God is still present

Many of us, I think, are still in a state of shock from the extent to which our world is affected by the emergence of the Covid-19 virus. Many of us have never experience in our lifetime an event that has so profoundly united humanity in our common vulnerability and need for each other. 

For people of faith, the question that emerges in any of life’s important moments, whether considered good or bad, is “Where is God in all this?” As I was asking that question, I stumbled on a passage from the preacher and writer Frederick Buechner. I share it here and hope that his words can give you hope and courage. 


ON THE EVENING OF THE DAY the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists, a service was hastily improvised in one of the largest New York churches, where crowds of both believers and nonbelievers came together in search of whatever it is people search for at such times—some word of reassurance, some glimmer of hope.

“At times like these,” the speaker said, “God is useless.”

When I first heard of it, it struck me as appalling, and then it struck me as very brave, and finally it struck me as true.

When horrors happen we can’t use God to make them unhappen any more than we can use a flood of light to put out a fire or Psalm 23 to find our way home in the dark.

All we can do is to draw close to God and to each other as best we can, the way those stunned New Yorkers did, and to hope that, although God may well be useless when all hell breaks loose, there is nothing that happens, not even hell, where God is not present with us and for us. 

-Originally published in Beyond Words