Podcast: Tim Keller & Francis Collins | Where is God in a Pandemic?

Here is the audio recording of the video livestream with author Tim Keller and Francis Collins from Monday night! Enjoy!

For prior conversation on their convo, see this thread also: Livestream with Francis Collins & Tim Keller - Coming May 18!

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Only halfway through but this is full of great stuff. I have the utmost respect for both of these men and grateful for the way they model gracious dialogue even though they disagree on some issues around human origins.

Introductory comments by @jstump were also very helpful for setting the context. and providing some background.

Looking forward to listening to the rest in the next day or so.

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Where is God in the Pandemic?
Glenn R. Morton May 22, 2020

God is here, even in the virus and even during end stage cancer. I watched the video of Tim Keller and Francis Collins on the above topic. The discussion lacked the personal experience of being sick. I didn’t really see any evidence of God in the Pandemic as they discussed academic issues.

I want to tell yall about my last month. It has had me at times begging God to take me and at times feeling ok. Here is what I sent my doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

April 23 chemo
April 25 went to bed 6pm got up 10am fever nausea, dry heaves
April 26 went to bed 8pm got up 9am 100+fever
April 27 99+ fever
April 28-30 bad fatique
4-28 This chemo has been the worst of the 9 times I have had this Carboplatin (4 back in 2016/2017 and 5 this year). I know I have been spoiled, so I might not get sympathy. I don’t know that I have been as miserable since I was a kid. I have been running a temperature between 99 and 100, high 99.8 I had chemo on April 22. With every round, Sunday was my worst day. This time it was Sunday and Monday. On Sunday the 26th, I took a nap, laid down for two hours and went to bed at 6pm, sleeping until about 9 am. My chest hurt slightly, I think it was my sternum because that is sore now when I reach for something and my joints hurt. I went into dry heaves in the middle of the night (and I haven’t thrown up since college). Sunday the 26th, I couldn’t force much food or water down that day. On the 27th I forced liquid down but not much food, and still went to bed at 8 pm last night. I woke up last night about once an hour. This morning I slight temp of 98.8, but feeling a bit better for now. I had breakfast. I am worn out. I am still not 100% yet. Am I a wimp?

Every round has been a lower level and harder to take. Should we think about skipping the next one and doing the chemo at the end of May so I can build myself up a bit? I always hate to skip but this week has been pretty bad. I don’t think covid will be gone by the end of May for scanning, just my opinion.

to Dr. Joseph 4-28 I think it might be time to get some blood work to see my status. I am still feeling bad and have the stamina of an 80 year old man(ok Im 70, close), Im kinda wondering how long this is going to go on. I called left a message, but that doesn’t seem to work very often.

Here is my history since may 1.

May 1- had cbc everything normal except for fatique Nausea in night, pain in tooth, (weird but just reporting facts).
May 2 david visit May 3 David calls says he has 101+ fever
May 7 David to ER
May 2-7 I feel ok. May 8 99+ fever
May 9 100+ fever May 10 101.5 fever ER visit all blood work normal
May 11 100+ fever May 12 99+ fever
May 13-17 no fever but extreme fatigue and Pain on the right side of the chest all day–it went away
Sunday night. May 18, 100.6 fever at 5pm
May 19, woke up with 99.1, high of 99.7 Normal temp at bed time. Nauseous and in my life I have rarely gotten nauseous–Food smells awful.- majority of my life time nausea has been past 3 weeks. Food smells awful.

May 20th woke up without fever 98.6 F I walked 30 ft with an o2 sensor on my finger and watched my 02 drop from 97 to 83%. Is this normal to drop 02 levels so quickly with such a small walk?

added for this post:

May 20th, went to ER again. Saw same great ER doctor as I did 10 days earlier. This time, they swabbed me again for covid–results negative, but doc said some people never test positive with it yet they obviously have it.

They admitted me to the hospital and rolled me up to the 5th floor. I asked what was on this floor. The nurse said “This is the covid floor”. My gallows humor came to the fore and I asked, "Where is the sign that says: “All ye who enter here, leave all hope behind.” the nurse didn’t appreciate my humor. But as I was wheeled through the door, it was a bit of a dispiriting experience. I wondered if I was going to come out of there. There were, as near as I could tell, 2 other patients on this floor. Our rooms were separated as well.

Debi, my wife, couldn’t come see me, I was alone in the room with the only people I could see were the wonderful nurses and technicians who I came to love, but they were not my wife, my sons, my grandkids. These are the people you want around you when you are in that situation. At least this time I had my phone charger with me so I could communicate with my family, unlike the last time at the ER.

