This is going to sound ridiculous, but I had a brief and very real crisis in faith when my dog died. Even writing that seems silly, but it’s true. I’d like to tell you about it.
Sparky was our family’s dog for twelve years. He was THE BEST. Part terrier, part schnauzer he was a mishmash of a mutt. He was smart. He was fun. And I loved him. One day – out of nowhere – this perfectly healthy dog became virtually paralyzed. He could only move his left hind leg and his head. He looked scared and confused. There was little the vet could do for him. It was heartbreaking.
I spent one final day with him alone. He was not in pain. He slept most of the time. At one point, I knelt down and cried over him – praying for God to heal him. Through my tears I pleaded, “God, I know animals don’t live forever, but this one is special. He’s in perfect health. He just can’t walk. Please, God. Please heal him. Give us just a little more time.”
His conditioned worsened, and we put him to sleep the next day.
Two days later I drove my daughter to church, but I didn’t go in. Even the thought of singing songs about how great God is felt stupid. God is great? Really? I sat in the church parking lot for two hours, only talking to God briefly. “God, I still believe in you,” I said. “But I’m angry and I don’t even want to think about you right now.” And I didn’t. Instead, I cried over the loss of my buddy.
A few days later, word began to spread about a mysterious flu-like virus that was spreading from China. The headlines said it will kill thousands, maybe millions, and America is next.
My faith crisis ended.
Our world has been shaken. We’ve never seen anything like this. Some people’s lives will never be the same. One day – out of nowhere – we became virtually paralyzed. We look scared and confused.
And I look to God – the One who created every planet, every moon, every star and every subatomic particle in our massive and ever-expanding universe. The One who’s unshakable. The One who can handle it when I’m angry with Him over the death of a dog. The brokenness of the world is not the fault of God. In fact, Sparky was one of several gifts that make the world less broken. Think of the gifts He’s given to you.
So, where is God? He’s close to the brokenhearted. He’s giving scientists the knowledge to defeat this threat. He’s healing the sick. He’s comforting those who mourn. He’s using this evil for good. There is hope beyond ourselves. There is peace beyond ourselves. There is strength beyond ourselves.
God is good, even when things are not.