Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord, your God, goes with you;he will never leave you,nor forsake,you.”
- Deut 31:16
In November, 2019, as the majority of the world prepared for year-end festivities and declaring resolutions for the upcoming new year, it is theorized that a virus formerly known to live solely in animals, was discovered to have transferred to one woman, living in Hubei, China. Within a month, the presence of the virus was confirmed to have affected 27 people in China. A mere 5 months later, what started in one province in China, has spread through human contact to 1,846,680 people around the world. Of the confirmed cases, 421,497 people have recovered and 114,090 people have died (as of April 12th).
While scientists are working diligently to understand the complexities of this virus, they are still moonlights away from discovering the cure that could lead to an end of this spread. In the meantime, the remedy is to avoid human contact through self-isolation and social distancing practices which has led to school closures, personnel layoffs due to temporary business closures, and indefinite separation from friends, family, colleagues and other loved ones. In the midst of all this darkness, I've had to lean deeper into God's promises to prevent me from drowning in the sorrow that surrounds me. In Deuteronomy 31 verse 16, God reminds us to be strong and courageous. "Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord, your God, goes with you; he will never leave you,nor forsake you.”
Over the past few months, I have taken part in conversations and seen articles questioning if we are living through the great rapture described in Theology. This got me to thinking of the few times in my 35 years of life that many have questioned this very idea. First there was the Y2K scare at the turn of the 21st Century. We later faced the terrorist attack on America in the Fall of 2001, and now COVID-19. While I do not believe that these are the ends of times referenced in the New Testament, I do believe that we are experiencing the end of an era, much like we did after prior monumental moments in time.
My heart aches for all whom have been affected by this tumultuous virus. I have spent many nights crying not only for my own heartache, but also for all the lives that have been lost. In fact, I found myself continuously weeping for nearly 2 days about three weeks ago, out-powered by the agony nestled within my spirit. At the close of the second day in mourning, I was reminded of the grace I should be rejoicing; of the lives spared, and of the victories that have risen in the midst of so much sorrow. For the first time, in my life, God has physically quieted the Earth in an attempt to have us listen for his voice.
I couldn't help but to wonder if the spirit of gratitude is what God wants us to hear in this season. My sister has lost 2 friends from this virus that she had been in contact with before their demise, yet she remains healthy. My mother was hospitalized just one week before the US called for a national shutdown, yet she walked away healthier than when she was admitted. The vision I was blessed with for this year for my son and I, was to spend more time together to allow us to cultivate memories with one another, and now we have the opportunity and time to do so. Could all this simply be coincidence, or is this God drawing me closer into his will for my life? For all of our lives?
Do I believe that we are living through the great rapture? Fortunately for us all, only God bears the answer. What I do know is that this is the most united I have ever seen every country around the world. Although we are all enduring our individual battles, we are all simultaneously living through COVID-19. We have all had to adjust to this new way of living, for however long it will last. My continuous prayer is that God cover us in his unfailing love. I pray for protection and healing over this Earth in such a way that only His name can be glorified. May He turn our hearts away from sorrow, and towards gratitude. In Jesus name, I declare a new found vision for purpose over all those reading this. May you and your families walk into the new era renewed and empowered to serve your communities while breaking generational curses.
We are all in this together, the pain, the agony, gratitude... Together we will embark on the new journey that lies just beyond the horizon, at the end the pandemic that is COVID-19.