They put me on oxygen, and wired me to all sorts of monitors. I got what I call, ‘the yellow band of shame’ which is a yellow wrist band saying I am a fall risk. (I use two sticks to help me stay stable). Because of the yellow band of shame, they programmed my bed to let them know if I got out of bed. So the first time I got out of bed, the room started yelling loudly “Don’t get out of bed, your care team has been notified”. I wondered if they were going to shoot me for trying to escape. lol

The second time, I called them and told them I needed to go. Because I am a prostate cancer patient, when I have to go to the bathroom, I better get there quickly. After 20 min. of waiting for them to come, I again got out of the bed with the guard bed yelling that I was again an escapee. I told the nurse this wasn’t going to work. We came to an agreement that I would be allowed to do my thing without them having to be there. Hospitals are such great places to lose one’s dignity.

As I settled in with an awful sandwich for dinner, I started video calling my 3 sons. Not knowing what was to come, I wanted to reach out to them as a possible last chance communication. One thinks deeply about leaving this world from a place like this, what I call Dante’s 7th circle of Hell. It is deeply disturbing to be cut off from all friends and family.

All night long they came in at various times to change my antibiotics, stab me in the belly with a shot to stop blood clots (not that I had any), come to take my temperature and they would come to take blood for the antibody test. An infectious disease specialist came and looked at me, listened to the chest. All in all, all my tests were normal yet I feel awful. In the end, they never figured out any given cause for my fatigue and lack of breath but, they ruled out covid. After proving to the doctor I could walk around without my O2 dropping like a rock, she agreed to let me go home. At least my fever was gone.

As I was being released, the covid doctor told me that my cancer doctor here in town had nothing more to offer my in the way of life prolonging treatments.My cat scan showed that my tumors had grown in spite of the chemo–which means that chemo is over and done with. I think everyone now views my situation as end of life issues, not covid, and not anything else. All my tests were normal.

So where was God? He was there this morning to cheer me up in a very unusual way. I have an iphone. Apple gave everyone a U2 album on the iphone several years ago. I didn’t want it, wish it were gone and I hate the lyrics, hate the album cover. You need to know this for background. I found God this morning as an active, intervening theistic God, in this pandemic. I sent this to my family this morning.

If one isn’t looking for God’s comfort, one will never see it. I have mentioned to some of you how irritating it is when I get in my car and my phone starts playing that free U2 album with a song that says, ‘you have a face that’s been saved from beauty’. This is background.

Yesterday my covid doctor told me that my cancer doctor here had nothing more to offer me for my cancer. (btw covid antibodies negative). As I contemplated ‘being on my own now’, and looking at the long walk to get the newspaper, I decided to drive to the end of my driveway to get the paper (lazy I know but safer). When I got into the car, instead of that irritating U2 song, the song that came up was Andrew Peterson’s “Darkness Before the Dawn” which never ever comes on when I get in the car—wish it did. This morning it did. And in that small thing was God’s comfort—the lyrics, especially this part

> So I’m waiting for the King
> To come galloping out of the clouds while the angel armies sing
> He’s gonna gather His people in the shadow of His wings
> And I’m gonna raise my voice with the song of the redeemed
> 'Cause all this darkness is a small and passing thing
*> *
> This is the storm, this is the storm
> The storm before the calm
> This is the pain, the pain before the balm
> This is the cold, the cold
> It’s the cold before the warm
> These are the tears, the tears before the song
> This is the dark
> Sometimes all I see is this darkness
> Well, can’t you feel the darkness
> This is the dark before the dawn ------copyright Andrew Peterson

Thank you Andrew Peterson.

This is exactly like the cheer up I got in 2016 when, the week the cancer went to my bones, and God showed me how Quantum mechanics demonstrates the immateriality of the soul
. God is very good

God was telling me that everything would be ok in the end as I go through this time when medicine as run out of options.

God doesn’t owe me a thing. He doesn’t owe me a healing anymore than he owes me a Mercedes Benz. God doesn’t even owe me love, but he pours it out in abundance in the simple event of a song from my Iphone that had never automatically played before with exactly the lyrics I needed.


I thought it noteworthy that Dr Collins said a vaccine had never been developed in less than three or four years.

Thanks for sharing, gbob. I feel you have taught us a lot about life and how to live. I used to get that same annoying U2 song too when my phone connected, so can sympathize.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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