Faith in a Time of Pandemic – Wrestling with God

Faith in a Time of Pandemic – Wrestling with God May 20, 2020

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:24-26)

These days we are doing a lot of wrestling even if we don’t leave our homes and are all by ourselves. We are wrestling with God. Many of us want answers and they aren’t coming or we aren’t noticing them when they appear. A child asks, “Why doesn’t God stop the pandemic?” An adult asks, “Why didn’t I get the virus. My neighbor did and we see each other daily.” Another asks, “Did I do something wrong for me to test positive? Is this payback?”

Most of these questions are unsolvable. We aren’t given clear information about the inner workings of
the Coronavirus or the universe, and we don’t know how much difference our morality or spirituality make, if any, in susceptibility to the virus. Jacob wrestled with these questions all night long, was blessed by God, and continued his life with a limp as a sign of his struggle.

Wrestling with God is part of the life of faith. God can handle our complaints, questions, anger, and challenge. God is not interested in lockstep belief systems or uniform answers. God is looking for us to be committed to truth seeking despite our limitations in knowledge and perspective. Without truth seeking and a commitment to facts, we are doomed in this time of pandemic.

Jacob’s wrestling is an invitation to take your questions to God and trusted spiritual guides. Don’t hold back but share your heart, mind, and soul. It is an act of faith to come to God with all your doubts and fears, with all your challenges and uncertainties. That’s what Jacob did! In the sharing and wrestling, you will deepen your relationship with God and move through this time of pandemic growing in wisdom and stature.
Bless our questions. Help us not to be content with easier answers but the truth you give us. Let us trust you, even with what we don’t know, as we embrace the uncertain future with hope. Amen.

Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over 50 books including FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC and GOD ONLINE: A MYSTIC’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNET.

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