Introduction to series of essays
In response to the COVID-19 global crisis, a nine-part essay series on trusting God in troubled times.
I want God to stop the coronavirus immediately. I’m worried for myself and especially for all the people I love and care about. I pray for God to protect me, my family, and everyone everywhere. But as the numbers of sick and dying keep increasing, along with dire forecasts for the coming weeks, so does my anxiety. I’m obviously not alone in this.
What if God doesn’t help? Already, thousands have died and many more will. Given our experience so far, is it even reasonable to expect that God will do anything in midst of this COVID-19, global crisis? If so, what?
Spiritually, many of us are at the “Help me, God!” stage. We’re reaching out to God for whatever help we can get. Others of us are wrestling with profound theological questions right now as well: “Where is God? Does God care about our suffering? Why doesn’t God do more to help? If God won’t stop the onslaught, what can we expect from God?”
These questions have been and continue to be very relevant to me, personally. Ever since our first child died in a miscarriage; my mother began a long, debilitating, losing battle with Alzheimer’s disease; and I learned that I contracted a terminal disease the day after my first son was born, I have been asking more and more questions like these. Bottom line, I simply want to know, “Can I trust God? And if so, for what?”
I feel the urgency of these questions more in times of crisis, but ask them regularly in Myanmar, where I serve six months a year, where human suffering is so visible to me every day. In fact, the questions are always with me, because there are no answers that fully satisfy me intellectually or that completely assuage my grief and angst. There is so much we wish we understood about God, but just can’t. Yet, what we believe and how we act on our faith still makes a huge difference in our ability to cope with adversity and an uncertain future.
Over the coming weeks, I will be talking about seven spiritual truths for trusting God in troubled times.
- Remember your limited ability to understand the will and ways of God. Take whatever God offers.
- Expect God to be at work in your life, leading and guiding you.
- Expect God to build your character, strengthen your faith, and lovingly restore your hope through your suffering.
- Expect to share in Christ’s sufferings. Expect to share in his glory.
- Remember—nothing can separate you from the love of God.
- Expect more peace, as you put your anxieties in God’s capable hands.
- Expect to be renewed, as you accept your limitations and wait on God.
This series of essays does not attempt to answer all the questions any of us might have right now in the midst of the COVID-19 threat. Instead, they offer spiritual truths that so many have found helpful in any and all times of crisis and distress. They are insights that grow out of the Bible and have been validated in my own experience and by the experience of millions of Christians over the years. They are truths, not because anyone can prove them to be true by scientific testing. They are true because of how they have qualitatively improved the minds, hearts, and lives of those who believe and live by them. I hope you find them meaningful and helpful, and will share your own perspective, comments, and questions with the rest of us, each week.
What are you expecting from God?
Copyright © 2020 Timothy C. Geoffrion, Wayzata, Minnesota. All rights reserved to the author, but readers may freely download, print, forward, or distribute to others, providing that this copyright notice is included.
3 responses to “What Can We Expect from God Now? (Introduction)”
Thank you for this: “Replace anxiety with prayer and thanksgiving.”
What I am expecting of God during this time is to be a reminder of the gifts that exist in all of this..the unexpected time with family; the sense of urgency I feel to re-connecting and re-establish relationships; the gift of time and space that allows for more time and dependence on prayer. These are invitations that He has always sent – I am just more open and available to receive them now.
Sheila, “these are invitations that He has always sent–I’m just more open and available to receive them now.” Well said! There’s nothing like a crisis to wake us up to seeing what was always there, but only dimly perceived.
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