The Absent God
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1; read Psalm 10:1-4, 12-18)
“Why doesn’t God end the Coronavirus now?” so asks a young child. That is a legitimate question for those who believe God exists and makes a difference in the universe. We know many of the wrong answers – the Coronavirus is God’s punishment for our nation’s immorality as if God is singling the USA out; it is a sign that Jesus is coming again soon; or that it’s God’s plan to teach us a lesson and help us get our priorities in line. How can a virus or a cancer cell appear to be more powerful than God?
That’s the sort of question Psalm 10 wrestles with. The author believes that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and that God is active in the affairs of humans and nations. Yet, the wicked appear to prosper while the just suffer misfortune. The Psalmist prays but seems to receive no answer. Yet, the Psalmist refuses to join the chorus chanting “there is no God.”The Psalmist believes that God’s moral arc is running through history. God will hear the cries of the poor and do justice for the oppressed and powerless. God will revive those who can’t breathe and seek justice in the land. The Psalmist has profound trust that even when God appears absent and life is hard, God is still at work in our world. The final word is God’s and not that of the oppressor, unjust, or a virus. God will endure, and terror will no longer overwhelm us. God lives and we will rejoice again.
Help us to look beyond your absence to feel the contours of your love. Let us trust the moral and spiritual arc to bring healing and justice to the world and inspire us to praise and partnership. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over fifty books including FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC and GOD ONLINE: A MYSTIC’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNET