Today we are confronted with a pandemic for which, for the time being, we have no cure and no vaccine that can save us.
Unless we genuinely need to travel, like many families, mine remains behind closed doors. That means I can do all the good things I’ve been putting off – or – I could scan my social media feeds ...and I’ve seen a popular meme you’re probably familiar with. It says: “Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being asked to sit on the couch. You can do this.”
While your immediate reaction to this meme may be one of agreement or disgust, reality is far more complex. My heart goes out to those suffering domestic violence behind closed doors, for those suffering mental illness and feeling trapped, for those who have lost their job and are wondering how much longer they can afford to keep themselves behind those secure closed doors.
My heart is with those people – as it is with many others who are facing poverty and inequality. Those without any home to take refuge in, For those not behind doors, but prison bars, refugee tent flaps and slum walls – for all those who suffer now without the luxury of the couch, my heart goes out. While the virus infects people regardless of geography or wealth, our global neighbours living in hard places will be the least able to cope. Despite this, be encouraged, there is good work, being done carefully and in hard conditions by Tearfund’s partners – the 'hands and feet' providing very real and needed help.
As bad as it is right now, even ‘this too shall pass’. The people of faith who have gone before us have faced such epidemics many times throughout history. The words of Jesus provide the encouragement for our response, just as it did for theirs: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31) and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
Ruth Padilla DeBorst, in discussing the ‘labour pains’ of our broken world, said:
“We only have the moment we have, and God calls us to be faithful with it.”
If we define ourselves by how we deal with our challenges, how can we deal with this challenge in a way which honors the moments we’ve been given? What would happen if we switched off our entertainment drug? What deep small voice could we hear without our crowded routine?
While I have the opportunity, I am convicted of the need to use my moments wisely, because so many are suffering through theirs.