The recent months we’ve seen all that is scary to us. The locust pandemic that has passed through the eastern and north-eastern part of Kenya, yet still threatening to go towards western Kenya- a move that the locals fear with tightened stomachs. The threats of Covid-19 is now with us, to the warning of a terror attack by the Al-Shabaab in Nairobi. It’s been a scary few months. These are horrifying things to think about, and yes, we are living in a terrifying world.
The question that usually lingers in the minds of many is how do I avoid being a victim of the locust invasion, Covid-19, or a terror attack? Indeed, the question on how to prevent these turmoils is essential, but in answering that question, we instil fear within us, which in most cases escalates to sinful paranoia. The more important question to ask would be, where is the source or the cause of these predicaments? A good scientist will say, “know the cause, know the cure.” So what is the source?
What is the Source?
The answer is simple and yet complex. These things are a consequence of the current order of the universe being subjected to the effects of sin (Romans 8:18-25). But who has subjected it to this sinful futility that we see? God did! Of course, man sinned, but God’s judgement of man’s sin was subjecting the world to sin. Paul declares, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in the hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the Children of God” (Rom 8:19-21).
God Sustains all things
Now don’t let the fact that God subjected the world to futility (Romans 8:19-21) scare you to think that God has just abandoned us. God didn’t just create things, subject them to sinful futility, and then leave them there without oversight. God is the one who holds all that is in the earth by the word of his power (Hebrews. 1:3). He sustains everything in the sky and on earth (2 Peter 3:7). God keeps the clouds and sends forth thunder (Job 38:33-37). God feeds the hungry young lions (Psalms 104:21) and even the birds in the air (Matthew 10:28-30). If humankind is the best of his creation (Genesis 1:25-26), and he has given us everything he created (Genesis 9:3), how much more will he take care of us? So God is working to hold this world together and is working good (Romans 8:28) amid the sinful futility that is subjected to.
God also directs all that is on earth and in heaven. He makes sure everything on earth, work by his command, and they obey his word (Mark 4:41). God commands even that single insect to do his will, and it obeys (Isaiah 7:18). He also sends insects in swarms, and they do as he pleases (Psalms 78:45; Psalm 105:35). It is God who gave everything life, and he is the only one who can take life from them (1 Samuel 2:6). And as long as the earth remains, everything including plants and seasons and animals and even the microscopic pathogens will continue because God has promised so (Genesis 8:22).
Therefore, yes, God is behind the great causes that we see. He is not always the agent by which the great tragedies of the world happen, such as Covid-19, but he is sovereignly in charge of it all (Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-7, Job 2:9-10). God also is the one who subjected the world to futility, because man chose to rebel and not give him glory (Genesis 3:6-7, Isaiah 43:7), but God knew that would happen, even ordained it for his glory. So to answer our question above, what is the cause? God is sovereignly in charge of everything, directs everything, holds everything together, will ultimately be shown to be glorious in everything, and directly or indirectly is the cause of everything, but there is more to the story.
God Is Responsible & Working for His Glory
The Bible furnishes us with many examples showing that God works for his glory and our good even under challenging circumstances. Consider two examples of this. Firstly, The Blind Man of John 9:1-3. The disciples ask Christ, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” to which Jesus replied, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God may be displayed in him.” God is taking full responsibility for the blind man’s condition, but it led to God’s glory and the man’s healing. Secondly, the story of Lazarus of John 11:4, which says, “But when Jesus heard it, he said,’ This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Once again, God is responsible for the suffering of Lazarus, but it was for his glory, and Lazarus rose from the dead.
In these examples, blindness and death or some calamity happened, but we see God using tragedies and suffering to his glory. Be sure that God does no moral evil-sin (Leviticus 19:2; Job 34:12, Habakkuk 1:13, Ephesians 5:5-6, 1 Pet 2:22, 1 John 1:5, 1 John 3:3), but he will use them to bring himself glory. God working for his glory is not a bad thing at all because there is nothing higher for him to glorify, but himself, and he doesn’t share his glory with anyone else (Isaiah 45:5, Isaiah 48:9-11). It is also good for him to glorify himself because it will lead to our rejoicing (Psalm 105:3, Jude 24), because we see his glory and glorify him, which is why were created (Isaiah 43:1-7). So, in the end, the trials like blindness, calamity, Covid-19, are not for our discouragement, but they will lead to our joy if we give God glory in the midst of it all, and believing that he too is glorified.
God Works it for Good
Think of God as a movie writer and director. He puts all those horrible, tragic scenes in the movie building up to a more beautiful breath-taking moment at the end of the film. We know the end of the movie God has written and is directing. We are spectators and will benefactors of the beautiful ending that is to come.
God uses his creation to show us the sinfulness of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, not only did their actions affect man but the entire creation as well. The creation is groaning in hope, waiting for that day when all will be made perfect again (Romans 8:18-25). Whenever God sends natural disasters, they should remind us of how bad sin is and how we should eagerly await the return of the Messiah when all things are new (Revelation 21:4-5).
God is not an egocentric, narcissistic sadist whose intention is to enjoy seeing humankind in pain. God, by nature, is good (Matthew 19:17), God is loving (John 3:16). And we know that God works all things together for the good of all those who love him (Romans 8:28). All things include even the horrible situations we are facing today. God is working the locust invasion, the coronavirus pandemic and also the terror threats for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
Lastly, God brings all these predicaments as a glimpse of judgment that is to come upon to us on those who reject him and give themselves to sin (Luke 13:1-5). Herod exhorted himself before the people of Jerusalem to the point the people exclaimed that Herod talked like God. God struck him down for that (Acts 12:21-23). The people who rejected him during Noah’s time. God wiped all of them by a massive flood, one that the earth has never seen and will never see (Genesis 6:6). When Sodom and Gomorrah practised all kind of sinfulness, God poured down fire and burnt down both of cities (Genesis 19:23-25). Disasters are again just a glimpse of judgment that is to come, and they need to remind us that we will all have to face it; therefore, we must repent (Luke 13:1-5).
We are serving the most awesome God ever. If we see him in his glory as he works on earth as much as it might seem hard for us, we know that he alone can and will save us from all these (Romans 9:22-24, John 1:12-14).
In all these, God has caused the most glorious of things to us. He has caused us to be born again (1 Peter 1:3). We are born of God, and so we believe because now we can see God with unveiled faces (2 Corinthians 3:18). He has given us the right to be called the children of God (John 1:12-13). Are you a child of God? God created you, sustains and directs you. He is the one who is calling out to you by name. Believe in him today, and you will be saved. Regardless of the situation with the locusts and the Covid-19, we are in him, and we wait on him. To come and take away this mortal body and give us the immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53-55). One that will never get sick, tired, hungry, angry or be in fear but always in awe of who God is (Revelation 21:4). That’s our end, therefore, remember that yes God is the one that caused it, but it will work out in the end for his glory and our rejoicing assuming that you’re born again.