Monday, April 27, 2020

Why Does God Allow COVID-19?

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 

Seventeen years ago my wife Christine and I went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. Our daughter Kayla had just turned a year old, and we had just found out that Baby #2 was on the way. We were so excited. Our little family of three was going to expand to four! About five weeks into the pregnancy, Christine and I saw the baby’s first ultrasound. The baby was tiny but looked like it was doing great. But when we went back a month later for the second ultrasound, we noticed something odd. The baby didn’t look like he had grown, and he didn’t have a heartbeat. A few minutes later the doctor sat us both down and told us that our little baby hadn’t survived.

Christine and I were devastated. Over the next week we prayed and prayed, but nothing changed. A follow-up ultrasound revealed that the baby had, in fact, died in Christine’s womb. Christine and I wanted to know: How could a loving, all-powerful God allow our precious baby to die? We had followed and served God faithfully for years. We knew that He could have saved our baby if He wanted to. So, why didn’t He?

The question of why God would allow our miscarriage is part of the same broader question as “Why does God allow COVID-19?” That broader question is: “How could a loving God allow pain and suffering?”

First, it’s important to understand that God doesn’t CAUSE all of our pain and suffering. Let’s be honest with each other: Much of our pain and suffering is our own darn fault—caused by our own poor choices and sin. At other times it’s the result of other people’s poor choices and sin. Some pain and suffering is the result of Satan’s attacks. Still other pain and suffering results from natural disasters that are part of the fallout of living in a sin-cursed world.

Well, that’s all well and good, but it still begs the question: If God is both loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t He snap His fingers and stop all the agony?

I’ll give you the honest answer, but I must warn you—you probably won’t like it. In fact, more than a few Christians have walked away from the faith because they felt let down by the answer. You see, the answer is … we don’t know. Why did God allow my wife to have a miscarriage? We don’t know. Why did God allow that horrible tornado to sweep through Mississippi on Easter Sunday? We don’t know. And why does God allow COVID-19 to linger? We don’t know. When it comes to pain and suffering, there are so many things that we just don’t know. But allow me to share with you four things that we DO know.

#1: You are not alone. Of all the promises that God makes in the Bible, guess which one is repeated the most? “I will be with you.” If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, God doesn’t promise that your life will be free of pain and suffering. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Jesus promised us that in this life, we will have trouble and experience suffering. But in the midst of our pain and suffering, we are not alone. He is with us. God tells us in Isaiah 43:2-3,“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

#2: Jesus knows how you feel. In Hebrews 4:15, we read these words about Jesus: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” Not only was Jesus tempted in every way that we are, he has also suffered in every way that we have suffered. So, you can be certain that when you hurt, he hurts. He knows how you feel.

#3: Your pain has a purpose. I cannot tell you why God allows every bit of pain and suffering in your life. But I can tell you this with certainty: If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, your pain always has a purpose. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Personally, I think God gets a bad rap for not stopping all of our pain and suffering. We look at COVID-19 and assume that God is letting all the viruses run rampant. We don’t stop to consider the possibility that this pandemic is a walk in the park compared to the more wretched pandemics that God has kept at bay. Friends, our pain always has a purpose.

#4: Your pain will be over soon. Would you jog 5 miles for $20? Probably not. But my guess is, most of us would do it for a million dollars. Why? The pain and suffering is worth it if the reward is big enough. Well, we’re told in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Did you catch those words, “light and momentary”? I guarantee you: Everything in this life is light and momentary. When you’re a billion years into eternity and you look back at your life here on earth, it’s going to seem like a quick blip on a radar screen. Compared to the length of eternity, your life here on earth is so short. And compared to the absolute joy and thrill of heaven, this life’s trials are tiny.

So, press on, Christian. Persevere! God is good! God is in control, and He knows what He’s doing. Trust Him! You may not understand today, but one day you will.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service tomorrow at
10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Set Free by the Empty Tomb

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36

Last week as we celebrated Easter, I remembered a story I once heard about a first grade teacher who gave her class an assignment that involved plastic eggs. She passed out an egg to each of her students and told them, “Easter is about life. So, I want you each to take your egg home and put something inside it that is a sign of life.” The next day the kids returned with all sorts of things in their plastic eggs: leaves, blades of grass, an ant and even a butterfly. But when one little boy opened up his egg, it was empty. The other kids laughed. The teacher asked him, gently, why he didn’t do his assignment. He answered, “I DID do my assignment. My egg is empty because on Easter Jesus’ tomb was empty. Isn’t that a sign of life?”

