Are you ready for the profound reason you shouldn’t be afraid of covid-19?
It’s easy. I must warn you though that there’s a harsh truth coming if you keep reading.
You shouldn’t be afraid because you are going to die anyway. If not from Covid-19, then definitely from something else. I guarantee it. Here is a true and shocking statistic: 1 in 1 people die. Put another way: 1 out of every 1 person doesn’t survive life.
Many thousands have died across the world due to Covid-19. I am sensitive to the tremendous pain and loss felt by the families and friends of those who’ve lost their Covid-19 battle. The human impact of this virus has been devastating.
Yet, we will all one day die. Those you love will die.
Let that sink in.
Unless Jesus returns before our death, we know the grave ultimately awaits us.
Rather than letting this be catastrophic news which sounds terribly morbid or makes you sad or depressed, the point I want to make in this article is that this is inspiring news and a source of hope. I am going to use the very familiar story of Lazarus in the book of John Chapter 11 to illustrate my point. But I’m not going to focus on Lazarus in the story. Instead, my focus is his sister, Mary.
Timing is everything
Jesus didn’t come right away when he heard the news of Lazarus’ illness and he had a reason for this. It was so that God’s purpose would be revealed. Jesus said to his disciples: “for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him” (verses 14-15). However, Mary didn’t know Jesus had a specific plan.
A Crisis of Faith
In Luke Chapter 10 verses 38 to 42 we read that Jesus was at the home of Mary and her sister Martha. While Martha was attending to things, Mary listened at Jesus’ feet while he did his teaching. Mention of his feet is significant as it meant Mary adopted the posture of a disciple. A revolutionary position for a woman at that time in that culture.
Martha was annoyed that she had to do all the preparation work without Mary’s help and complained to Jesus. Jesus’ response was that Mary had made a better choice (verse 32).
I think it’s fair to conclude from this incident that Mary embraced Jesus’ teachings. She gave Jesus her focused attention and time.
Then, sometime later, Mary’s brother, Lazarus got sick. Showing absolute confidence in Jesus and his power to heal Lazarus, Mary and her sister Martha sent word to Jesus (John Chapter 11 verse 3), no doubt expecting him to come immediately and heal Lazarus or send a word that healing was already done due to their faith.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Jesus delayed in arriving and her brother died. This life circumstance posed a challenge to Mary. Just like covid-19 does to us. Or any life challenge we know is beyond our control to solve. This could be a life-threatening illness or anything that feels like it is killing us slowly. The questions Mary would no doubt be asking (which are the same ones we ask when there’s a mismatch between our expectations and what life actually hands us) is: “Is Jesus really good?” “Is he really God?” “Is what he taught true?”
Mary was wondering: how could Jesus have let my brother die? Doesn’t he care? It’s significant that Mary and Martha in their message to Jesus had referred to Lazarus as the one Jesus loved. The Apostle John, the writer of the Book of John, also affirmed that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters (verse 5).
How we knew Mary took this situation hard is that she didn’t go with her sister Martha when Martha went to meet Jesus while he was on his way to their village of Bethany (verse 20). People were consoling Mary at the house (verse 31). It wasn’t until Martha came back and said Jesus had asked for her that Mary actually went to see Jesus herself (verses 28 to 29) and the first words out of her mouth when she saw Jesus (in verse 32) revealed everything in Mary’s heart. She said:
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
There’s an accusation implicit in this statement we shouldn’t miss. Implied in what she said were: It’s your fault. You could have prevented this. This didn’t have to happen.
It’s also important to note that the Bible says in verse 32 that Mary fell at Jesus’ feet. This is the second time we see Mary at Jesus’ feet (see Luke Chapter 10 verse 39 in the passage mentioned earlier).
We can contrast this John passage with what we saw in Luke. This time, Mary was at his feet in a posture of grief and brokenness. We know she was grieving deeply because when she left the house suddenly the other Jews, who had been with her at the house trying to comfort her, thought she was going to Lazarus’ tomb to mourn (verse 31). Mary and the other mourners were weeping so much, their weeping moved Jesus (verse 33).
What do you do when life knocks you off your feet?
Instead of blaming God or suggesting it’s all his fault, get back to the posture of a disciple. Fall on your face at his feet in humility and repentance for any anger towards God and focus on hearing the Word of God. Ask: “God what are you saying to me in this rough season of my life?”
Be prayerful about it. I’ve discovered that journaling my prayers, thoughts and feelings, along with writing down what I believe God is saying to me through His Word, helps me in rough times.
I will finish this story in Part 2, next Cycle.
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.