Ask Pastor Adrienne column: The divine two-by-four
Do you think this virus is God’s judgment on mankind?
A: Well my friend, that is the elephant in the room, isn’t it? It’s the question every person is asking and every pastor is avoiding. Not because we clergy are fearing the answer, but because saying, “I don’t know” is not what people want to hear right now. And every person of the cloth desires to have answers for people in pain. It’s what we do; we comfort the hurting and rescue the lost. One thing I know for sure: this situation belongs to God. The scale of it is seated under the phrase “... of biblical proportion.” Huge. Global. Event. Is the devil that big? Can he take out the whole earth with a virus? Nope, he’s a tiny rat in comparison to our God. Trickster that he is, the devil stole a teensy, molecular object and infected it with his evil in such a way that it would reproduce itself. All Satan did was get the ball rolling. God did not create COVID-19, nor did he send it. But it is here, nonetheless and its presence begs your question.
When we can’t find easy answers, we then must change the question in order to discover a clear understanding. What is God doing right now? Why would a loving God allow COVID-19? I believe he allowed it for many reasons; chiefly, that he is a good God and full of love. Huh?
When God allows our Enemy to inflict disaster or wreak havoc on people’s lives, God plans to use it to accomplish something good. In God’s goodness and unfathomable love for people, he decides to take what the devil dishes out and use it, like a sheepdog, to herd us back into Jesus’ arms. God loves us too much to allow us to keep walking our own, defective way; forfeiting the promises he attached to the righteousness he hoped we would seek.
No one would argue that the condition of the general Christian community and Bride of Christ (the church) is far from what was originally intended on numerous fronts. The Lord cries out, “I’m desperate to save the lost ... but my people are living in sin. They cannot be my faithful witnesses in this condition.” What does that mean? We’re religious to a fault and beat people down with the Gospel instead of lifting them up by it. We’re shacking up or sleeping around and partnering with immorality, fully aware of what we’re doing and making excuses for it. We lie, cheat and steal since it’s easier than walking with integrity. We don’t tip the help or bless our neighbors with abundance when it doesn’t benefit us to do so. We work from the minimum Jesus required and call it Christianity. Good-enough-Gospel. It smells like sulfur to God and the stench of hell begins to taint our clothes.
So the Lord lifts his hand of protection off his lukewarm flock and in walks a problem only he can solve. He gets our attention and we begin to seek God once more. We start praying like we should, loving others more than ourselves and talking about Jesus to everyone since we’ve found out we’re all in this together and some of us are dying.
Is this virus God’s judgment? I’d say it’s God’s correction. And thank God for that. The divine two-by-four never hit us this hard. One final question now: Are we running to God or from him as a result?
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information on Pastor Adrienne, or to purchase her book, “Ask Pastor Adrienne: 100 Best-loved Columns,” please visit www.adriennewgreene.com.