Faith During the Coronavirus Epidemic
We believe and confess that God is good, all-powerful and “God is love”. We also believe that he is near and that he cares. How can we reconcile what we believe about God with the Covid-19 pandemic that is rattling humanity?
God must be aware of this pandemic. Why doesn’t he come swiftly and put an end to the Coronavirus? Is he on a vacation? Are those correct who claim that God is angry at us and this pandemic is the beginning of his wrath?
I don’t hold God responsible for starting this virus. It didn’t originate in heaven but rather in China and I don’t hold the Chinese any more responsible than the rest of us. But since it is such a threat to humanity why doesn’t God intervene to eliminate it?
It is hard for me to think that God is turning and walking away while so many human beings suffer directly or indirectly from the Coronavirus. I believe that God, in his wisdom, wants all of us to slow down. We are rapidly destroying the planet with our runaway materialism and consumption. We are fast depleting the earth's resources, creating a chain of events affecting the climate and wildlife in the process. Our President and Congress are quick to pass bills allocating billions of dollars to support the manufacture and sale of weapons that harm both humans and the planet but are slow to pass legislation that promotes equality, environmental protection and an end of armament stockpiling among the nations.
Our economic system is rapidly multiplying the wealth of a few people while millions go deeper into poverty. Our children and grandchildren play on their I-phones and tablets like the speedy computer wizards they are but have little time to learn how to be good citizens. At the same time, we are slow to listen to our wisest scientists and statisticians who are warning us that we are fast destroying our planet and polluting the only place we call home.
Possibly, God is slowing us down via this pandemic to save the planet for us, and for our children and grandchildren who will inherit it after us. If we take time during this pandemic recess to reflect on where we are now and where we are heading, repent of our misdeeds and correct our ways, then future generations may thank God for slowing us down via this pandemic. God is like a parent who sees his or her child run dangerously too fast for its own good and reaches out to stop that child from destroying himself or herself.
This is the time for citizens of this planet to slow down and take stock of what we’re doing. It’s a time for us make serious changes in the way we do things. Otherwise we may find ourselves unable to save ourselves from future global disasters. We read in 1 John 4:11 that “since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” Loving one another means taking care to protect our planet and all its creatures, those here with us today and those yet to be born. We can’t put it off any longer.
Rev. Alex Awad, Eugene OR, retired United Methodist Missionary, former Dean of Bethlehem Bible College, steering committee for United Methodists for Kairos Response and Co-chair of Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace.