The Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue asserts that God is at work for good amid COVID-19. The virus “does not change an age-old fact about the human search for meaning, purpose, security, and destiny. We are in God’s hands.”
REV. DR. CHARLES S.G. BOAYUE, JR.
Greater Detroit District Superintendent
I write this article in prayer.
Something strange is happening all around the world that has brought uncertainty, and confusion to many nations, peoples, systems of order, and cultures. The coronavirus crisis has spread to almost every country on the face of the earth. With its spread, it has brought fear, destruction, and death, up close and personal. Nations are in economic distress and social-distancing mode while politicians, corporate, and healthcare officials work behind the scenes to find a solution to the crisis.
The virus is completely re-organizing societies, shifting social norms, and expanding horizons of imagination and creativity around the globe. It has humbled civilizations, challenged established norms, and rendered healthcare systems inadequate. Just about everyone, with a few regrettable exceptions, is searching for safety, and the end of this pandemic.
At a time like this, what are we to say, to do, and to expect? To whom shall we turn for guidance, direction, assurance, and hope? The coronavirus situation comes with unique challenges. No one has a cure, and no one seems to know exactly how it started and how it is transmitted.
All that does not change an age-old fact about the human search for meaning, purpose, security, and destiny. We are in God’s hands, ultimately and practically. Challenging tragedies like those brought by the COVID-19 situation, require not only scientific remedy but also a spiritual remedy.
Doctors, nurses, and many medical professionals are heroically offering scientific, valid, and practical guidance on how to contain the spread of this virus and how to help those who have contracted it. We should all heed their warnings and guidance.
Additionally, we should all realize that health, wholeness, healing, and wellbeing are not completely limited to the biology, physiology, and sociology of persons and cultures. They are also a matter of spirituality and fidelity to the will of God.
For spiritual wellbeing, spiritual wholeness, and spiritual healing, we must turn to God. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28 NIV]
Like all people of faith, we know that God is ever-present with us! We know that, as we work hard to observe social distancing (a practice that goes counter to our established lifestyles, norms, and preferences) and hand-washing (more regularly than we are accustomed), those activities do not, by themselves, give us full confidence that everything will be all right.
For everything to be all right, human beings must reassess how we have ordered our life together on this planet. We must confront the root causes of viruses that seem deadlier each time they emerge. We must discover and embrace our responsibility for stewardship of God’s creation. We must soberly refrain from politicizing the common good. We must rediscover the Apostle Paul’s reminder that “God works for the good of those who love God, who have been called according to God’s purpose.”
As I reflect upon our current situation and the anxiety among nations, and as I read through the Apostle’s letter to the Romans, it seems that Paul would encourage us to do our best while acknowledging that God is also at work among us, working things out for good! God is at work, and God’s work is to bring good out of tragedy, hope out of fear, healing out of sickness, rainbow out of cloudy gloom, and life out of death. God’s work is the central hope of all people who know God.
Our work should be organized around God’s saving action to heal the nations and to establish a Kindom that shall never end – a kindom of justice and righteousness! God is at work today, inviting us to build a world where crooked places are straightened, rough places smoothened, valleys elevated, and mountains lowered. God is at work, creating a level-playing field where justice rolls like mighty waters, and righteousness flow like an ever-flowing stream! A time like this presents an opportunity to change, to reorganize our existential efforts around the spiritual direction of our God who is at work among us!
We must come to a deeper understanding that the healing of the nations is God’s work, and we are invited to be participants in God’s salvific work in this world. Only then can we help usher in a paradigm of human dignity, social justice, and divine intervention that allows God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Only then can the world truly know that everything will be all right.
Only when we embrace the truth — “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” — will everything be all right.
In the meantime, God is with us, beckoning us to come from the darkness of despair into the marvelous light of God’s purpose for us – to have life and to have it more abundantly.