn't appear. We will still have light through the storm? For those struggling with domestic violence due to increased time spent at home, tensions arising between family members and strained relationships resurfaced, I've got to be honest: I do not have answers for you. But what everyone needs to know is that the church worldwide is gathering to pray. Such dire times call for desperate measures. It has been comforting to see a worldwide call
for Christians to gather and pray at noon everyday for this pandemic.
Unfortunately, no one has any answers right now and our best bet is in a higher power. I believe that God is listening to our laments and cries of prayer and He is waiting for the right time to act. This is after all, faith and hope in action, the fundamentals of Christianity. For the Christians reading this, I urge you to continue in unceasing prayer, not forgetting your neighbours who may be suffering from abuse. For those who are not Christians, wait out the storm and be hopeful for this too, shall pass.