Since COVID-19 began I’ve heard several of my Christian friends say some version of “trust God.” Sometimes it seems like a flippant way of shrugging responsibility for how one handles these pandemic restrictions. Other times it seems a heart felt attempt to ease my anxieties. Though people might mean, “Trust God, because everything is going to be okay,” this doesn’t quite sit right with me. Trusting God is most needed when things aren’t okay, and things are often not okay.
Every day people die of heart disease, cancer, and preventable diseases. People are killed or maimed by accidents, natural disasters, and violence. Many people who experience unimaginable atrocities are trusting God.
Trusting God does not mean you will avoid tragedies, but it means that God is faithful through these moments. He never leaves your side.
Trusting God does not mean I won’t get COVID-19. It means that if I do, He will be with me and my family as we suffer.
I find Christians who promote this sentiment of “just trust God and it will all work out” are often coming from a place of privilege. We increasingly hear about white privilege and male privilege but healthy privilege, or abled privilege, is not as well known.
Dr. Becker-Shutte explains healthy privilege as when “healthy people enjoy the privilege of bodies that work in the ways that they expect, free from regular pain or suffering, without extraordinary effort.”
So why would I throw caution to the wind now and let my guard down to relax my boundaries around social distancing and precautionary measures? I have a responsibility to myself, and those around me, to continue to work to stay alive. Pandemic precautions are now just part of my daily list of things I must do.
God gives us brains and skills for a reason. We have a responsibility to partner with him and others. The kingdom of God is at hand and we are invited to contribute to it. This means we have a responsibility to our fellow creatures to be loving and kind and nurturing.
During this pandemic that means protecting each other as well as ourselves.
So yes, trust God. Absolutely trust God. He is good and His faithful love continues forever (Psalm 136:1). But also trust the mind He has given you to understand the advice we are receiving from health professionals. Trust your heart to respond in love and kindness to the people around you who may be struggling more than most during these uncertain times. Trust your relationships to teach you things that your privilege may have kept you from learning on your own.
My prayer is that we would each learn to trust God through good times and bad, but also to learn to trust the people God has given us and the gifts and knowledge of those around us to support us through the times when we’re not okay.