This may not apply to you, but it does for many. In the 21st century Canada, we have a sense of medical entitlement. We expect good health to be our norm. At least three reasons make it so. We have enjoyed the marvels of modern medicine. We have a universal health system that excels so much, we take it for granted. And ultimately, we have been largely immune to the pandemic crisis. Not any more.
The current pandemic seems out of place for our modern context. Of course, we’ve had waves of flu, smallpox, polio and more recently SARs - but previous national health crises are largely in our history books. We’ve had the privilege of reading the medical history but remaining untouched by it. But as I say, not anymore. We’ve been shook by fear of catching Covid 19. Some are offended by the restrictions of self distancing. We all cringe at the economic impact on jobs, businesses and pensions. We’ve had to re-arrange the patterns of worship. We stare at four walls and long to connect with family and friends again. All of this stirs up anxiety, fear, anger and confusion. Our sense of privilege and entitlement is waning. We face new territory, which for most of us is unfamiliar and foggy. It hasn’t always been this way.
What we are going through has been experienced before - just not by us. Other generations have wrestled with this frightening ground. Pestilence, famine, and disease were common to our ancestors. Life expectancy was much shorter. There were too many graves and premature death was no stranger to families. With our feelings of medical entitlement and security, we’ve created a double layer of immunity. We’ve felt immune against the virus, but also immune to the emotions a pandemic creates. We have not tasted the fear of contagion. We’re not used to feeling out of control. Previously we simply trusted doctors and nurses. Now we have to reach for a higher hope.
Our security needs a stronger foundation than medicine. Our rescue is not in our ability to manage personal space. This pandemic has stripped our entitlement and pointed us to rescue that is more than human. The future is held by Hands of Grace. Other generations had to turn to God quickly because they experienced the frailty of life. Today we’ve been reminded that health is not an automatic right. We are discovering afresh that human powers, wisdom and control have limits. The hidden grace of these days is that we feel our humanity with all of its vulnerability. A greater grace is that God is near to Shepherd us through these dark valleys.
Will our society turn to God? If so, then those of faith must lead the way. Those who have tasted, not only the pains of life but the hope of living, can pray.
“if my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chron. 7:14