The usual bunch of clowns are saying that the coronavirus is God’s will. They say this kind of thing anytime something bad happens. It’s always God punishing somebody for something, and it’s always something that they’re against – homosexuality, abortion, vaccinations, you name it.
It’s truly amazing how God shares the same prejudices they do. (What, me bigoted? No, I just hate the things God hates.) You might think that this kind of theological malpractice was passé, but a lot of people lap it up because, sadly, it confirms their prejudices, too.
When I encounter these folks, I often say: “I don’t think God is half the jerk you think he is.” (Normally, I use inclusive language for God, but the sort of deity we’re dealing with here is always male. And, for shock value, I use a more colorful word than “jerk.”)
In reality, of course, God is not a jerk at all. God is not the cause of this pandemic. It is not God’s will. Those who say it is God’s will are liars, and I’m tired of them giving God a bad name by blaming God for all the bad stuff that happens in our world.
Inevitably, they’ll defend themselves by pointing to some verse in the Old Testament. Especially when quoted out of context, the Old Testament is a gold mine for violent and hateful ideas about God. But Jesus is the full revelation of God, and the testimony of Jesus is that God does not hurt people because they’ve broken some rule.
God does not toss thunderbolts at miscreants. (That’s Zeus, don’t you know.) If God did try to fry people with thunderbolts (or tornadoes or hurricanes or whatever), you’d think God would have better aim and there would be much less collateral damage.
Want to know more? Read chapter 9 of the gospel of John. In Jesus’ day, as in ours, it was commonly believed that if something bad happened to you, God must be punishing you for some sin. Not so, Jesus says.
Here’s an example. What about all those people who died in tornadoes in the South on Easter? Were they more sinful than folks in Oklahoma or Delaware or Oregon, or is God just sloppy in handing out justice? The whole notion is garbage.
A lot of things happen in this world that are not God’s will. That’s why we pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” If God got God’s way, ours would be a much different world! And someday it will be! Meantime, take comfort in knowing that God does not want this virus to kill you, and that God is with you in all things good and bad.
This message also appeared in a “Midweek Update” from Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, and will appear on Facebook and YouTube as a “Midweek Message.”