25 Apr Can I Be Peaceful When God Allows Calamity?
Now, when I grew up in church, I used to hear this phrase that “God is sovereign, God is good”. Now being more skeptical by nature, I realised in my heart that I tend to accept that God is sovereign (no doubt, he is that number one person, all powerful being governing everything), but I have a little bit of trouble accepting that He is good. Well, I would say I accept that God is good in my head, but for my heart to lean towards that “good” attribute of God and to see everything with the lens of His goodness, was kind of a bit challenging for me. Now why is it so? For obvious reasons that there are pain and suffering in this world, and especially so when suffering hits you.
But of course I was then a young boy, there were no great suffering in my life, but being young you know, trivial adversity were enough to hit me. Like losing a friend, failing a test, or not being able to overcome some inability, or some impulses in my life. You see, adversities or tendencies such as these will usually lead to some undesirable consequences, which makes it hard for me to feel that God is good. But of course, as I mature in faith, I began to understand that tribulations and sufferings happen as a result of sin. And we, sinful beings, contributed to that sufferings. We could have even contributed to the sufferings of our spouse, our children, our parents, by causing their frustrations at times, despite that they are the people whom we should have love, isn’t it? So which means to say my dear friends, in a world of sin, there is no lasting happiness or bliss. When the world has enjoyed a time of peace and prosperity for a while, the work of sin creeps in, and the result of sin could be seen in relationships, in families, in societies and even environment. And it’s not hard to see the reality of sin in the Covid-19 situation now.
As much as no one likes to see death, death happens, and very quickly. As much as no one likes infections, infections goes up by tens of thousands every day. As much as countries and world leaders wish to come together to resolve this situation, blame goes around. And when there are people who blame, there will be people who gets defensive. Conflict and strife are inevitable.
But let’s come back to a simple question: If God is sovereign and good, can He stop this? Can He prevent Covid-19 from happening in the first place? The simple answer is a definite yes. And so the question come: Why didn’t He stop it? Why didn’t He prevent it? Now, the answer to that is: God being sovereign and good, He can choose not to stop it, but to allow it, yet turn it for good in His ways.
He could use it as a form of judgment for the World. He could be using this to humble science and technology, and those who put their full trust in it. He could also use it as a form of refinement for the church he loves. He could also use it to turn many hearts back to Him. God could also use this window period to restore the family unit which has been lost in the pursuit of wealth and prosperity by most people in this first world nation. I mean God can be doing many things, many “good” things, beyond what we wish for ourselves in our self-serving nature.
God being sovereign and good, He can choose not to stop it, but to allow it, yet turn it for good in His ways.
So can we be peaceful in this Covid-19 situation? Yes, if we put our trust in both His sovereignty and goodness! If we believe God is absolutely sovereign, and that He brought about all things that happen, then we must equally believe <Ro 8:28>: that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. And that, my brethren, piece up the whole equation for true peace, peace in adversity, in suffering, peace in pandemic, peace that will last. Why? Because you know that God being sovereign, He doesn’t negate His goodness through His sovereignty. Instead, He plans every trial, every adversity so carefully in such a way that you could be part of that goodness.
There is only one thing that could steal your peace. i.e. If you wish for things to happen the way you want it. Then you will be blinded towards His goodness.
Now for those who could have been hit by this pandemic. Say probably your business is badly hit, you got lay off from your job, or you lost a loved one to this virus, let me put it this way. I mean of course, no one likes sickness, no one hopes for a pandemic, no one embraces death. Strife and conflict are not welcomed by our human tendency. Our intrinsic senses tells us that these things are a result of sin and evil. But God has prepared something that far exceeds every adversity that we could have in this world, i.e. the salvation in His Son, Christ Jesus. And with that salvation, there will be an end to all kinds of sickness and pandemic. There will be an ultimate end to death. And that is promised in <Revelation 21:4>: ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Now, my dear brethren, with every pandemic in this world, let me remind you that we are closer to this end. Now, let me remind you, don’t make a novelty out of this pandemic. Some say this is a war. Some say the world is totally unprepared for this. Some say the economy has never been so bad before. Now, if you make a novelty out of this, you are not going to be peaceful, because you will be making a world out of this whole situation.
Do not make a novelty out of this pandemic.
Testimony: When the Coronavirus first hit our church, we felt the despair. We worry for our sick fellow brethren. We struggle with how the society view us. Concern about how people will view Christianity. “Will they attribute that to a misfortune, which undermines God’s protection for His church?” But the word of God came to me. It said to me: “Vincent, this trial is meant for you, meant for your church, this trial is meant to advance the gospel”. So we confirm the work of God, seek His guidance, and testify genuinely about what HE is doing amongst us. And we thank God how HE has been our help, and the gospel messages and our testimonies reaches out to many people. And our church sermons viewership went up ten times more than usual nowadays. And we are so grateful to hear people telling us that they receive more edification from what we have went through, praise the Lord!
So let me reiterate again, do not make a novelty out of our suffering. God is doing much more good than the suffering we felt, my brethren. Or probably I should end with a verse right here. <1 Peter 4:12-13> Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
My dear fellow brethren, I beseech you to participate in the sufferings of Christ, and let His peace be upon you.