It’s a question that is asked often in times of crisis; where is God in all of this?
If God is love, then he is in our suffering. He is in our yearnings, our unknowing and our fears. He can’t not be with us whenever we suffer, because he loves us. Anyone who has sat with a sick friend or relative or a well-loved family pet will know that every time there is sickness there is a sort of suffering, because watching someone we love suffer grieves us. We love, so we suffer. God loves us, so he suffers with us.
Our suffering brings us closer to God. He is drawing us to him. Not that, as many people have pointed out before, God would have caused this suffering to happen, but he is a transforming God and will use everything for our good. He is in this moment with us now, leading us into a better love for and with each other. Inviting us into a better love for him.
God then is at the heart of our current yearnings, our pain and our prayers, and of course our sickness. When we pray for healing we echo God’s own call, his voice, for us and for the world to be healed. If God is love, then we can’t get away from him. He is in every moment, every frustration, today, yesterday and tomorrow. It might be a mess and chaotic, but God is in it with us, lamenting and sharing every one of our emotions. And loving us.
Where is God in this?
God is with the nurse, eyes red-rimmed and body awash with tiredness
He is with every family at the Thanksgiving where few are able to be there to give thanks
With the postie who wonders if the next house is virus-free, but has to ring anyway
He is with the grandmother who wishes she was able to call in and hug the children
God is with us in every moment
God is in the chaos of every emergency room and every overstretched hospital ward
He is with the nurse sitting with the middle aged person who is wondering if they will be of enough value to keep
He is with the parent balancing numbers, times tables with the board room Zoom
He is with the new parents, unable to present their beautiful baby to a waiting world
God is with us in every moment
Every time we look to our neighbour and wonder ‘what do they need?’
God is with us in every moment, in our questioning, our missing, our sense of loss
He is there, in our hearts, knowing, understanding and sharing it too.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
Even in this time of suffering, distress and isolation, we praise you, because you are a compassionate God. Your compassion has no limits. Hold close to you everyone who is fearful, lonely and especially those who are already sick. Bring them comfort Lord. For the men and women who are daily risking themselves in caring for us all, we thank you. Thank you too, for the signs of your love and care, for the phone calls and the WhatsApps, for those who prevent a moment of isolation – for those who are daily reflecting your love in these disturbing times.
Hold us close Lord God and let us know afresh the depth of your love for each one of us. Help us to understand how you are in the midst of all we go through, how you know our pain and how your love can get us through.