It certainly is. And today I’d like to take a look at one of the first people to discover the empty tomb: Mary Magdalene. That empty tomb transformed her life. And it can transform yours as well.
All four gospels mention women going to the tomb at sunrise on resurrection Sunday to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. Matthew, Mark and Luke mention several women in the group, but each time, Mary Magdalene is at the top of the list. And John doesn’t even mention the other women. He focuses entirely on Mary Magdalene. What was so special about Mary Magdalene? That’s just the thing: As best as we can tell, she wasn’t very special at all. In fact, before she met Jesus a year or two earlier, she was pretty messed up.

Now, over the centuries many Christians have assumed that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute with loose morals. But nothing in Scripture supports that. When Mary Magdalene is introduced in Luke 8, we read that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her (verse 2). So, most people who knew Mary Magdalene wouldn’t have said, “She’s a floozy!” They would have said, “This lady has lost her mind! Those demons are making her as nutty as a fruitcake.” But one day Mary Magdalene met Jesus. He drove out the seven demons and set her free. And she was never the same again.

From that point forward she stuck with Jesus wherever he went—regardless of whether he was popular or unpopular, regardless of whether the crowd was shouting “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday or “Crucify him!” on Good Friday. Mary Magdalene was one of the few remaining followers of Jesus who was faithful and courageous enough to stand at the foot of his cross. She was the first to arrive at Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning. And she was the first to see Jesus after he rose from the grave.

This woman had likely been tormented by demons for years, but she was set free from her demons by the power and authority of Jesus Christ. And she was forever grateful to him. She had been forgiven much, so she loved much.

This transformed woman became even more transformed when she experienced the empty tomb and saw her risen Savior face-to-face. She ran back to the disciples and exclaimed, “I have seen the Lord.” They probably thought she had lost her mind again. But she hadn’t.
This oppressed woman had been transformed by Jesus Christ. And she was more in her right mind than ever before. Once again, Jesus Christ had set her free.

Honestly, many of us need to be set free in much the same way as Mary Magdalene. Some of us are held captive by our past. We look back on who we used to be and we’re the first to admit, “I was nuts! I was out of my mind. I wasn’t rowing with both oars in the water.”  And what’s worse, we know our family and friends had a front row seat to our nuttiness. They saw it all! They heard it all! And sometimes we feel like crawling into a hole. We know that we’ve deeply hurt the people who mean the most to us. We’ve burned so many bridges. And even though we’ve made big changes in our lives, we can’t repair the damage we’ve done. We’re still haunted by the demons of our past.

Well, I have good news for you. Just as surely as Jesus drove Mary’s demons out of her, he can drive the demons of our past out of you and me—if we’ll let him. There were likely times when Mary Magdalene thought about the woman she used to be, and she felt like crawling into a hole. But Jesus Christ had set her free. So, she boldly stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. And she boldly led the ladies to Jesus’ tomb on Resurrection Sunday. And after seeing Jesus with her own two eyes she proclaimed to the rest of Jesus’ followers, “I have seen the risen Lord!”

So, if you feel like a prisoner of your past, Jesus holds the key to your prison cell. He alone can set you free. As Jesus himself says in John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” So, journey to the empty tomb today. Come to Jesus and take hold of his forgiveness. Take hold of his healing. And take hold of his peace. Because the tomb is empty, because Jesus is alive … you CAN be set free from the demons of your past. You CAN be set free from  your guilt and shame. Jesus Christ can set you free. And if the Son of God sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service tomorrow at
10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

I Am Not a Fan of Jesus

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

- Matthew 21:9

Over the past several months, my wife Christine and I have really enjoyed watching L.A. Lakers games. Christine has been a big Lakers fan since she was a kid, and she got me hooked early in our marriage. Now, this year the Lakers have been having a fantastic season. They acquired LeBron James two years ago and added Anthony Davis to their starting lineup last summer. Together LeBron and A.D. have led their team to first place in the Western Conference. The Lakers are having one of their best seasons in 20 years.

