“Is God Angry With Us?” This is the question that began a comment posted on my blog. It is an important question. It is a question a lot of people may be asking. I think the best way to begin this is by quoting the comment Wanda sent to me because I think it expresses a lot of what we might all be thinking. So, I thank Wanda for her comment.
“Is God angry with us? Between COVID19, the economy and loss of jobs along with people truly needing food and unable to afford it, along with the murder of George Floyd and justified public unrest, it feels like God is either punishing us or has turned his back on us. Please help us understand these heart wrenching current events and how our faith can help us deal with all of this. I know He loves us but with all current global events, I feel abandoned. Thank you for your guidance.”
So, is God angry with us? Does He have reason to be? In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep me commandments.” Our society is not doing well in keeping the commandments. Many don’t even try. Some have even rejected the commandments. God does not give us the commandments for his benefit. He doesn’t gain anything by it. God gives us the commandments for our benefit because He loves us. If God were like us, I think He would have every reason to be angry.
Yet, we must remember God is willing to forgive. We think He wants to punish us. He allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices, our sins, so that we can learn from them. People think of God in the Old Testament as a punishing God. However, every time the people repented and called out to God, He rescued them. There is no limit to God’s love. Jesus shows this to us in the way He lives out John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, to lay one’s life for one’s friends.” (For more on our struggle to forgive and to feel forgiven, see my presentation, Why Is It So Hard to Forgive?)
So why is there the Coronavirus? Did God cause it? It is causing much suffering with the illness itself, the shutdown costing jobs, and people struggling to have enough food and to pay their bills. Why does evil happen? I don’t know if God caused the virus. I tend not to think that. The Coronavirus is a mutation of a previous virus. These mutations can happen naturally. However, I think God is using the Coronavirus to get our attention.
God is active in the response to the Coronavirus. Wanda mentioned people not having enough food. There I think of the love I have seen in how many people are donating food to local food pantries. I have seen stories of youth having food drives. I saw that a youth this week took up a food drive for his birthday and gave the food to the local pantry. This is what it means to love our neighbors. We love because we are first loved by God. (see my article “Where is God’s Hand in the Coronavirus?”)
What about the murder of Mr. George Floyd? God did not cause that. That was a human choice. However, the response of peaceful protesters is beginning to bring change for the better. This does not justify the murder but the fact that change is beginning to happen gives us hope for a better future. We should be sad over what has happened. However, if we only look at this one act, we might lose hope. God sees the big picture. God knows how to change things. We need to listen to God. We need to be a voice for what is right in God’s eyes. This is a stressful time. That affects us (see my article “A Stressful Time”). The stress affects how we deal with things. We cannot handle it on our own. We need God.
Has God turned his back on us? Has God abandoned us?
God does not turn his back on his people. If you read the Old Testament, there are multiple times when God stepped back from his people, not because He wanted to. No, it was the people who had abandoned God. He allowed them to do that. He allows people today to make their own choices. We call it free will. However, whenever the people repented, God rescued them. This is what gives us the hope we really need.
We should be able to count on others. We should be able to have human hope in others. We should help one another. We should love as God calls us to love but our true hope is not dependent on other people. Our true hope is in God. Jesus is the one who is our savior (see my article, “Who is Our Savior?”).
These are challenging times. We don’t understand. We live in the here and now. Many people have lost any sense of the transcendent, that there is more than what we see in this world, there is a God who loves us. I know it is hard because I share the struggle. I would love to fix everything. Yet, I don’t know how. God does not ask any single one of us to fix it all but He does ask each of us to do our part. Then, God will multiple our efforts thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.
God will not abandon us.