Thursday, May 21, 2020

Dear God, Let’s Talk about Covid-19

Dear God, 

I know you’re always there, always listening. Do you mind if I run some things past you? Things have changed dramatically in the last while and it’s been an uncomfortable journey.

How can it be, that a microscopic virus can bring the entire world to its knees? Killing hundreds of thousands, infecting millions, closing borders and crashing businesses and economies. This little germ has jumped from country to country, hitched rides on aircraft and spread through handshakes and hugs. I suppose other small things also have destructive power. The can’t do attitude, the I’m important attitude, the fearful attitude. But physically, the world has never experienced anything quite like this.

We think we’re so intelligent, Lord, but the truth is that Covid-19 has outsmarted the best of the best minds. Thousands are working on a cure, trialling vaccines, experimenting with existing drugs but the best we have so far is good old hand washing with soap and water, social distancing, and self isolation. Actually, that wisdom goes back to Old Testament times.

Leviticus 13:46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

Is this how it’s going to be forever?

In New Zealand we spent five weeks on level four lock down. My bubble was my husband who was an essential worker, our puppy and two cats. Although I’m a self-confessed introvert, I found it very hard. Days dragged, boredom set in and I walked miles around our neighbourhood. However, there were benefits as our Pastor, Phil, pointed out in his online sermon this Sunday. He suggested lockdown had been like a Sabbath rest.

I can see that, Lord. Our busy lives hit the wall and we had to stop, change routines, re-evaluate what was important and make adjustments. As days passed, the physical smog dissipated and my mind also became clearer. It was like the world was taking time out. Lines of aircraft were parked up at the airport, road traffic was minimal and malls, cafes and businesses were closed. We’re supposed to rest one day a week but in our normal routines, do we really do this?

I also noticed a change in our neighbourhood. “Where have all these people come from?” I asked myself as a steady procession passed my front window. We live on a busy road and suddenly there was a stream of people drifting by. The old and the young, parents with children of all ages, dog walkers and joggers, cyclists and a guy with a boombox. Some were regulars but about 80% were new to me. What has happened to our world that we have forgotten how to take walks with our families and do things together in our local communities?

During lockdown in level four, I missed my family immensely. I missed coffee with them on the weekends, hugs and sticky kisses from my grandchildren, and the freedom to meet in each other’s homes. I missed physical church meetings, and Zoom became a way to catch up with friends and play games with family. It was better than nothing but You reminded me that many families have suffered far worse. Thousands have passed away without being able to hug their loved ones goodbye, without being offered the dignity of a funeral. How shallow my complaints seem in light of this. 

While in Auckland today, Lord, I spotted a seed pod lying on the street. In past years, I would have ignored it. Today it took on new significance as it looked like the corona virus images that continually bombard our eyes. I realised that it’s not the only change in my mindset. I see family differently, friends differently, even people who generally irritate me, differently. Differently in a positive way. We need each other, we need to show compassion, extend mercy, offer assistance and stop thinking only of ourselves. I picked the pod up and put it in my bag. I’ll keep it for a while, Place it where I can see it to remind me of the above.

The world we live in has changed dramatically. You have not changed, God. You are still the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are still the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace and the one who will never let us down. Be with us I pray, as we adjust to our new normal. Replace our fear with your courage, our weakness with your strength and our lack of understanding with your wisdom. And let your perfect will, whatever that may be, unfold in each of our lives.

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