We need faith in something greater than ourselves
The coronavirus has caught most of humanity completely off guard. With more than 460,000 reported cases worldwide and just over 21,000 deaths, Covid-19 has become a pandemic of epic proportion. We are all experiencing this global catastrophe together and separately — simultaneously.
But are people of faith having a different experience? Places of worship have closed, prayer meetings and Bible studies are cancelled. We don't know when corporate worship will resume. How are people of faith coping with the mayhem? Holy books from various faiths are full of encouraging instruction for times like these.
Muslims may take solace in passages from the Koran such as: “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient” 2:153.
Jews might reflect on promises from the Old Testament such as Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
While Christians may find hope in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The scriptures encourage believers to rely on the God of their understanding in times of uncertainty and strife, as such believers are well positioned to spiritually weather this storm. But is there more for believers to do? What is the believer's role in this pandemic?
“As a faith-based community, we have a powerful voice — both a social and political voice, as well as a spiritual voice,” said Cindy Trimm, a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and former senator of Bermuda who is listed among Ebony Magazine's “Power 100”. “We can speak with wisdom into the institutions and systems of this world as boldly as we pray for wisdom.
“Now is the time to lift up our voice and make it heard on behalf of humanity. The world needs the wisdom, compassion, and counsel of God's people.”
History is full of examples of similar crises we have endured, she added.
“From the Athenian flu pandemic in 403AD, to the spread of leprosy in the 11th century, to the black death in the 14th, bubonic plague in the 15th, the spread of syphilis and smallpox in the 16th, the Great Plague of London in the 17th, the measles, mumps, and Russian flu epidemics of the 18th, the outbreaks of tuberculosis and cholera in the 19th, and the spread of Spanish flu, Asian flu, bird flu, aids/HIV, and Ebola in the 20th and 21st centuries, infectious diseases have always threatened to wipe out humanity. Yet we have always overcome with greater wisdom, compassion, and resilience.
“Even as previous pandemics alerted the way we think and do life as a species, so the coronavirus presents new cultural, social, spiritual, financial ... and governmental challenges that lead us again to an opportunity to push humanity forward.”
Believers of all faiths are called on at this time to help propel our communities forward. The best way is to “create cultural awareness and empowerment”, Dr Trimm said.
“Follow the medical advice and health protocols. Information is power. Get involved with problem-solving and crisis management discussions [and] pray. Prayer is not only a spiritual weapon but also a practical weapon. In an age of technology, faith is a spiritual technology with long-term social, spiritual, economic, political and cultural implications.
“Pray for healthy immune systems. Pray for caregivers and health professionals. Pray for our government and government agencies. Pray for a cure, recovery and healing miracles. Pray for our communities, institutions, and nations of the world.”
During this time, we all could use a little bit of faith in something greater than ourselves. Businesses need it. Parents need it. Health professionals need it. The Government needs it. And when this all blows over and we begin the process of recovery, our entire community will need people of faith to lean on. May we each position ourselves to be ready and available.