When you watch the news, and you see and understand something of the scope of the human suffering associated, it is hard to think anything good about the coronavirus. Lost lives, lost jobs, fear and anguish, all these things abound. But when you see – and even experience personally – the courage, strength, and good humor of our nation – and even the world – under such adverse conditions, it warms the heart. I am especially moved to see how many people ran towards the danger and not away from it: of course, all the medical professionals and first responders who never missed a beat, but came out swinging at the call. But, maybe more surprising and uplifting were all the workers in our complex supply and outlet chains that have stayed at their posts. Did all those Amazon workers and Domino’s delivery people even know before this that they were essential industry workers? That their jobs are part of guaranteeing the world is able to function? That all of us have food to eat, internet to play on, and appropriate cleaning supplies? I don’t think most of them did. I think they just woke up to a new reality and accepted it – in most cases very gracefully. Seeing that play-out is much-needed tonic to the embattled argument that people are basically good and can be counted on to do the right thing – most of the time.
I believe this is the Spirit of Christ in people. Even the unbelieving turns instinctively to God in difficult times – and this is the clear and obvious result of that turning. Maybe it’s the knock to our pride – the sudden realization that the routines of our lives that we have so carefully built are no longer able to make us successful in the ways we once cared about most. We have to turn to others for answers for how to get through the day. And to get the big questions answered, people are turning to the Big Man. In that moment, when we realize we come up short, and we turn to God for help, there is a golden opportunity for a step in the right direction. I see a lot of people taking those kinds of steps.
Even the rancor of politics has eased somewhat; and though it’s not anything like peace or even a truce, it is so nice to not have it shoved down the throat so vigorously with the nightly news. It just doesn’t resonate with people right now. The mood has changed. People don’t want to hear about hate, they are more interested in love. I hope this respite remains and even grows into a permanent change.
And how should we react to this global change of pace we are experiencing? There are many fears, of course, about the potential consequences. But I think we will see this same Christian spirit rise in the coming months to meet the new challenges ahead. And, I think, when viewed from history’s perspective, at least, this will be a time when mankind slowed down, took stock, and made critical changes. At least, that’s what I hope will be seen. Because that is the great opportunity we have been presented with: to re-evaluate all our habits, including the pace we live our lives at and the priorities we have been working towards. This is an individual opportunity we can seize on, but it is a national and global opportunity, too. I hope we go the whole way.
Lost lives, lost jobs, fear and anguish: all these things abound. And they will continue to abound in our world until the Lord returns. One of the best things that we can let come out of this time is for us to feel more inside for all those who suffer in this life. Not so we can be moved to pity, but so we will be moved to prayer. In this, each of us is able, right now, to take a permanent step towards Christ. But I think, the biggest steps we can take right now are into God’s rest. And in these steps I hope we see and understand – maybe for the first time – that we who know Jesus are also essential industry workers. We know that without the prayers of the saints – which we all are – this world would topple over. And likewise, with our prayers, we are able to lift it up. I hope we wake to this reality and respond to it with energy and grace. That we avoid the question, why me? And, instead, embrace the question: so, how far can we lift it? Because that’s a question I would really like to discover the answer to.