You may remember that I told you of how the Lord gave me peace about a funeral that I was to conduct, and how that peace came from the prayer from Lectio 365, which suggested that we think of our place of fear and ask Jesus to bring His peace into that place, just as He had brought peace to the fearful disciples behind locked doors. I feel that it is important for me to add something to that.
In my prayer journal, after giving thanks to God, I wrote, "This is a peace that the world can neither give nor take away". I am telling you this in case I should contract Covid 19 at any point; Jesus promised me peace, not protection but peace. The peace that Jesus gives is not necessarily an absence from trouble but rather a deep peace in times of trouble. The disciples, who were fearful for their lives before Jesus brought His peace, did go on to eventually lose their lives for His sake, but they did so with God given peace.
I only write this because, should I succumb to this awful virus - and anybody can - I would not want that to be the cause of anyone's faith being shaken. I would not want anyone to begin to doubt the goodness of God. God made me a promise and He will keep that promise. I will have peace, come what may.
Out of His love for us, God gave us free will, He didn't want us to be like robots who only do His will because we cannot possibly do anything else. He want's us to love and obey Him of our own free will. Like anybody else, I often fall down on that score. both in terms of love and obedience. We live in a fallen world where there is sorrow, sin, sickness and all manner of problems, but God is not, and never will be, a fallen God, He does not break His promises and His love never fails.
God suffers when His children suffer. He feels their pain and longs to comfort them. I did another funeral recently, that of Josie's daughter, Janet. I saw Josie's pain and I longed to put my arms around her, but instead, I had to stand six feet away. It was awful. God must feel such pain when he sees one of His children hurting another, but He has given us free will and does not take that away. He has to stand six feet away (not literally, but I'm sure you know what I mean).
I don't have all the answers about why God allows something like a virus to enter our world and cause such devastation; maybe one day we will find that it's down to something that we have done, in the same way that we have discovered the connection between pollution and climate changes, but, despite my current lack of answers, I will continue to trust my God, who loved me so much that He wanted me to not only enjoy the beauty of this world (see Christine's blog post on Monday) but He has given me the opportunity to be at peace with Him, in this world and the next, where pain, sorrow, sickness and sin will be no more. Whether He welcomes me home next week or in forty years from now, I will be at peace.
Peace be with you.