The Pandemic Solution: Look to God’s Promises
The wave upon wave of the coronavirus pandemic has caused so much disruption in every country, every family, our very Church life, driving us into a totally artificial way of living with our utter dependence on technology for communication and whatever!
We have brilliant scientists, doctors, even politicians and a million “wise men” seeking the solution that will heal our people and our land. They insist there must be a solution — but are we looking in the right direction?
“See the wonders that surround us, and the truths that still confound us. Most of all, that Love has found us, thanks be to God,” as the hymnodist Fred Pratt Green put it.
Now, if there is a solution, then we need to turn to God’s love and mercy. So I turned to Sacred Scripture – to God’s word and promises.
Look to God’s Promises
And behold! There it is: as clear as the sunlight.
From the prophet Zechariah: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, return to me and I will return to you” (1:3). And: “If you return from your sinful ways, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to inflict on you” (Jeremiah18:8, also 26:3 and Jonah 3:10).
However, “if my people humble themselves, pray and seek my face…then I will hear their cries, forgive their sins and heal their land!” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Hosea tells us that we have fallen prey (to this epidemic) “because of your iniquities” (14:2). Therefore, “unless you repent — with sincere hearts — you will all perish as they did” (Luke 13:5).
Yet, God in his great mercy and infinite patience “overlooks your time of ignorance, and commends all people everywhere to repent” (Acts17:30) — not by tearing your garments but your very heart, “for He is all tenderness and compassion, abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:13).
God gives us this assurance of his mighty power over all disasters saying: “I can dispel your faults [or your corona] like a cloud, and your sins like a mist for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).
It is in His word and promises that I have found the only reliable solution: and that is Repentance!
But we are challenged by the free will of man, blind, deaf and arrogant despite all God’s kindness and unending patience. “Have I any pleasure in the death of a sinner? No, rather that he should turn from his ways — and live” (Ezekiel 18:23). God sadly adds: “I have given her time to reform [repent]…but she has refused” (Revelation 2:21).
There is a consoling word in the book of Revelation: “Now think of where you were before this [corona pandemic]. Repent, and be as you were before” (2:5).
I see no other permanent solution to our worldwide crisis. Would you agree?
Fr Ralph de Hahn is a priest of the archdiocese of Cape Town.