Where is God?
Guest editorial: Frs Kelvin Banda OP, Stephen Beru M.Afr & Isaac Zachariah Mutelo OP
As the coronavirus crisis causes disruptions and even lockdowns in our societies, many people seek answers as to why this disease with such an impact has emerged.
With people being affected in many ways by the Covid-19 crisis, and some even dying from the virus, those of a shaken faith may ask: “If there is God, then God is not powerful, perfect, and almighty. And if God is there, and he is perfect and powerful but will not do anything about coronavirus and other forms of suffering and evil, then he is an unfair god who lacks compassion, mercy and kindness.”
Even those of strong faith may ask: “We know God gave us reason, freedom, and the ability to make choices, but surely if we are children of God, then why does he let us suffer? Why do we have to close churches? Why can’t holy water work? Why can we not seek refuge in Jerusalem, Mecca or the Vatican? Why can’t God do something through the Vicar of Christ?”
It would be wise to release God from the responsibility for this iniquity—one which we humans have, in fact, brought upon ourselves.
Are we not responsible for our actions? How is God responsible for our selfishness, greed and inhumanity? God gave us intelligence, but did he tell us to misuse it?
There are so many things we are enjoying today, such as smartphones and easy transport. But at what cost did digital devices or mechanised transport come about?
We have abused nature for a very long time and now we are reaping the consequences, in health and ecological crises.
How does our misuse of intelligence concern God? Why question God for the consequences of our consumerist greed?
But when we cease to ask why God allowed this pandemic, we will have the time and space to enter into our inner selves, to dig deep down, so that we can repent, turn aside from our ways and return to God, asking for mercy and solutions to the coronavirus and the other consequences of our ways.
Perhaps a wise question for reflection would be: “What does it say to us that the coronavirus emerged so rampantly during the time of Lent, Holy Week and Easter?”
Corona in Latin means “crown”. In Christianity, Christ is the King, who wears a crown.
Yet, in our world today, the corona is worn by business, politics, sports, entertainment, alcohol, drugs, gambling, and pornography. It is worn by corporations that place profit above everything, including and especially the welfare of people. It is worn by politicians who trade integrity and service for power and money.
The Lord is letting these crowns be worn by vice, for their reign is only temporary. But God is also asking us now to wake up, to spend time with him.
These things that we have made secular gods of can disappear fast. Look how quickly the markets can crash—in one moment we can lose everything. But we do not need to lose our soul.
For many people, sport—to give an example—has become a “god”. They sacrifice going to church for sports. How many people centre their lives around bars without even having a single thought about God?
The stadiums and bars have shut down, even if only temporarily, but God’s door is always open.
God is asking us to spend time with him. God is asking us to return to him, to be with him. God didn’t create the coronavirus—humanity did—but he is calling us back to him right now.
In this lockdown, God is asking us to spend time with our families, in a busy age when families have little time to spend together.
The coronavirus presents us with an opportunity to review our lives and our relationship with God, and to recalibrate what needs changing.
This is a time of crisis, but it is also a time of grace when we are called to humbly return to God, to pray, and to unite with one another.
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