I’ve had a few broken bones in my life. I was born with a broken collar bone. Then when I was two I jumped off the bleachers and broke my leg. I have also broken multiple fingers because of basketball and baseball.
Most of these breaks, I do not remember. I only know of them because my parents told me about them. However there is one break that I do remember. This is because it has been the subject of debate in my family ever since. Each member of my family remembers that incident differently.
Here is what we can all agree on: when I was eight years old I broke my collar bone while jumping on a mini indoor fitness trampoline. We were on vacation at the time visiting some family friends in Texas.
My version of the story: All the kids were jumping over a couch onto the couch cushions on the floor and I jumped last. As a prank my older brother moved all the cushions causing me to land on the hard floor resulting in a broken bone.
My brothers version: As I was about to jump he heroically got in the way, because he was afraid for my life, and screamed “don’t jump… it’s not safe!!!” I would not listen. Then I broke my bone.
My parents version: Neither saw what happened but they did tell us to stop and my brother was removing the cushions from the floor because he was the obedient child. I, the disobedient child, jumped anyway and broke my bone.
Only God truly knows what happened that day. The real story is most likely a combination of all three narratives and is forever lost in time. The truth is each person remembered what they wanted to remember. Each person had a perspective and each perspective has been colored more vividly over time.
That is the trick about memory. We don’t have a camera in our heads that plays back actual footage. When we remember something we recall a doctored or photo shopped image—not real events. We remember how we want to remember. This is why people have such different perspectives when recalling the same event. Ask any crime scene investigator. If the stories match too much then the witnesses are hiding something.
Why do I bring this up? Good question! All of us are trying to make sense of the world right now. We are trying to frame the narrative so that we can later remember it. We are attempting to find the reason behind the chaos, and in doing so we are pointing our finger at God.
Here is what I have heard… “God knew this was going to happen, he already has a plan.” “God is teaching us a lesson, we all need to pay attention.” “God sent this plague, so that we could… be closer together, repent of our wickedness, learn perseverance, slow down, appreciate family, realize what matters” and so on.
However, is it possible that God did not send this plague? Is it ok to believe that this virus is a result of a broken and imperfect world? A world that has produced many other life threatening diseases throughout history. A world that has seen its share of destruction and heartache. Is it possible that God did not send this? And that any benefit we can draw out of this pandemic is an afterthought, an ancillary benefit and not a result of God’s forethought and plan? Could it be true that chaos is not God’s will at all?
I would argue yes! God is not in the business mixing up viruses to unleash on the world to see how we will react. He does not schedule euthanasia or mass genocide every few hundred years in order to protect our planet’s natural resources or control the population. That is not the God we serve.
God did not send this epidemic, but he can use it if we let him. Ever since Adam and Eve left the garden the world has spiraled into chaos. It is God who brings order to that chaos. He did so in the beginning of time and he will do so again at the end of it.
This world is not presently what it should be, but it will be eventually. We serve a great, loving, just and merciful God who does not delight in our destruction but desires all people to come to repentance. Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus… the death of death. He did not cause this, but he did overcome it!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” -John 16:33
With Love… Shawn