Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Amidst all the chaos, fear, and uncertainty, you may find yourself wondering where God is in this pandemic.
While God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, He allows it. Through loss, devastation, and disorder, God brings healing, restoration, and revelation.
After eleven years of marriage, my husband, Jose, and I had worked through a lot of the kinks with which all marriages struggle. For the most part, we had learned how to fight fair and discuss what bothered us in a healthy way. However, after some serious hurts along the way, we had lost our tenderness toward each other. We were respectful, but in the way one would be toward a long-term business partner- or a subordinate, prioritizing efficiency over warmth.
At the age of 47, Jose suffered a major heart attack. One hour changed everything. In the time it took for the surgeon to complete the procedure which allowed blood to once again flow through his veins, Jose and I remembered how to be kind and gentle to each other. We remembered why we wanted to be tender. We were reminded of the priceless value that the other brought to our lives and we never wanted to take that for granted again.
While God didn’t cause the blockage in Jose’s artery, He used it to restore something that was broken in our relationship. He took what was meant to kill and destroy and turned it into life-giving revelation- that people matter. They’re the reason that life matters. Without them, life would be unbearable.
Tragedy begets solidarity.
On 9/11, when the Trade Towers in New York were attacked, it sent a shock wave of devastation through the United States that echoed throughout the world. Within hours, a public camaraderie developed- the likes of which I had never seen before.
People reached out. First to their dear ones, then to acquaintances, then to old acquaintances, and finally to strangers. There was a camaraderie and tenderness that was so powerful, it would not be held to normal societal boundaries. An aftershock of love and solidarity resounded through the nations, louder than the first.
People of all backgrounds and tribes gathered in the tens of thousands and sang together. We had meaningful conversations with strangers, bonding by sharing our fears and pain. We were raw and real. We gathered all we could and offered it to those who needed it. For precious months, this nation became a nation under God- living the principals of Christ, and through extending that Christ-like love, we all healed together.
United, we heal.
The suffocating effects of the Coronavirus are gripping the world. We all feel the gravity of the destruction of which this virus is capable. While God hasn’t caused it to happen, He has a purpose in it.
This virus isn’t the only thing that is sweeping through our nations, killing and destroying, causing chaos and fear. Before the Coronavirus made headlines, the most pressing issue that we've been facing is living in a time of terrible conflict and division. We’ve divided into political groups, racial groups, gender groups, and countless more “us vs. them” tribes. We’re living in a scarcity mindset that believes the lie that people aren’t valuable if they’re not part of the "us" group.
Roman 12:18 (ESV): "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."
Through the affliction of the Coronavirus, we’re hearing calls for solidarity. Leaders are asking for bipartisan action- to lay down the “us vs. them” mentality to work together and save our fellow human; a call to cease blaming and criticizing in order to do what’s best for people, knowing that this is the only way to create results.
Utility companies, HUD Housing, and landlords are sending messages that they will wave late fees and accept partial payments. Friends and family are reaching out, committing to be there for one another.
Solidarity is forming. We are beginning to unite. We’re remembering that people of other groups and tribes are just as valuable as our own. We’re moving back into Christ-like love for all.
Make it stick.
When Jose and I reestablished our tenderness for each other, we made a vow to never lose it again. Our new priority is to think about how we almost lost each other so we may always remember to be kind and gentle.
We are presented with an opportunity through the Coronavirus- to lay down our past hurts and to resolve to learn how to love each other in the way we did right after 9/11. To hold onto the urgency of extending grace and breaking down social divisions- to release our strangling grip on political separation and to remember the reason that life matters- it is people.
Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV): After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb:"
As we pray that God's Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven- as Jesus taught us to pray, remember that Revelations reveals God's ordained plan and will. It is that all of the tribes- the "us" and the "them," will all be worshiping together as one body. If we truly want God's will, we will begin the work to heal division and conflict and unite every group and tribe.
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