I have started to wonder if God is trying to teach the world something by allowing the Coronavirus to affect humanity in the way that it has. I know what some of you are probably thinking: Yeah, right. God isn’t teaching us anything. He’s sadistic and He likes causing chaos and watching people suffer. He’s sick. I understand why some people might respond to me in that way. It’s completely okay too. I completely understand. In my darkest, lowest moments I sometimes have thought the same thing.
But when people think that way, that is cynicism, suffering, hate and pain talking. Not a rational mind. And we must remember that God is not like us. He doesn’t have the kind of hatred in His heart to find any joy in the suffering of others. That kind of twisted hatred is a human trait. I have it. You have it. All of us have it as a result of our imperfection. But the all-good, holy God who created us does not.
I’ll take a stand here, and say that God is indeed teaching us something. I think He’s teaching us a few things. I see them in our world right now. The opinions of medical experts matter more to people than they have in a long time. Aside from people who don’t use common sense and who just don’t care, many are practicing safe hygiene practices and social distancing. And they’re going to the doctor and getting tested if they feel sick. That is going to be one of the keys to beating this virus.
God has slowed down our society as well. I understand many of you are anxious about the job situation. I am with you. Believe me, I am in the same boat. It’s slim pickings for this guy right now. But here’s the thing: We have absolutely no clue as to when this will all be over, and aside from using common sense and the safe practices recommended to us by medical professionals, we can’t make this pass any faster. It is largely out of our control.
I am reminded of a prayer taught to me by a very good man when I was a 13 year old kid: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. That prayer seems to apply to the parts of the Coronavirus situation that are out of our control. Mr. Nick Klein was my religious education teacher when I was a teenager, and he made sure we learned that prayer by heart. I’m glad he did!
God has also shown many of us who and what matters right now. We have made a point to care for our elderly because they are the most vulnerable. He has also revealed the character of people. The good character of first responders, doctors and nurses, truckers and grocery store clerks is being revealed right now. They are all unsung heroes. They have my utmost thanks and respect. No one better treat any of them poorly after this virus has passed. They are keeping things running!
The bad character of some of our leaders in Washington has been revealed by this whole situation too. Everyone who slowed down the financial relief in favor of their political agendas should be ashamed of themselves. Thankfully, that aid is finally on its way, but it shouldn’t have taken this long. You’d think this would be the one situation where Democrats and Republicans could drop their pettiness, and get stuff done quickly. Nope. Shame on them.
And perhaps, for those of us who are believers, God is using the Coronavirus to turn us back to Him more often. I know for me, this isolation has often left me alone with my thoughts, and given me plenty of time to spend in Scripture, and allowed God to help me see where I need the most work to be more like Jesus. Greater discipline, self-control, and more actively trying to change my bad habits for starters. But also spending time in Scripture, sharing my faith with others more, and being more loving toward people has helped me to begin to become a better version of the man God created me to be. And this is all because He is trying to get me to focus more on Him than I have been.
I’ll end with this: I know it is difficult to see how an all-good, all-loving God would allow the Coronavirus to go on like it has. But remember, when we think like that, we are thinking as humans think, and doing as humans do. Not as God thinks or does. Which you and I can never completely understand.
God told this directly to Isaiah when He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Stay safe, be smart, comfort each other, and turn to God, everybody. This will pass.