Our various perspectives—points of view—cause different reactions to big happenings in the world and in life, including COVID-19. The different reactions seem dependent on our age, where we live, our life experiences, and our spirituality. I’ll touch some on age, geography, and life-experiences, before focusing most on spirituality.
It seems to me quite a few older people are not very cautious in the face of COVID-19, considering that the effects upon them would likely be more adverse. Is this, in part, because they have seen more in life, therefore they have the sense that “this too shall pass,” and “well, we won’t live forever, at least here on earth?” Geographically, it’s natural that people in northern Italy or in New York City will be more concerned about catching COVID-19 than people in rural areas of the Midwest. Life-experiences also have a big impact on perspective. Through my New Roots Ministry work, I know a few Liberians who lived in Ebola-stricken west Africa, or who lost loved ones who lived there. COVID-19 is not so scary to them, considering that its mortality rate is about 3.4%, compared to 60% for Ebola. As well, people who have been refugees or asylum-seekers have experienced hardships beyond what many of us life-long Americans can imagine, so the risk of a disease like COVID-19 does not frighten them as much. As well, regarding boredom and the challenges of self-isolation, as I video chat with my new friend, Bashir, who lives in Damascus, the capital of war-torn Syria, or visit with my friend, Dawit, who lived as an Eritrean refugee in Sudan for several years, boredom and being apart from loved ones, in their cases, within the context of danger and poverty, are just part of the routine. They say, “So don’t get so worked up.”
Our spiritual perspective is definitely a cause for varying reactions to COVID-19. Not only have I heard older people say, “well, we won’t live forever,” but I hear believers in God say this, too. That comes from reading the assurances of Romans 8:38-39 and Philippians 1:21, respectively: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord;” “for to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Not that we should be recklessly seeking death, but at least we can know that no matter what, I am good in God.
I hear believers in God expressing hope that non-believers will open up, through COVID-19, to the reality of God, His grace, and the life He has for them. They are therefore praying for “new life” for some, and a “re-newal” for their churches to share the Gospel as they pray for the lost.
This article is not to make light of the gravity of the coronavirus/COVID-19 for you, depending on how you are feeling. If you are frightened by it, your feelings are valid, no matter where you live or how old you are. But again, your perspective, your point of view, will likely make a big difference on how you handle it, and one perspective that each of us can have is a special, trusting-relationship with God, in which we can know that He loves us, He cares about us, and He has a place for us at His eternal dining table. To learn more about that vantage-point, click here: http://peacewithinreach.com/searching-consider-this/.