From The Garden Bench - Questions
Words by David Hollows
In a recent edition of the Friday evening Radio 4 programme, 'Any Questions', this question was asked;
Does the coronavirus pandemic prove or disprove the existence of God?
Currently there is a variety of questions being asked in all forms of the media such as; How long will the lock-down last? How will we come out of the lock-down? Will there be a second wave of the virus?
And many more of which you will be aware
As Christians what might be our response to the Radio 4 question in particular? Do we ignore it in the hope that in time the question will fade away? Do we try to offer explanations which might satisfy others yet not shake our own beliefs? Do we engage in a very positive way with lots of words which offer only a fudge?
Please note that the question does not hint at the usual types of questions which are voiced during similar international issues: Why does God not step in and resolve all of this? How can a loving God allow all this suffering? Is God indifferent to what is happening?
Photo by Jules Bss via Unsplash
These are not easy questions and there are no easy answers especially for people of no faith. However, as Christians we could offer the following explanations from our own faith experiences: There are many scientists who are Christians and God uses these intelligent people to produce vaccines, for example. God cannot intervene directly so He uses people such as doctors and nurses on His behalf. When there is a disaster somewhere in the world then as people move across the world to offer support so God uses these people whether they are believers or not. If God were to intervene then we would lose our free will and God would become a controlling deity
In the Bible questions we find questions again about God:
John the Baptist was asked if he were the Messiah as people were looking for God. (Luke chapter 7 verse 20)
When a man is brought for healing Jesus forgives him his sins prior to the full restoration to health and this prompts questions by the religious leaders at the event about Jesus and His authority. (Luke chapter 5 verse 17 to 26)
Jesus himself asked his disciples about His status; Who do people say I am? (Mark chapter 8 verses 27 to 30)
Paul challenges the believers at Corinth who were uncertain about the Resurrection by stating that if Jesus is not alive then their ‘faith a mere delusion.’ (1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 12 to 17)
The Bible also provides us with historical facts for us to use. For example, the birth and death of Jesus are recorded in the Roman records of the time. The Exodus journey led by Moses through the Red Sea records that the Egyptian soldiers who followed drowned and their chariots are visible on the sea bed. We have two thousand years of testimony of millions of people who have accepted a relationship with God through Jesus.
We also have Christian organisations who record the persecution of Christians today across the world because of their relationship with God
When all else fails, you can use your own personal testimony of your relationship with God in response to any of the above questions. And you can rely on the Holy Spirit to give you the words to say
So now, it’s over to you. What do you think?
You may find the following hymns useful;
I cannot tell ( Mission Praise 266) In Christ alone my hope is found
Photo by Júnior Ferreira via Unsplash
You may also find these prayers useful from The Word in the World:
Father, you are closer to us than the air we breathe, And yet, Almighty God, you are beyond the range of radio wave, telescope sight or radar search. Father, your touch is as gentle as a snowflake, And yet, Almighty God, yours is the power which spoke the universe into being. Father, we know you as a loving parent, intimate and close. And yet, Almighty God, we can never really know you, our imagination is not lively enough, our minds are too small. Near us and beyond us, Father and Almighty God
Loving God, you have chosen us, called us to be your children and agents of your love in the world. Loving God, we choose you to be the centre of our lives as we choose the way of love and life. We choose the way of Christ our Saviour. Loving God, you have chosen us and we are your people; we have chosen you and you are our eternal Lord.
Risen Jesus, where else can we go? For you have the words of eternal life. We have listened to the sound of politicians and the arguments of philosophers. We have been coaxed by the media and exhorted by the press. We have heard the doom and destruction preachers who urge us to flee the world but where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Thank you for promising to feed us with the bread of your presence wherever we travel.
And when our bodies are tired and our hearts broken by the pain of the world, we will know that you are especially close Come near, Lord, so that we may know ourselves to be your body given in love for your world.
During this period of different days we are asking volunteers to complete a survey of how the pandemic has affected people in their daily lives and faith.
If you would like to participate in this survey, please contact me for a copy of the questionnaire. Thank you David Hollows; text to; 07452984899 or email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Signing off; your local Lay-worker, David Hollows