Earlier today, anchor Alan Williams of local TV station WVLT invited me to participate in a little project they have been doing during quarantine. Local pastors are taping short video segments of encouragement that air at different times. The goal was 30 seconds but the best I could do was keep it under a minute. Below is my original text of which I only used about a third for the final product. I'll post the video link below as well.
When bad things happen, it is in our human nature to think of it as a punishment. A tragedy occurs and we wonder what we did to deserve it. Many people think of God as one who just doles out judgement so it is expected that there will be those who believe this current pandemic is in response to our sinfulness in some way. While nothing is beyond God’s power, I do not believe COVID-19 is some kind of divine retribution.
My father who is a retired pastor often says, “God is in the redemption business.” That is exactly how I choose to approach this unsettling turn of events; not with thoughts of retribution but of redemption. God can take anything in our lives and redeem it. Our mistakes. Horrible things that happen in our lives. Even things others may do to us.
In the Lord’s hands, pain can receive comfort. Ugliness can be remolded into something beautiful. The bitter can be redeemed for the better. This is certainly possible for a God who can create anything and everything from nothing.
One of my favorite songs called Trading My Sorrows quotes Psalm 30: “Though sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning.” This current crisis is obviously not going to be over in a night, but it will be over. Our faith gives us a vision beyond all that is happening right now.
God is in the redemption business. That is what Easter is all about. We hated not being able to gather together in our churches for that celebration this year but it did not keep us from remembering that it was about Jesus’ victory over death. The greatest redemption of all time that offers us redemption as well.
That same psalm also includes the following encouraging words I want to leave you with:
“Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
You Lord brought me up from the realm of the dead,
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people, praise his holy name.
Here is the link to the video: