Consolation versus Transformation


Is the corona virus a judgment from God on postmodern culture?

This is a serious question that almost no one wants to consider. Consider this. What happens if you adopt a party spirit and just hang out the way you always have with hordes of people? The party crowd is infecting their families and ending up in the emergency department with tubes stuffed down their throats. The folks that wear masks, social distance, and stay indoors (those that have a choice) are rediscovering family lifehome cooked meals, walks with the family, and gardening. What conclusion do you draw?

Your conclusions may also affect how you read your Bible. Is the Bible a book about consolation or about transformation? This is a false dichotomy because the Bible is about both consolation and transformation, but there is a point to be made here.

Some people today cringe at referring to God as our Heavenly Father. Who in your family was about consolation? Who was about transformation?

The answer to these questions in the Hiemstra family were always obvious. Mom was definitely the one that you went to for consolation. But if we were insolent or abusive or just a pain, then phrase that comes to mind is: You just wait until your father comes home!!! Dad was all about transformation.

Now, my mom was a patient woman, much more than I am, but she also had her limits. Do you think that God is any different?

This is not a trivial question or indication of bias. In the church today we have an obsession with seeking consolation.

Part of the obsession has to do with gender—think of the food fight in the church over who is the most deserving victim and who qualifies for victimhood from the most different categories. Where the Bible describes us as victors (1 Cor 15:54-57), we prefer enhanced victimhood.

Part of the obsession has to do with the selection and evaluation of pastors—where pastoral evaluation used to revolve around the quality of the preaching, now it revolves around who offers the best pastoral care—who listens the best. We want emotionally intelligent pastors with a listening ear!

Part of the obsession has to do with the therapeutic gospel—church members are no longer fellow ministers in Christ, now they are consumers of religious services. If God offers consolation in the context of our transformation, then what happens when we refuse to be transformed and insist only on consolation?

What do you think? Is the corona virus a judgment from God on postmodern culture?

Consolation versus Transformation

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site:

Publisher site:



You may also like

Leave a Reply