“Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.” 1 Samuel 12:21 (NIV)
Life sure is different today, is it not? Perhaps like me, you’re sick of home quarantine and depressing news. You’ve heard as much about the Coronavirus as you can handle and you can’t process any more depression, doom, and gloom. It’s as if the whole world changed in the blink of an eye, and many are asking, “So where is God in the midst of this crisis?”
As a professing Christian believer who has a respectable understanding of God’s truth, I confess I don’t really know where God is. So, do I think God’s gone on vacation or suddenly decided He doesn’t love us and needs to remain hands-off? Absolutely not! But do I understand why God is allowing this situation to continue and worsen? No, I frankly don’t.
But my lack of understanding of some of the what’s and why’s of this global crisis does not, nor should it ever, lead to the conclusion that God doesn’t care or is unaware.
How do I know this? Because of the Old Testament. I love reading the Old Testament, largely because it seems to be filled with story after story of God’s people getting really ticked off at God’s timing and doing something sinful (let’s just say I can relate!).
The Israelites wanted out of Egypt long before they reached the 400-year mark of Egyptian bondage. Sarah wanted a child before God chose to bless her and Abraham with a son, and a united Israel wanted a human king in place of their Godly king, so God gave them Saul, a willing but challenged soul.
In their impatience, God’s people often created idols to find something or someone to worship as they were very upset at God’s apparent silence. In 1 Samuel 12:21, we see Micah losing his mind when the tribe of Dan stole his man-made idols. They took the objects in which he had placed his hope.
In the OT, God’s people often grew impatient, moaned and groaned about circumstances, and all but gave God an ultimatum: “Act now or I’m choosing a better God!” And each time, God just shook his head in disbelief but continued to love His people until it was time to rescue them from themselves.
What we learn from the Old Testament stories is that trying to rush God and/or pretending to know more than God (e.g. assuming God needs to rescue us from circumstances instead of assuming God needs us to walk through the circumstances), is always going to be a lost cause.
Friends, I don’t understand God’s current timing or will with the virus. But the one thing I know to be true from Scripture is that God never forgets us, He always rescues, and He holds us even in our rebellion and unrest. He is our source of safety and security, and maybe that’s one lesson to be learned now.
In recent days, I’ve returned to the 23rd Psalm to remind myself that God holds our hands and walks side by side with us through the valley of the shadow of death. When I can’t understand his timing or purpose, I can always understand and trust his character. Our God is a compassionate God who hurts as much as we hurt. Run to Him. Trust his timing, and never forget that He has never left his people, even in seasons of rebellion. He will sustain us because He loves.
Copyright © Lori Brown, Ed.D., used with permission.