Let Us Reflect the Hope of the Resurrection
By Nabil Costa
The news these days seems like a doom report. At times I feel so overwhelmed by the weight of the devastation and grief that many must be experiencing around the world. According to the WHO, at the time of this writing, over 1.6M people have been infected with the virus and more than 96,000 have succumbed to it.
In Lebanon, we were already experiencing a crisis before the coronavirus outbreak. On March 9th, the Lebanese Government defaulted on its external debt and the nationwide lockdown that started on March 14th has further accelerated the downward spiral of an already ailing economy. While developed and healthier economies around the world are now prepping stimulus packages to shore up their economies and support their citizens during this time, our government has been struggling to pay the wages of the staff at the Beirut General Hospital which is on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight.
I am usually optimistic by nature, but this time it seems that the fallout of this pandemic on many countries will be dire. As Christians, we are learning what it really means to put our hope in the Lord, and this does not mean that things will be easy or comfortable as we are starting to face a severe social crisis.
This crisis has reminded me of many things:
First, that we are not in control even though our civilization has, for a long period of time, given us the illusion of control.
Second, that we are in this together. The virus does not differentiate between countries and ethnic groups. This is why we need to be united in our response now more than ever.
Third, the crisis has made us more empathetic. For example, one of our core values as a ministry is educational inclusion for children and young adults. Being secluded has now given us a different taste of the difficulties and challenges of individuals who lack community and strengthened our compassion and commitment towards them.
Finally, looking back at the history of the Church, I was reminded that it is in such a time as this that the Church needs to be present and visible. Many churches have moved their services on-line when they are able to do so, while others have suspended them, but this does not mean that our faith should be distant or suspended. This is a great challenge to our faith. Will we rise to the occasion knowing the risks and the cost? Will we be faithful when no one is watching?
As we get ready to celebrate Easter, we remember that we have a hope to share with our broken world. Jesus Christ came to give us life through Him in a world that is infected with a deadly virus that spares no one. He is the vaccine, the antidote we need.
No matter how distressed we may be, we can look at the empty tomb and remember the words Jesus told Martha when her brother Lazarus died, saying “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11). Do we believe this? Can this truth free us from the fear that is crippling us?
How can we leverage technology and different resources to reach out to our fellow neighbor?
I am humbled and grateful to see how each one of our ministries is adapting and thinking outside the box to continue empowering the church and serving the community while abiding by safety regulations.
Stay safe and may the Peace of Christ go with you wherever He sends you!