2020 – What a Year!
What a strange year 2020 has turned out to be. Do you remember that 2020 is a leap year. It started out with the usual 29 days in February. Then there were 100 days in March, six months in April, 5 years in June, and a lifetime in July! At least that’s how it felt to me!
If 2020 was a drink, I think it would have to be a
colonoscopy prep! After we were hit with the coronavirus in
March, we had unemployment and shutdowns in April,
giant Murder Hornets in May, riots in June, and anarchy
in July. We can only shudder thinking about what the rest
of the year will bring.
This year, more than most others, raises the question:
if God is good, why does He allow bad things to happen?
Volumes have been written by philosophers and
theologians who have wrestled with this question. But
as I see it, there are really only two questions we need to
answer as we discuss this issue.
- Where does pain and suffering come from?
- Why doesn’t God put an end to pain and suffering?
The biblical answer to the first question is answered by the
story of Adam and Eve. Because the first man and woman made
a terrible decision, mankind was thrown out of paradise and the
whole earth was cursed. From that day forward, natural
disasters occurred, there was war, death and destruction,
and pandemics became possible.
The evolutionary scientist would say than mankind lives
in an environment where only the fittest survive. Because
of incredible competition among and within species,
life on earth is nasty, brutal, and short.
The answer to the second question can be found in the
Bible. The apostle Peter wrote this to other persecuted
Christians on the eve of his own death:
“But do not let this one fact escape your notice. Beloved, with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but He is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)
God is not limited by our timetable. Most of us would like Him to eliminate all pain and suffering immediately, but if God chose to do so, many of our friends and loved ones would fact eternity without Jesus. God is not wishing for any to perish.
That is where we come in. Our job until Jesus comes again is to be ready to share the message of God’s love with your friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors who do not know Jesus yet.
We live in a culture that wants instant gratification. Even in our battle with COVID-19, we want a vaccine and we want it now! At the beginning of the quarantine, YouTube videos showed people gently sharing with us the joys of baking banana bread. Twelve weeks later, people are rioting in the streets, toppling monuments, and ready to abolish the police!
In this environment, it is well to remember Peter’s assignment to all Christians in his letter:
“Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who ask you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)