Just like everyone using this time to catch up on old friends, I had just gotten off the phone with a friend. We had discussed all the stress COVID-19 brought with it, how it affected jobs and those who were already looking for a way to survive before this. I myself had pointed out how concerned I was about life after COVID-19; if there would even be an after. But I couldn’t help but parallel this period with Biblical narratives that held didactic value to me.
We spend 12 hours a day plowing for the bottom line- the super fast economy, this microwave-ready food age. We hardly have time to do anything. Even the little time that’s available to practice presence, we use that to take food photos for the gram. Everything for great numbers. Maybe …just maybe we need to slow down and this was the ‘universe’s’ way to slow us down. The universe’s way of saying ‘Enough! Go to your room!’.
The Jewish book talks about a time when man had one singular focus. They were performing a fit no one had ever done at the time — building a tower that would reach the heavens. The scripture talks about how God realized that man could accomplish anything they put their hands to do. So he disrupted them. He made them speak in different languages. That caused confusion, making man abandon his project- to figure out how to communicate again.
Maybe this is God? Or is it?
Remember the story of the Hebrews when they were still in Egypt? When Moses had faciliated(for lack of better word) a number of plagues. The last plague was the one where the spirit of death roamed the streets killing thousands of people who didn’t shut their door and mark their doorposts with the blood of their lambs. This was a mandatory time for families to eat — after marking their doorpost with the blood of the animal they were eating. But they were eating. They were spending times indoor with family. Was there fear lurking in the streets? Yes! Just like right now.
Maybe, just maybe this is to help us spend time with family.
Or the reference to the story of Job where he lost his children, and himself got really ill. They were times of difficulty for him. But it was also time for him to reflect on the quality of his relationship with his friends, on his relationship with the things he had, on his personal security.
In a podcast I listened to by Rob Bell, he said and I quote, “adversity brings creativity’. Maybe this is a time to change our creative tune.
So did God send this down on us? Well, I don’t think that’s the nature of a God who is portrayed as full of love. But like Job’s situation, I believe this was permitted. Is it a bad thing to allow a whole universe suffer the way it has through the sickness, death and loss of jobs of thousands of his own creation? I don’t know.
I have heard it said(and I agree) that nothing is good or bad. It’s how you interpret it that gives a personal context to it. What I know is, sometimes you let the child fall so he knows to be careful. Or maybe, he knows to rely on your own strength.