But I have a confession to make: I didn’t watch nearly as many Lakers games last season or the season before that. And it wasn’t because I was busier than I’ve been this year. It’s because over the past few seasons, the Lakers stunk. Yes, I am a fair-weather Lakers fan. When they’re playing well, I jump on the bandwagon and cheer them on. But when they’re stinking it up, I pretend I don’t know them. To diehard Lakers fans, that makes me a bit of an embarrassment. I’m not a loyal fan through good times and bad. But when all is said and done, I can live with being a fair-weather fan. Because, after all, it’s just basketball. But when it comes to the most important thing in life—following Jesus Christ—I never want to be a fair-weather fan. And I hope you don’t either.

On the first Palm Sunday, almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus was greeted by thousands of fair-weather fans as he entered Jerusalem riding a donkey colt. The enthusiastic crowd lined the streets of Jerusalem, placing cloaks and palm branches on the ground in front of Jesus. And according to Matthew 21:9 they shouted: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Now, there is a whole lot of meaning packed into this one word: “Hosanna.” Hosanna means “Save us now.” Or to say it a different way, “God save us!” Some of the people in the crowd that day were probably in terrible health and wanted Jesus to heal them as he’d healed so many others. Some were probably out of work and in debt up to their eyeballs, and they wanted Jesus to get them back on their feet. And certainly many Jews in the crowd were sick and tired of Israel being under Roman occupation. They longed for the coming king of the Jews to be a military leader who would mobilize a Jewish army to drive Rome out of Israel once and for all.

There were likely many reasons why people shouted “Hosanna!” on that first Palm Sunday. But I think it’s safe to say that most of those reasons were selfish. People were excited to see Jesus enter Jerusalem because, on that day, he was wildly popular. They were getting to lay their eyes on a celebrity. And they were hopeful that Jesus would do something for them. Well, five days later Jesus would do something for every one of them. But it wouldn’t be the thing that they most wanted. Instead, it would be the thing that they most needed. You see, Jesus didn’t ride his little donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to heal diseases or provide a financial bailout or kick out the Romans. Jesus rode his little donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday because he had his eyes fixed on the cross. He had come that day to save the world from sin and death.

Sadly, the fair-weather fans of Jesus would end up saying, “Thanks, but no thanks! If you’re not going to give me what I want, I’ll just pick up my palm branch and go home.” By the time Friday rolled around, Jesus was arrested, flogged, had a crown of thorns shoved on his head, and was nailed to a cross. It was just five days after Palm Sunday, but the cheering crowds were nowhere in sight … just a few dedicated women and one apostle a short distance from the cross.

I wonder—had I been there in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, would I have been one of the few loyal followers of Jesus there at Calvary? Or would I have kept my distance and kept my mouth shut, along with all of Jesus’ other fair-weather fans? How about you? Are you a fair-weather fan of Jesus?

To be honest, there are times when it’s easy to cheer for Jesus and stick by his side. But at other times, it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to cheer for Jesus when He doesn’t seem to answer your prayers and your life seems to be falling apart. It’s hard to cheer for him when your health is failing, when you lose your job, or when your bills are piling up. It’s easy to cheer for Jesus and take selfies with him on Palm Sunday … but it’s not so easy to do the same the rest of the week. Jesus isn’t looking for fans who wave the palm branches on Sunday but take a hike on Monday. Jesus is seeking truly loyal followers who trust him and love him and obey his commands every day.

So, here we are, in the midst of one of the most challenging times in the life of our nation. During this Covid pandemic, it’s not easy for some of us to trust Jesus. Will you trust him anyway? It’s not easy for some of us to love Jesus during this time. Will you love Him anyway? And it’s not easy for some of us to obey His commands during this crazy season. Will you obey His commands anyway? If your answer to each of these questions is “Yes,” I can guarantee you that you won’t regret it. I hope you , can join me today in saying: “When it comes to Jesus, I am not a fan! I choose to be a loyal follower. And nothing that goes on in this world around me will change that.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sunday at 10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

Monday, April 6, 2020

A Wretch Like Me?

