Never in our collective memory as a country, or even in the world, has Easter arrived at the same time as a disease that is killing thousands. Having just buried my mom in late February, I can’t imagine the compounded grief and loss of losing a loved one to the virus and then being banned from attending a burial. As my brothers and I were the last to leave the tented space over my mother’s coffin at the close of the service, I reached out and touched the polished wood, my last contact with the woman who gave her life for me in so many ways.
Covid-19 is killing not just thousands but it’s severing hearts from necessary traditions for healing. My heart hurts for the unnamed multitudes who are quarantined, alone, isolated and dying with no one familiar or loved one near them. Imagine barely breathing, aching and seeing through watery eyes human shapes moving around as aliens in space suits who because of the explosion of cases must hurry in and out.
In the darkest moments of life, when it feels God doesn’t care, it is then He is most ready to be seen, if we will watch for Him.
Missionary friends of ours live and work 30 miles from the Italian border. They have been living with strict quarantine rules longer than we have in America. Last week they wrote:
Italy is in crisis! I want to send you some shocking words from an Italian hospital doctor, but also amazing news of God at work!
This is from the doctor in Italy: “I never imagined … we are no longer doctors but deciders of who should live and who will be sent home to die. Until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists. We doctors were convinced that science excludes the presence of God.
Nine days ago a 75-year-old priest came to us with serious breathing problems and a Bible. He read the Bible to the dying and held their hands. We doctors were exhausted and discouraged but we were listening to him. We humans had reached our limits. I haven’t been home for six days and don’t remember when I last ate. Two of our colleagues have died.
We realized we DO need God. We started asking for help from Him when we had a few minutes. We can’t believe that as furious atheists we are now every day asking the Lord to help us.
Yesterday the priest died. In spite of 120 deaths in three weeks at our hospital, in spite of our exhaustion and in spite of the priest’s condition, he managed to bring us peace that we never hoped to find. I want to take my last breath helping others. I am happy to have returned to God in the midst of the suffering and death of my fellow men.”
THIS is the message of Easter!
When it appears as if God doesn’t care about our problems, when we can’t see any evidence of God’s presence at all, He is still at work. Jesus died utterly alone … completely abandoned. We know because He cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
Because Jesus died alone we will never be abandoned. His presence will be with us even if we contract the virus and are subjected to quarantine and even dying alone.
Palm Sunday is just days away. Easter will arrive this year with the message of the gospel more relevant than ever! God has His priests everywhere! As 1 Peter 2:9 tells us, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” And some priests or caregivers could be angels, “ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation,” (Hebrews 1:14).
We can’t go near the sick and dying, but God can. He has ways we know nothing about.
And we can pray as never before for every heart to be turned to Jesus and surrendered to His authority and salvation. For then we can know His “I will never leave you or forsake you,” presence. Then “we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man [or virus] do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).
Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!
May you become #easterpeople for whom the cross is everything.
7 thoughts on “People Are Dying … Alone … Where Is God?”
Thank you for your uplifting words, even when you are in the midst of mourning the death of your Mom. My friend Karen’s husband died last week and she cannot even have family near her as they live in another state and there are too many restrictions on travel. Nor can she have a memorial service at this time due to social distancing. I feel so blessed to have been able to have family surrounding me last summer when my husband went to be with Jesus and to gather together at our church to draw comfort from God’s word. God bless you and keep you and hold you in His everlasting arms.
thank you for writing. I’m so sorry for your friend Karen. I simply cannot imagine though sadly many others can. She is not the only one. I’m sorry too you have lost your husband. Another loss I do not know but Jesus does; He is always with us and that is a great comfort to you too it seems.
My condolences to you in the loss of your mom. I lost my Mom two years ago and, like, you, I can’t imagine not being able to be there with her those last few days. My sisters and I, along with our husbands, gathered around her bed and I held her hand as she crossed the finish line. I saw the light go out of her eyes and knew that she was with Jesus at that exact same instant. Behold, (Then Sings My Soul) by Hillsong was playing and all I could think of was that she finally home and in the arms of her Lord and Saviour. I wrote and gave her Tribute/Eulogy and was comforted by sharing her life story. I drew strength from the 100+ people who came to her memorial. Again, I, like you, cannot imagine being deprived of that. Praying for those who’ve had to enduring that type of grief. May our Great God comfort them and have mercy on them.
Well said and beautifully shared. Thank you so much, and for putting the current situation in a biblical perspective while reminding us of the hope we have in Jesus!!
In death, there can be life. Thank the Lord for the priest who shared his faith, gave his ventilator to someone younger and went to be with Jesus. Some say a sacrifice, but the benefit? He is with Jesus. And he led others during the time he was dying.
Awesome! Thank God for always being with us all! Amen
Thanking God for His constant reminder and unconditional love. So true to be plugged, it is only God’s word and true relationship with Him that gives the kind of peace that dying man felt. This story brings so much joy to hurting and fearful hearts. Thank you for sharing.