The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID 19) has brought the world to a war-like situation. The world is fighting hard to contain the spread of the virus as well as to find the cure. China is recovering, Italy has been affected severely and it has now spread to over 100 nations. When the first outbreak took place in Wuhan, China it looked as if it was very far away from us. But now, it is right in front of us. Medical and health workers under the leadership of WHO are trying their best by assessing the situations and are constantly updating us with vital information and the best measures that we can adopt to safeguard ourselves from being infected. Governments around the world are taking every possible step to curb the spread of the deadly virus. People have been advised to stay at home, minimize social contact as much as possible, wash our hands regularly with soap, use hand sanitizers and also to undergo self-quarantine if one shows symptoms or have recently travelled to places hit by the virus. Until a cure is found or a vaccine is developed, the above advice is the best and most effective measure in our fight against COVID 19.
In the midst of this exceptional, challenging and worrisome time, it is natural that there are confusion and fear. All of us are desperate and anxious about the situation, for our health, and our dear ones. Questions like what shall I do if I get infected? What will people say and think about me? Should I go to work or not? Shall I go home or not etc. must be running in our minds. We are in a situation where we have more questions and fewer answers. As people of faith, we will turn to our faith for guidance, help, encouragement, hope, and courage. There are two things which can help us in this vexing time. They are wisdom and prayer.
Crisis such as this calls for wisdom to face and overcome it. There is too much risk involved in being a fool. A fool will not only endanger himself or herself but also his or her family, friends, relatives, friends and the community at large. The time calls every one of us to be a hero. Heroes not with superpowers but heroes with wisdom. Wisdom in a time such as this means heeding to the advice given by the doctors and health experts, co-operating with the concerned authorities, taking good care of our health, staying at home, going out only when urgent and necessary, and voluntary self quarantining. Wisdom is also thinking about others and sharing not hoarding. Wisdom is in knowing and realising that our well being also lies in the well being of our neighbours and others. Wisdom is in taking the necessary preventive and precautionary measures. Wisdom also lies in being a responsible citizen. It has been reported that one of the main reasons why Italy has overtaken China in terms of death due to the virus was mainly because many of them choose not to pay heed to the advice issued. They have paid a heavy price for it. Learning from their mistakes and not repeating is Wisdom.
Right now, the situation seems to have gone out of human ability. We, therefore, must pray to God, the God of life and healing. We pray that God will grant wisdom and knowledge to the people who are working hard to find a cure for the virus. We pray for the doctors, nurses and other health workers who are working overtime to take care of the sick and to save lives. We pray for the world leaders to take the correct decisions and steps. We pray for God’s mercy and love upon all the people of the world. We pray for healing. We pray for the people who are undergoing treatment in hospitals and for the nations struggling with the outbreak. We pray that we will be more responsible, caring, giving, patient and sensitive. We pray that we don’t stigmatize or mistreat those who are infected but show and express our love, sympathy, and concern for them through kind words and actions.
Also please note that cancelling church services during this hour of crisis does not mean we have lost our faith. It is not a sign of our unbelief nor a sign that we stop praying to God or that we have lost our trust in God. Rather, it means we are choosing to save lives. Choosing to save life shows that we value life and therefore it is a kind of worship and obedience to God who values human life. We should be reminded here of what Jesus did during the Sabbath. In two instances as recorded in the Gospels, Jesus foregoes Sabbath laws to save lives. This does not mean that Jesus stopped to observe Sabbath laws nor was it a disrespect for the laws. The acts of Jesus angered some humans in the form of the high priests but not God. They were disappointed with Jesus but God was not. When we are aware that there is something we can do or contribute towards the problem in hand, doing it is not at all a display of lack of faith in God. In fact, it shows that we are willing to be responsible Christians. Being responsible is an act of faith. We are not cancelling out God. Our faith and hope remains in God. By displaying wisdom and praying, we are choosing to become co-partners with God in bringing the needed healing.