I was talking to an Auckland friend today who has been in lockdown for several months. Disabled, stressed, prey to cabin fever and over Corona virus. “I don’t know what God is thinking” she moaned to me. “Some days I think He checks out and goes to Tahiti.”

I wish I could say I didn’t know what she means. Suffering can’t be harmonised away. But one of the plusses of the life of faith is that we are able to stand with those in terrible suffering and say “The world isn’t supposed to be like this”, as opposed to “think positive” or “bad luck”.

Second though, we’re not guiltless in it. Human sin kills things, fractures families, estranges us from ourselves. The earth groans because sometimes we abuse it. Each of us inherits the sin of “adam”: human beings in general, and our propensity to break things. Ask any two-year-old. But we’re not in this mess by ourselves.

Although this world is fractured and imperfect, the God who comes to us in Jesus is the reverse of indifferent. He runs towards us, puts his shoulder to our sins and fractures, and lends us His strength, His community, His faith, His courage.

And in the end this life isn’t ultimate: the whole world will be renewed, and is being renewed, because God has rushed towards us, and pierced His heart that the world might live – and live forever. Courage, then. We have seen God’s face. And He is with us. Even cleaning up the baby food on the floor!

Revd Dr John Fox | Chaplain, Canterbury University