The coronavirus pandemic has had an extraordinary effect on our daily lives. From at-home work and school, to lonely days of isolation and a run on basic necessities, the impacts are profound. One effect that a growing number of people are seeing, is a change in faith.
While some people feel that their faith has been tested and some sadly may have even lost a bit of their faith because of this tribulation, many are seeing it as much more — people of many differing faiths are seeing this as a divine message.
The virus has brought entire economies almost to a standstill. People are asking “when will this be over…when can we get back to normal?” And while this horrible virus has shaken us to our core, many say that we need to learn from this — that this is indeed a wakeup call that we ignore at our peril.
In a recent poll by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, about 25% of Americans say their faith has gotten stronger because of the pandemic:
About a quarter of Americans say their faith or spirituality has strengthened because of the outbreak, and only 1% say it’s weakened. A majority who believe in God feel, because of the outbreak, that God is telling humanity to change how it is living and that God is protecting them from being infected.
Further, the poll found that: “63% of those who believe in God say they feel God is telling humanity to change the way we are living, and 55% feel God will protect them from being infected.”
Some people of faith may associate this pandemic with a punishment, so fear may be the catalyst to their desire to change and to see change. Most I feel however, see it as more of a “Hey! Stop it…you’re on the wrong path!” It’s that jolting wakeup call that is meant to bring us back to reality, because let’s be honest, this world was literally spinning out of control.
The Chaos of the Modern World
We had unbridled greed, heinous crimes, cruelty to each other and to animals, we had people destroying nature, polluting, dumping, killing. We had political divides that were so bad, families were being torn apart. We had a “me, me, me!” mentality and selfishness had become commonplace. Yes, our world is (was?) that bad and even worse.
The Change We Need
This wakeup call is long overdue. Mankind is not meant to be greedy, cruel and selfish. What we are meant to be, is kind, caring, loving, generous and positive. People of faith are, I believe, seeing this “event” as that jarring jolt people occasionally need…that call back to the way things are supposed to be. I believe even people who have no religious faith, are seeing this tribulation as a cosmic smack in the face…that kick in the pants, as it were, to get us back on track.
I hope and pray that this pandemic passes soon and that we are able to return to life — not life in the way we used to live it — abusing it and taking it for granted, but life in the sense of some normalcy. In that returned normalcy, I pray that people all across the world remember this difficult time and use that memory as a lesson and motivator for change.
It’s my hope that we go back to civility and that we respect nature and one another. It’s my hope that we appreciate life more and that we realize that love, compassion, gratitude and generosity are the important things in life. I pray that families come together, leaving their cell phones and tablets in a drawer and instead of living life online, live it out in the real world — appreciating the beauty of nature and realizing that earth is our home and it’s up to us to protect it. And as a Christian, I pray that once this is over, we return to faith — to having true, meaningful faith that guides our every move in life…a real faith that enables us to put aside our worst parts, to make more room for the best parts.