“Just Trust God,” Coronavirus Diary March 16 2020

“Just Trust God,” Coronavirus Diary March 16 2020 March 16, 2020

I do not find the “just trust God” mantra helpful. Anyone who is not alarmed is just nuts. It’s not just our health care situation; it is a fractured economy. Millions are going to be out work, many small (and large) businesses will not survive; countless people will be thrust suddenly and quickly into poverty.


Just trust God don't panic comic


The news gets consistently worse. Some epidemiologists predict that the US is only about ten days behind Italy, where the medical profession and hospitals are perilously close to a complete meltdown.

Medical professionals in northern Italy have already sounded the alarm, with some taking to social media to warn that the hospitals cannot cope.

“The results of the swabs now come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. All of a sudden the E.R. is collapsing,” Dr. Daniele Macchini, a surgeon at a hospital in Bergamo in Italy’s Lombardy region, wrote on Facebook last week.

Then this chilling editorial in today’s print version of the New York Times:

The coronavirus pandemic could soon force American physicians to face a tragic challenge — rationing medical care as the number of ill patients overwhelms the supplies, space and staff available in hospitals.

Today, the United States has fewer than 800,000 hospital beds, about 68,000 adult intensive care unit beds of any kind, and, even with the strategic reserve, fewer than 100,000 ventilators. As the coronavirus spreads, this will not be enough.

If even 5 percent of the 325 million people living in America get Covid-19, the current data suggests that 20 percent of them — 3.2 million people — will require hospitalization and 6 percent — 960,000 people — will require beds in intensive care units for many days. Covid-19 patients will simply overwhelm our health care system.


Just trust God--and watch your retirement accounts disappear


The “Just Trust God” mantra

I do not find the “just trust God” mantra helpful. Anyone who is not alarmed is just nuts. It’s not just our health care situation; it is a fractured economy. Millions are going to be out work, many small (and large) businesses will not survive; countless people will be thrust suddenly and quickly into poverty.

Millions suddenly face unemployment; many small (and large) businesses will not survive; countless people will be thrust suddenly and quickly into poverty. Few people in the US have adequate cash resources to deal with income interruptions.

“The finding that four-in-ten adults couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense without selling something or borrowing money is troubling,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “Nothing is more fundamental to achieving financial stability than having savings that can be drawn upon when the unexpected occurs.”

For these reasons, the stock market tumbles, wiping out massive amounts of lost national wealth. See the photo above of today’s stock opening? That represents your decimated retirement accounts.

My response to “Just Trust God”

So, as I’ve expressed my anxiety about the both the personal and the worldwide impact of Covid-19 and people tell me, “Just trust God,” I admit I see red.

Just “trust God” that millions will not suffer horrendously? As I wrote yesterdayI wish the Holy One would wipe away all human suffering, but that outcome apparently is not and never has been the game plan. Instead, we struggle, get sick, endure poverty, live with often frightening uncertainty, and face both local and worldwide scary forces all the time.

As much as the health, wealth, and prosperity “preachers” want to proclaim it, trust in God has NEVER meant that tough, horrible, devasting things don’t happen to them, to their loved ones, and to society in general.

And even as I admit that worry can be counterproductive, it also seems ridiculous to present some Pollyanish, untrue, version of my internal realities here. I have spent my life seeking to live out the gospel mandates to love God and love my neighbors with all that I am and all that I have. Even now, as my husband and I have agreed on a strict self-quarantine for at least the next several weeks, I’m searching out ways we may be of help and service to others.

I fully want God’s will on earth, but we are a long way from it looking anything like we believe heaven to be. And if it is “God’s will” to pour out this kind of suffering on humankind, then I’ve been worshipping the wrong “God” my entire life.


The best and the worst of us

What I do know is that these kinds of crises bring out both the best of us and the worst of us.

The best of us harness our anxiety into actions that offer as much protection to ourselves and others as possible.

The best of us hold out compassionate hearts for the suffering.

The best of us resolve to do whatever we can do to stop Covid-19 from spreading further.

The best of us pay attention to public health warnings, stay away from crowds, and wash our hands regularly and thoroughly.

The worst of us indulge in panic shopping, hoarding, giving into the kind of fear that builds barriers, not bridges, between human beings.

The worst of us descend to a “me-first” way of thinking and being.

The worst of us try to buy medical-grade face masks, putting the very ones who must have them, i.e., health-care workers, into unmitigated risk.

The worst of us deny the right to be honest about what we are facing.


The holy response

We are hitting a major world crisis, with our very interconnected world, which can offer so much good, now getting ready to take us down on an unprecedented scale. Yep, I’m anxious.

I have chosen to do my part to turn the tide, but I see no reason to pretend that I live out of a belief that God resides some tidy little heaven, and all is right with the world.

I think the Holy One suffers right alongside us in all of our messiness, our fears, our devastations. I also think the Holy One asks us to find courage and to perform good actions in the MIDST of our fears, not to pretend such fears don’t exist.

My rabid $.02 for the day.


Photo credits: ID 108509898 © Igor Sapozhkov | Dreamstime.com, © Christy Thomas, TV screenshot March 16, 2020


 


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