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
 I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” – John Newton

Without a doubt the most popular Christian song of the past 200 years has been “Amazing Grace.” It’s been featured on 11,000 different albums, and it’s sung an estimated 10 million times every year. I love the story behind the writing of this great hymn. “Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton, who as a young man did one of the most disgraceful things a human being could do. He was a slave ship captain who kidnapped dozens, possibly even hundreds, of Africans and forced them into the slave trade in England. But several years after becoming a Christian, he quit the slave trade as God convicted him that slavery was a wretched sin.

At the age of 46, as Newton reflected back on his life with a sense of guilt and shame for what he had done, he wrote these words: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Hundreds of millions of people have found strength and comfort in these powerful words. Countless Christians would say, “I LOVE this song!” But honestly, there is one word in this song that most Christians these days don’t like very much. It’s right there in the opening lines: the word “wretch.” 

Millions of Christians sing these words, but deep down inside they insist, “I am NOT a wretch!” After all, the word “wretch” means “a despicable person” –a scoundrel, a villain, a reprobate, a delinquent, a creep, a jerk, a good-for-nothing, a snake in the grass, a lowlife, a scumbag. Honestly, most of us don’t think of ourselves as despicable, do we? We don’t think of ourselves as scoundrels, creeps, lowlifes or scumbags.

But in Luke 7, the Bible shows us a woman whose perspective was much different from ours. If you had asked her, she would have told you: “I’m a wretch.”  And she would have been right. The incident took place when Jesus was dining at the home of a Pharisee named Simon. An unnamed woman who had lived a sinful life came in, walked up to Jesus and begin anointing his feet. “As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (v. 38).

Simon said to himself, “If this man [Jesus] were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner” (v. 39). And remarkably, this woman would have completely agreed that she was all those things: a scoundrel, a lowlife, a scumbag… a wretch. But clearly--Jesus accepted her anyway. Simon the Pharisee had straight A’s in identifying other people’s sin. But when it came to identifying his own sin, he flunked every class. Warren Wiersbe says it this way: “Simon’s real problem was blindness…. It was easy for him to say, ‘She is a sinner!’ but impossible for him to say, ‘I am also a sinner!’”

Until we open our eyes and see that we are deeply flawed and admit that we desperately need God’s grace and healing, we will never receive it. You see, God’s mercy and forgiveness are offered only to those who come to Him humbly, in desperation and ask Him for it. “God, please have mercy on me, a sinner.” “Lord, I know I don’t deserve it, but please forgive me anyway.” God loves pouring out His amazing grace on those who pray those kinds of prayers.

God despises self-righteousness. He hates it when sinners say, “I’m so much better than THAT guy! I’m so much more moral that THAT girl! I’m so much more deserving of heaven than THOSE low lifes!” Bottom line: If you insist on buying into the lie that you are right with God because you are a “good person,” you’re never going to be right with God.

The truth is: I am a wretch, and so are you. The world tries to convince us that we are basically good, but the Bible says the exact opposite. We are all in the same boat with John Newton and the woman at Jesus’ feet. We are all scoundrels, reprobates, delinquents, snakes in the grass. More than we’d like to admit, we are in the same boat as those we would call lowlifes and scumbags, because we say and do the exact same things as them. If you keep comparing yourself to people you know who have lied more than you or gotten drunk more than you or cheated on their taxes more than you or kicked their dogs more than you, then you are going to be in for a rude awakening when you stand before God on Judgment Day.

Whether your sins are few or many, you are no more or less deserving of heaven than the next guy. None of us deserves heaven. Regardless of how many sins are on your ledger, your only chance of making it to heaven is by God’s amazing grace. And here are the “A,B,C’s” of receiving God’s grace: A = Admit that you are a sinner who desperately needs God’s grace. B = Believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. C = Choose to follow Jesus Christ and obey his commands.

John Newton and the woman at Jesus’ feet understood something that far too many of us have missed. They understood that it’s not the person who has the fewest sins who will make it to heaven but the person who humbly brings whatever sins he/she has to the feet of Jesus.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online Palm Sunday worship service tomorrow at 10 a.m. on our website,, on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.