Who, What, When, Where, Why & How
Rudyard Kipling wrote a famous poem:
“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”
The world is desperately seeking answers to the above “W+H” questions concerning COVID-19. Although many of these questions can be answered due to their factual nature, the question of “why” is more complicated.
3 Minute Read
by Larry Dinkins
As I read numerous Christian articles, blogs and watch sermons on our present pandemic, the speaker/writer invariably addresses the questions on everyone’s heart and mind, “Why this?…Why now?”
Nietzsche once wrote: “He who knows the why can bear with any how.” Job asked the why questions many times throughout his book. It is the clearest book in the Old Testament on the topic of suffering, a book where we see God testing and developing Job’s faith as well as demonstrating Job’s faith to the watching and unseen world. God never answers Job’s many “whys”, but instead asks him 50 rapid fire questions, none of which he can even attempt to answer.
God was showing Job that knowing the “who” is far more important than knowing why. If we understand the “who” question well enough, we will be able to accept any “why” the Lord may provide.
In other words, if you know the who you will be able to accept his answers to your why questions and will also be able to bear with any how methods he decides to use.
God Is At Work
We may not know why this is happening, but God is working and there are blessings in the midst of the suffering:
1. To allow the church to burn more brightly during a time of darkness and shine as a beacon of hope and comfort for those in despair (Mth. 5:14-15; Rom. 5:3-5).
2. To affirm to the watching world that God is still on the throne and is able to demonstrate his love and providential and sovereign control over this crisis (Ps. 103:19).
3. To allow believers to demonstrate calm in the midst of panic and faith over fear (Joshua 10:25).
4. To heighten our dependence on God in prayer and trust that he remains Jehovah Jireh – the God who provides (Gen. 22:14).
5. To strengthen community spirit and interconnectedness within our families, communities, churches and nation.
6. To increase our concern for neighbors and disadvantaged in our societies.
7. To help churches and believers reevaluate their responsibility to submit to and pray for our governing authorities (Rom. 13:1, 1 Tim. 2:1-3).
8. To increase our health awareness – People will clearly see the benefits of staying healthy, exercise and diet as they look back on who has been most affected.
9. Increase in appreciation for things we took for granted, like the privilege of going to school or being able to eat out, hanging with friends, or working out at the gym. Even simple acts like being able to shake someone’s hand or giving a relative a hug will take on new meaning.
10. Increase in cooperation within local/national government, political parties and even among nations.
11. To increase young people’s desire to work in the helping professions like medicine, research and social action.
12. To increase trust in God’s promises for believers and a renewed interest in the gospel.
During my almost 70 years of life and 40 as a missionary with OMF, I have had plenty of times to ask the why question of which a number have been answered. Others remain unanswered and probably will remain so until I get to glory.
I believe the What, Where, When and How of COVID-19 will be eventually sorted out, but until then my job is to hold my why questions with a loose hand and seek my best to affirm the sure words of the Apostle Paul, “…for I know WHO I have believed and I am convinced that HE is able to guard what I have entrusted to HIM until that day (2 Tim. 1:12b, emphasis mine).
Dr. Larry and Paula Dinkins served 22 years in Thailand with OMF in church planting and theological education. Later they served 9 years as mobilizers in Pasadena California at the US Center for World Missions. Paula was called home to glory in March of 2011 and Larry returned to Chiang Mai Thailand for full-time ministry in 2012. Larry rejoined the staff of the Chiang Mai Theological Seminary and acted as Director in 2019. Larry teaches seminars on Walk Thru the Bible, Perspectives, prayer counseling and oral Bible story telling. He has four children and eight grandchildren. Presently, Larry is Missionary in Residence at Dallas Theological Seminary.