We were slammed by the coronavirus, aka COVID-19. How could something that couldn’t be seen, smelled, or touched infiltrate countries worldwide, leaving utter devastation in its wake?
I decided not to panic, but to follow all the guidelines issued by health experts. Even though there were (and continue to be) missteps and mishaps by those in authority, we had a family to protect. We socially distanced from our children, grandchildren, and friends. No one knew for how long, but surely God knew, because He was in control. I reasoned that it would be for a short while and we’d get through it.
Everything was affected, everything changed—the economy; the if, how, and where we worked, shopped, attended school or church, to name a few.
Many prayers in many ways made their way to the one God.
Yet I’m sure we were not the only ones praying, asking for God’s blessing and protection. It brings to my mind the line, “millions of us [lifted] up our eyes to one God.”1 I tried not to be overwhelmed by the rising death count (more than 220,000 in the United States), attending virtual or Zoom memorial services for deceased friends. Surely our Father noticed the demise of each of His children, “One Father loving each the same.”2
In the midst of the pandemic, overwhelmed by the ever-rising death count, we became engulfed in another major social concern—the unnecessary, senseless deaths of young Black people at the hands of those charged to “protect and to serve.” Watching the replays of a man dying because of a lack of oxygen while gasping “I can’t breathe” was heart-wrenching.
I decided to be supportive of the many protests that ensued, while staying out of the fray. Many prayers in many ways made their way to the one God, as all over the world strangers became brothers and sisters united for the cause of Black Lives. I continued praying for hurting families, protesters, and my children, especially my youngest who felt compelled to lend his voice to the cause. Then it became disconcertingly personal when a group of peaceful protesters of which he was part was shooed away with rubber bullets and tear gas. Thankfully, my son was unhurt. “One Father loving.”
Friends, there’s work to be done. The protests may no longer be as common, but it doesn’t mean that injustices have ceased. Some may prefer to see the protests silenced, to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that no wrongs have been done. Some declare we aren’t responsible for what happened in the past. But we cannot shirk our duty to work for those unseen and marginalized, whether by racism or otherwise.
We are currently dealing with serious issues demanding our prayers; and pray we must to “one God,” the true God who has many names, but is the “one Father loving each the same.” In the end we’re all accountable to Him [He’s watching us!], and His grace, the grace of “our God, yes, your God and my God,” is ever available to bless and save us all!
Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste is editorial assessment coordinator for Adventist Review Ministries.