Viruses, death, pandemics, food shortage rumors. It’s enough to drive even the most devout Christian to doubt. In times like these it is so easy to be afraid for ones very life. It would be so easy to just fend for yourself and not care about others. There would be an excellent reason to, right? I mean, we could all die tomorrow so it would be totally understandable to hoard the necessities to excess, and not care about what my neighbor may need to survive, right? Fight for hand sanitizer and toilet paper because surviving is of the utmost importance, not your humanity (I have to say, I still don’t understand the toilet paper part).

I have read in the past few weeks that some scholars are likening these times in which we find ourselves, to biblical plagues and judgments from God. In just a few short weeks, the COVID-19 outbreak has wreaked havoc on our way of life worldwide. Governments across the globe have mobilized to stop the spread of this World Health Organization-level pandemic. Tens of thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been infected. Since the virus entered the US, businesses have closed, airplanes have stopped flying, the financial markets have crashed and grocery stores have emptied due to government efforts to contain the virus.  The world continues to reel from the effects of this awful virus. Face masks, rubber gloves and hand sanitizer have become the new norm whenever we have to leave our homes. Yes, things are very, very bleak. So….humanity be damned, right?

There are many bible verses, Old (The book of Revelation is brilliant when it comes to plagues) and New Testament, that reference plagues, true enough. Everybody knows the Egyptians and their frog, lice and locust problems. (Not to forget the blood, boils and other dastardly plague list)Jesus himself even spoke of earthquakes, famine and pestilences in the book of Luke. There will be terrors and great signs from heaven, He goes on to state. I wonder if the Israelites hoarded food and water. Seems like a great reason to lose their humanity, even back then, absolutely.

Hogwash…’s all absolute hogwash. Ridiculousness and scare tactics. The virus, and illness? No. They are all very real, unfortunately. The way that we behave in such times are proof positive in my Orthodox heart and mind that we have taken God out of everything. Our schools, our places of work and even our homes, in some cases. I do not believe God has sent this illness, this modern plague, to the world. I will leave to the experts to figure out where this coronavirus has come from. However, I do believe that this moment in time is a very large lesson to be learned from. We need to reprioritize our lives. We need to find something in our day to day lives to praise God and be thankful for. We need to teach our children all of these lessons but most importantly, we need to practice benevolence. We need to regain some humanity for our neighbor. After all, for God so loved the world he sent his only begotten Son, didn’t He?

I do not and will not live in panic and fear. I will not let the media, the government dictate how I feel or think. I will not lose sight of what’s really important. I am one of Gods children and I am truly blessed. I will continue to find the lessons God is throwing my way, every day, and learn from them. I suggest that you all do the same too. God bless you and keep you safe.

Pamela Poulos (may 2020)