Perhaps a better question is “God, what?”
Friday, March 27, 2020
Psalm 57.1 [NLT]
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
My elderly mother’s favourite Bible story is the story of Joseph. And what’s not to like! It’s the classic story of good overcomes evil, even with its own superhero. But the story also raises thorny theological issues. Was Joseph just a piece on God’s chessboard? Did God orchestrate Joseph’s hardship – being bullied, enslaved, sexually harassed, imprisoned – so that Joseph could be in the right place to save his family from starvation? Even Joseph seemed to think so.
Some might be asking is COVID19 another piece on God’s chessboard. Has God caused this virus in order to bring about some purpose of God’s? I find that thinking difficult. It was Joseph’s brothers who chose to bully Joseph and to sell him into slavery (although Joseph’s being a prat didn’t help). It was Potiphar’s wife who caused Joseph’s imprisonment. It was the forces of nature that caused rains not to come and starvation to follow.
So what was God doing while people and nature were misbehaving? God was protecting. God was ensuring Israel’s survival. It is easy when people and nature are misbehaving to ask “God, why?” Perhaps a better question is “God, what?” What is God calling us to do, to bring God into this situation. To trust. To love. To be kind. To represent the presence of Jesus Christ in the middle of chaos.
God who brings order to chaos, protect us and all your creation in this difficult time, and show me what you want me to do to demonstrate your love and protection today.