The devastating effect of coronavirus is testing the Christian faith. Matters have not helped with the way the mainstream media have broadcasted and painted pictures of doom and gloom. There is no denying that souls have been lost from this side of eternity and families shattered. Extremely painful. We are, however, told by way of the scriptures that in all things, we must give thanks. We are also comforted by the fact that we are overcomers and more than conquerors.
Christian history is replete with periods like this. Thankfully, we have precedence and so have a road map through which we can at least navigate this difficult time. For instance, the influenza pandemic of 1919 had far-reaching effects. It was new at the time and the medical system had considerable difficulty containing the disease, especially as there was no precedence to fall back on.
In that period of May 1919, George A. Soper wrote about the disease called influenza, a pandemic that wiped out thousands of lives across the world. He wrote: “the pandemic which has just swept around the earth has been without precedent. There have been more deadly epidemics, but they have been more circumscribed; there have been epidemics almost as widespread, but they have been less deadly. Floods, famines, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have all written their stories in terms of human destruction almost too terrible for comprehension, yet never before has there been a catastrophe at once so sudden, so devastating and so universal”. The scenario painted was a big deal at the time it happened. Yet, here we are today, wading through the murky waters of a deadly disease. Looking back, who would have thought there would be a more dangerous disease come 2020?
Jesus makes it clear – the fact that we are Christians does not make us immune to ailments or hardships that come with life. History also shows that there will be natural disasters and pandemics, but that they will come and go. Therefore, in as much as Covid-19 has been cataclysmic, we should hold on to the positives because as dire as a situation may be, there’s always a silver lining. Today is no exception. The grace to survive this season has been provided in advance by the Almighty and it’s more than sufficient. For this reason, we shall stay focused on positive outcomes. Here are some to reflect on and be encouraged.
The greatest gift of all is love. The Bible admonishes us to love one another as we love ourselves. That we should do away with selfish love that does not consider others. The lockdown has allowed us time to think more about loved ones and total strangers who are in need at this time. Individuals and organizations in an unprecedented manner, have been able to rally resources and reach out to them with prayers and made contributions towards their wellbeing.
Tolerance for one another. For spouses and family members, forced isolation has created an atmosphere of understanding and fostered the spirit of giving and taking, thereby ensuring harmonious living within the home. Living within proximity has opened up character traits (good or bad) that were hitherto hidden by the daily exigencies of life. Spending more time with family has been invaluable. Examples abound of spouses and children taking turns to prepare meals. Examples also abound of relationships being healed just because people are forced to be candid within the confines of a home. Beyond this, the fact that parents are not rushing to work or scrambling to do school runs means there is more time for prayers, bible study and intimate worship with God.
Self-growth and empowerment: A good number of individuals have used the downtime to spruce up their professional skills in light of the new and emerging economy. Lots of staff have been laid off and being replaced, in some cases, with artificial intelligence. For these reasons and more, people are empowering themselves through training and re-tooling in anticipation of what is ahead. Some have had to switch careers with the realization that they were overly comfortable in their previous roles. Others have used the quiet time to read and learn more about the awesomeness of God, thereby strengthening their faith for the unknown journey ahead.
Living without: The coronavirus has brought upon the realization that a lot of personal acquisitions were more of wants and not necessarily needs. As such, people are having to re-evaluate what is essential and giving up on what is not. The lockdown has shown that we can lead quality lives without certain things. There is also the realization that worship and the work of God can continue without physically congregating in a building. Social distancing meant the Pope streaming live services and in other instances where a few people gather, congregants don’t have to drink communion wine from the same chalice.
Technology, even though it has been with us for centuries, has been taken up another notch. In education, better tools are now available for online learning. In finance, applications are readily available for transactions without stepping into a bank. For the Church, there is now advanced Church management software like ChurchPad that makes all aspects of church administration and growth more effective. When it comes to earning a living, remote work through videos, live streams and other online platforms are now commonplace. In fact, in-person interviews are fast becoming a thing of the past.
Mother Nature is self-regenerating. With human advancements, nature has suffered untold damage. From the soil upon which we grow food to the air we breathe, to the all-purpose water and other natural blessings, nothing has been spared in man’s quest for a better life. Plant and animal lives have been destroyed needlessly over time. Thank God for creating nature with a re-set mechanism. The natural habitat is benefiting tremendously from the lockdown and reminding us that everything in life is precious and designed for a purpose.
There are many more benefits to what was otherwise planned for evil. Let’s focus on theses. What good outcome do you have to tell? Please share it. It’s a soothing balm on the wounds created by the virus.