I’ve noticed a growing trend here to think/say that anyone who is not freaked out of their mind is not taking things seriously. I’ve been rebuffed by friends several times recently when trying to offer comfort and encouragement. They hint I must be uninformed or irresponsible. Actually, I’m neither. They don’t seem to understand, the reason I’m not scared and remain calm and even joyful, is not because I don’t know the facts (I do) or that I’m reckless or in denial (I too am careful to keep the guidelines etc.) The reason is that I know from past experience our God is so much bigger than any virus. I also know fear is far more dangerous than any sickness because it renders you powerless, so I choose not to yield to it.
My sweet friend and prayer partner is experiencing similar reactions when she tries to say something positive or encouraging. It’s so sad as I so much want to offer help and encouragement.
Julian Urban 38 years old – doctor in Lombardy:
“Never in my darkest nightmares have I imagined that I could see and experience what has been happening here in our hospital for three weeks. The nightmare is flowing, the river is getting bigger and bigger. In the beginning there were a few of them, then dozens and then hundreds, and now we are no longer doctors, we have become sorters on the conveyor belt, and we decide who should live and who should be sent home to die, even though all these people have paid Italian taxes all their lives.
Until two weeks ago my colleagues and I were atheists; that was normal, because we are doctors and we have learned that science excludes the presence of God.
I always laughed at my parents going to church.
Nine days ago a 75-year-old pastor came to us; he was a kind man, he had serious breathing problems, but he had a Bible with him and we were impressed that he read it to the dying and held their hands.
We were all tired, discouraged, mentally and physically exhausted when we had time to listen to him.
Now we have to admit: We as human beings have reached our limits, that’s all we can do, and more and more people are dying every day.
And we are exhausted, we have two colleagues who have died, and others have been infected.
We have realized that where what man can do ends, we need God, and we have begun to ask Him for help when we have a few minutes; we talk to each other, and we cannot believe that as wild atheists we are now searching for our peace every day, asking the Lord to help us resist so that we can take care of the sick. Yesterday, the pastor died, a 75-year-old pastor who, until today, although we have had more than 120 deaths here in three weeks and we were all exhausted, devastated, had managed to bring us, despite his condition and our difficulties, a PEACE that we had not any more hoped to find.
The pastor has gone to the Lord, and soon we will follow him too if he continues like this.
I haven’t been home for 6 days, I don’t know when I last ate and I am becoming aware of my uselessness on this earth and I want to dedicate my last breath to helping others. I am happy to have returned to God while I am surrounded by the suffering and death of my fellow human beings.
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses (medical profession and government) but we will put our trust in the Lord our God.” It’s so much safer and easier to trust in God, He never gets it wrong, runs out of supplies, never has an ulterior motive.
This is a good time to evaluate what our faith is ultimately grounded on. When all other props are taken away does it stand strong? Does peace fill your soul and dark thoughts flee when you pick up your Bible and read? Do you believe the words written there, lay hold of God’s promises for your loved ones and others? These times measure the depths of our faith.
Is God bigger in your mind than a virus? It’s easier for those of us who have seen God’s power at work, witnessed miracles of healing. It’s normal for us to trust the Lord because that’s what we usually do, but for those who’ve yet to experience these things or who have become entangled in the snares of a busy life. It can be shattering to see the things they rely on disappear. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t receive help from doctors when it’s available. God bless them, they are doing such a sacrificial job on the front lines and are deserving of our prayers and support, but they, like us, are merely men and women and have their limitations.
No need to worry if you’ve found your faith not deep-rooted enough for this emergency, or founded on the wrong foundation. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” You can expand yours, you just need to “eat” the word. Pick up your Bible and start reading (preferably with a notebook or highlighter in hand to help recall the parts that speak peace to your heart, the promises you can claim. Read Ps. 91 daily, memorise it, sing it to yourself. Check out all the wonderful talks online instead of getting filled up on harrowing news reports scaring you with “worse case scenarios” that often prove wrong. (Andrew Wommack, Curry Blake and Jeremy Pearson are my personal favourites for health crisis and have tons of free stuff, but there are many out there to choose from.)
Peace (and healing if needed) are on offer and they’re free!
I recalled yesterday that as a small child I almost died of double pneumonia, so close it could be counted as a near-death experience. Far from being traumatic, I remember it with awe as one of the most beautiful of my life experiences. I don’t even recall feeling sick just very, very tired, seldom waking. In my “dreams” I was getting closer and closer to a place I regarded as home, seeing colours I never saw on earth, in an atmosphere of such peace and homecoming. Gentle music and gentle caressing light bathed and relaxed me. I was in perfect peace.
As a Christian, particularly having had this experience, death doesn’t worry me too much. It means my work here is done, but I don’t like suffering lol. The Lord reminded me, if it came to it, pneumonia is a pretty good way to go, lol! Not that I intend going just yet. I still have work to do here, but it put things in perspective
Of course, much of our fears can be for loved ones or, worse yet, when we have others dependent on us. These are hard things, but I finally learned that my loved ones and dependents are better off in His hands than mine. My love, help and support are limited, His are not. Hard as that one may be, it’s safer to trust His for our loved ones. He loves them far more than we ever could. Wishing you all peace and continuing joy during these troubled times.
Pandemic by Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.