The coronavirus pandemic is uppermost in virtually all our minds right now. Not just because the bug can make us ill. Hospitals are already overworked, but they’re also quickly becoming understaffed as schools close in the face of the crisis. Ending a sports season before it starts hurts the income-producing ability of everyone from hot dog vendors and ticket sellers to sports franchises. It’s hurt me financially, too. When a medical conference is canceled, doctors don’t need my medical writing services to create their abstracts, posters, or PowerPoint presentations.
Everything has a trickle-down effect.
In the midst of this, how should we respond as Christians? In the past week, I’ve seen and read about random acts of hate for people who’ve lived in the U.S. for ages but happen to have almond skin and different eye folds than we do. Racism is not an acceptable channel for anger. Misplaced intentions in blithely bandying Bible verses can cause harm as well.
As someone who’s worked in health care for three decades, I have my opinions about where COVID-19 came from, what it’s capable of, and what we should do about it.
Know what? That doesn’t matter.
I could dish out sound advice about preventive measures. I could quote morbidity and mortality statistics. I could recite how coronavirus symptoms differ from flu symptoms. Maybe a few people would listen. Maybe people are already listening to so much coronavirus noise that we’re forgetting what’s most important.
Here are my two cents about that.
I’m praying the extra at-home time will bring families closer together. I’m praying that shuttering houses of worship will re-ignite people with their God-instilled yearning for fellowship. I’m praying that imposed limitations—discretionary or mandatory—will serve as a springboard for creativity and compassion. Creativity in getting food to people that need it. Creativity in continuing school lessons under less-than-ideal circumstances. Compassion for people like we saw post-9/11.
Glimmers of this are emerging. I pray they blossom and grow exponentially like we saw after 9/11.
Most of all, I pray that we individually and corporately humble ourselves to acknowledge Who really is in charge. Will it take a catastrophe to regain the right perspective on that? Sometimes only a big jolt can cause a spiritual course correction. Regardless, I pray we can see that, with God’s guidance, good really can come from a bad situation—and we can have a hand in the good.