For many, the last year has been a time of spiritual crises. We are watching the world as we know it changes irrevocably. We are seeing suffering both at the hands of the disease and in the reactions to it.
We’ve heard stories of hospitals overrun, day laborers driven to starvation for lack of work, but perhaps nothing has been quite as insidious as the acts committed out of blind fear.
In recent month’s stories of treacherous deeds done to those sick with Covid-19 have been brought to our attention from our partners in Kenya.
Abandonment in the Face of Fear
Two testimonies of treatment regarding suspected Covid-19 patients have been told to us.
In Nairobi, a man from a faraway village was suspected of contracting the respiratory disease. Hardly able to breathe and struggling to hold on to life, he was delivered to his village from the city. In a panicked response and in fear of spreading the virus further, his people wrapped him in cloth and left him in the desert. Fortunately, he was discovered by Pastor Samuel who took the man into his care, nursing him in the church’s kitchen.
He used steam, eucalyptus, and lemons to ease his breathing and allow him to regain his other functions. As a result of the faith and humanity of the local church, not only was the man saved from the disease but became an active member involved in the community. Having seen God work so selflessly through the church, the man was restored in more ways than one.
In a similar circumstance, a woman believed to have Covid-19 was isolated inside a car and left to die a slow, brutal death as sickness and deprivation took her day by day. When Rev. Stephen Punyua heard of the news, he came for the woman and housed her in a building of the church with seven others who were suffering.
While the western world has an abundance of medical providers, even right now, it’s easy to forget that in many places around this world, those who are sick and afraid can’t just simply seek shelter at a formal institution, some are left in the hands of panicked loved ones who are doing their best to safeguard their families.
Churches all over the world have opened their doors to the sick and dying as Jesus would have.
Fearlessness in Faith
So why is this role falling into the hands of the local church? Because with God they have found that their faith surpasses their fear. It may not eliminate it, but it does have the power to be stronger.
They know from deeply rooted spiritual wisdom that what God wants are a people willing to help even (and especially) in the most dire of circumstances.
While it is a tragic insight into the desperation and terror people all over the world are experiencing in these times, it’s a hopeful reminder of how capable we can be with God’s love guiding our actions.
Fear isn’t His tool.
The Power of God’s Remedies
Within these churches, they don’t have ventilators, or oxygenators or expensive pharmaceuticals. They are using what nature (what God) provides as their resources. They are trusting in the Divine wisdom of the human body to heal by supporting the spirit of the individual.
While different medical circumstances call for different treatment, it’s another interesting examination into what can happen if we support people with love and heal with our God-given strength in mind.
Not every person will be spared, but not every person has to suffer either as these leaders have proven. And while we lose so many things we once valued, one thing we have to be very careful not to forgo is our humanity.
This place isn’t our final stop, but it is a testing ground for our souls. How deep does our faith run? How confident are we in the beauty and promise of Heaven? What has God given us already as a means for salvation in this life and the next? Are we serving our neighbors, our family, and our highest selves, and ultimately, God?
We can look at these stories of horrific tragedies of the human condition or exultant triumphs of the spirit. Which will we choose to model after as we move through the unknown?
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