After going on nine months of on-again, off-again degrees of lock downs due to a viral outbreak (and watching both general freedoms and religious freedoms disappear right before our eyes), I decided to try and bring some spiritual perspective to the table.
I was thinking this morning about the futility of man’s attempt to control forces of nature, over which only God has authoritative control. We flail about throughout our lives thinking we can and should be the purveyors of destiny. Now, hear me out before you protest at this assessment.
We plot and plan from the time of our autonomy to be in control. Of our career. In finding our spouse. Of our happiness. Of the paths of our children. We make decisions that we believe will ascertain for us the best outcomes and happiness.
And even now, we think we are to be in control of a virus/pandemic and how it affects us.
But are we truly in control? And should we desire to be?
Surely in your own life you have seen that despite your greatest efforts to carve out destino (Italian)/ fatum (Latin)/destiny (English), we find that something greater than ourselves adjusts our course. Man makes plans… God laughs. (Yiddish adage)
Yet somehow, the powers that be have managed to convince the unsuspecting that they have the ultimate say-so over the Coronavirus. And that we, out of fear of the virus and trust of officials, need to take unusual and extraordinary measures so that we with them can beat the odds. They have bamboozled the entire population to believe that we need to keep away from each other. Family connections are less important than following like sheep Draconian measures set forth by an intrusive government.
According to these ‘powers,’ we have become Public Enemy #1. And it appears that families and the Faithful may have a greater chance of endangering the masses. How presumptuous to 1) believe they are more insightful than God, and 2) that they know what is best for each individual in both the personal and the spiritual. Somehow, they have convinced us that through their restrictions, we can cheat death.
It’s time for some perspective. What does God have to say about our ‘destiny’ with regards to our own demise?
“Since his days are determined—you know the number of his months; you have fixed the limit which he cannot pass” (Job 14:5)
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die” (Eccl 3:1-2a)
“Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27)
Do you notice the appointment of time, the fixing of our days? God is and always has been in control of both the big and the small things. Even over your death.
Believe it or not, if it was determined by God that you would die of a Coronavirus outbreak in 2020-2021, nothing you do can stop it. Not masks. Not social distancing. Not immunization. Not forced or compliant isolation from other people. Not by staying away from corporate worship. Because even as you follow such rules, if it is appointed that by the virus you will die, then by the virus you will die…regardless of your efforts.
And since when are we as God-fearing believers to be fearful of death?
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8: 38-39)
And if God loves us through Christ, He determines all things for our good. He gives us good judgement (discernment), not fear-based decisions.
“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?* (Matt 6:27)
So please…Don’t stop taking your prescriptions. Eat healthy, exercise. Look both ways before crossing the street. Wear a seatbelt. Follow general safety rules. In essence, don’t stupidly throw caution to the wind.
With regards to the current virus, do what you feel is right for you…not because of the government, but because of prudence as guided by God. Think of what you normally do during flu season. Wash your hands. Take extra vitamins. Stay away from those who are ill. Stay home if you are ill. Avoid being around those who are vulnerable if you are ill. And if you personally believe a mask helps your efforts, by all means wear one. These are what anyone might do to try and stay healthy and protect others.
As far as ultra-restrictive government measures, take them for what they are (as all government interventions): an attempt at human control. We are not People of The Government. We are People of The King. Give God what He rightly deserves and already possesses: Control.
Don’t believe for a moment that you can delay when/how God has ordained for you to leave this life for the next. Not you, or your doctor, or especially the government has that power. Ironically, by succumbing to crazy measures you may or may not avert the virus…and tomorrow a careening car might strike you down instead. But at least you might be COVID-19 free. Thanks, CDC!
So for now…
*Be right with God
*Be right with your loved ones and others
*Receive the Sacraments regularly
*Show love in your little corner of the world
*Continue to live out your vocation so that you can persevere to the end in what God has tasked you to do
*Go about life with the comfort of knowing that God is in control
Death, as life, comes to us all. Though we should not fear it, the above provides preparation for the inevitable. No one can truly cheat death. But God provides the means for us to lay aside any fear of it. Thanks be to God, through Christ Our Savior. May the Holy Spirit guide you in this time and always.
~Pax et Bonum~