One solution to the global crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic would be that we could see the virus. The fact that borders and non-essential businesses are closed, events are canceled, and we are forced to stay home derive from the fact that we don’t know where the virus is. Thus, we have no way of attacking and destroying it.
Imagine going out of your home, and, as you drive down the road, you suddenly see a cloud of coronavirus in front of you. Pedestrians run to and fro as they try to avoid getting infected; others shake off their clothes. And, almost instantly, the police arrive to cordon off the place. A special squad wearing protective gear sprays the area with disinfectants that obliterate the feared virus right away. Because you saw the danger, you may have switched to a different street, changed your route, and got away from the risk. Thanks to your ability to see where the virus is, the crisis would not affect you in the same way it is affecting us now.
When the outbreak of the novel coronavirus became known, some countries across Asia implemented measures to prevent a more severe crisis. Among them, they developed mobile geolocation apps, which the government uses to pinpoint and customize the follow-up of every single case. Thus, they managed to isolate a person, a family, or even a neighborhood, while sparing a country as a whole. It is a direct result of detecting the virus, of knowing where it is and how it can be countered.
Our immediate future after paralysis of the economy compels us to face uncertain situations. Some universities have already announced they won’t open their facilities until 2021, so they are currently working on renovation plans and reassessing their structures and strategies. Airline companies with hundreds of planes idled are probably looking for ways to merge. A discussion about redesigning urban and architectural environments is taking place, with public parks limiting capacity, offices changing their configuration to respect social distancing, and companies adopting telecommuting for good.
We can also imagine doctors’ appointments through videoconferencing and worship centers with restrictions. Those speculations and predictions, however, may become as real or stay as imaginary as time and the elimination of the virus happen to determine them.
A GPS From God
Second Kings 6 tells the story of a war that the Syrians waged against Israel. Even though they tried, the Syrians could not find the Israelites’ camp. They didn’t know that the people of Israel had a kind of GPS, because a man of God was leading them from place to place to avoid the Syrians.
The Lord knew where their enemies were and guided them to change routes and stay safe. Even though the Israelites could not see the Syrian army with their eyes, they managed to avoid danger, thanks to divine intervention.
When someone finally revealed to the king of Syria that the key was to find the prophet Elisha, who was the one behind the geolocation warnings, they went to look for him and surrounded the place where he was staying. When the prophet’s servant found out, he was full of fear because he saw a large, well equipped, and threatening army, and there was no way out. Very calmly, however, the prophet prayed, asking God to open his assistant’s eyes so he could see a different reality.
Elisha asked for his servant not to dwell on traditional methods but for the Lord to reveal to him a new reality. The prophet also asked God to temporarily blind the enemy. God complied, and the situation changed. Since the soldiers couldn’t see, Elisha himself led them to a different place, and they never again waged war against Israel.
Can some see the virus with their own eyes?
Our ability to see the virus would help us to attack and avoid it. The impossibility of seeing the immediate future can lead us to panic and, even worse, avoid facing it in a sensible way. Thinking that we’ll be back to normal very soon could make us so comfortable that we reject changes to our patterns, structures, habits, and methods.
The solution to surviving what the future may bring is to ask God to open our eyes so that we may see His will for us.
Abel Márquez is the communication director for the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.