Tag Archives: covid-19

Where is God in the suffering?

Where is God in this coronavirus pandemic? Where is God in any suffering?

These are reasonable questions. Here are two people who have been thinking about this.

In an article for unherd.com,  Giles Fraser doesn’t give an answer but says that Christianity allows us to sit with the question, to weep with the question. Church, he says, “remains one of the few spaces in our culture in which we are allowed to acknowledge the existence of futile suffering without someone feeling so uncomfortable about it that they need to reassure us all that everything is going to be OK”.

And yet, that reassurance is still there in “a story that speaks of love as being ultimately greater that death, and as a triumph over even the most purposeless of human pain”.

Read the whole piece here.

For Richard Rohr, suffering may be inevitable but it is also a time when God can be trusted. On Tuesday this week (April 14), in his daily meditation published on the Centre for Action and Contemplation website, he reflected that: “Our knowledge of God is participatory. God refuses to be intellectually ‘thought’, and is only known in the passion and pain of it all, when the issues become soul-sized and worthy of us.”

Read the whole piece here.

Image by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash.

Take your anger to God

We could have predicted it – along the lines of the stages of grief identified by Kubler-Ross – but our nation is no longer in Shock (and denial and action and elation) at the implications of COVID-19. The newness of lock-down is fading and there are all sorts of signs that we’ve moved to the Anger phase: where frustration and irritation and anxiety come to the fore. When there is anger it can get directed almost anywhere – not just from Wuhan to Westminster – and, with more serious consequences, to our nearest and dearest at home and even within ourselves.

Might I urge that as Christians we take the anger to God? It’s significant that in the Bible’s handbook of prayers – the Psalms – the most common form of Psalm is the lament (approx. 1/3 of the whole Psalter!). A lament is a prayer that arises out of a situation of pain or injustice – individual or corporate – where the frustration and anxiety and anger is poured out to God. Take a look at Psalm 13, 25, 31, 86…  It might be prompted by a locked church or a wifi failure or a sick friend …  it doesn’t matter – God knows, God understands and God longs to hear about it from you.

Lament is not a pretty form of prayer – it’s usually anything but polite! If you have an empty room you could shut yourself in to voice it aloud; alternatively you can write a version of your own ‘psalm’. Whatever the form or circumstance, God longs to hear what’s real… and when our complaint is directed to God, then it can become an act of faith. Unworthy as we are, we turn to the God who creates and redeems, who alone finally sorts the mess!

Bishop Jo,
Bishop of Dorking