I got Covid. And I no longer have it.
I was very fortunate. Aside from the first day or two after the onset of symptoms, I’ve worked through worse colds. My sense of smell is taking its time to return, a lingering side effect which seems to be commonplace. My case was very, very mild. Like I said, I was fortunate – it was so similar to a regular cold that I almost didn’t get tested.
A coworker spent time in the hospital as a result of Covid not too long ago. There’s no clear reason why I didn’t have a similar experience. Whether or not the science eventually sheds light on the common thread regarding the severity of symptoms, I can only attribute my experience to God’s protection, and yes, I will give Him credit for that.
I have one friend who has virtually no concern about getting Covid at all. To be clear, it’s not that she believes Covid isn’t real, it’s an ambivalence toward getting Covid. Her concern is far more focused around government overreach and societal norms being shifted, and to that end, I don’t think she’s completely wrong.
In contrast, I was speaking to a friend today with whom a catch-up dinner keeps getting postponed. Despite implicit availability, he is hosting a small number of family members; his household has committed to a voluntary lockdown until they leave out of concern of catching Covid. Despite the unlikelihood of getting Covid from me, the concern is so great that his family is eschewing the outside world until his family heads home. The desire to avoid being the cause of a family member getting sick is understandable; I don’t think he’s wrong, either.
Personally, I always took the stance of “if I get the ‘Rona, I get the ‘Rona”, wore my mask, and left it at that. I made it eight months, but I did, in fact, get the ‘Rona. I’m very much aware that such a stance is far easier to have in retrospect when my experience with being sick didn’t involve a ventilator.
As I bring faith back into the picture here, there is yet another line whose limits are worth exploring. Both individuals I’ve referenced above share my adherence to Christianity. They would both likely agree on the validity of 1 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (HCSB). They would also both likely agree on the validity of Proverbs 20:15 – “A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.” (HCSB).
When it comes to Covid, I feel like it’s so unclear: Somewhere, a line is crossed between “listening to counsel” and “having a spirit of fear”. Inversely yet synonymously, that same line could be drawn between “following one’s foolish way” and “having a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment”. Both sides would argue that what they are doing would fall under ‘wisdom’ rather than ‘spirit of fear’, and yet their approaches are mostly opposite each other.
Christianity is no stranger to people achieving virtually-opposite conclusions. I’m certain you can come up with your own example. In the case of Covid, however, I’m not talking about government policies or something that ends up being fodder for a future statistics class. I’m talking about the tightrope walk between “trusting in God” and “being cautious”. I’m reminded of this scene from Austin Powers. It’s amusing to find a biblical parallel at a Blackjack table, but ignoring the fact that the antagonist was cheating in the clip, they both said they wanted to “live dangerously”, but only one of them did so.
Christianity isn’t safe, and wasn’t meant to be. No matter where you look in the Bible, someone had a rough time advancing the cause of Christ. Someone did something unsafe for the advancement of the Gospel; virtually every apostle died in connection with their spreading of the Good News. At the same time, the difference between spreading the Gospel and spreading Covid is undoubtedly self-evident: one saves, the other, well, doesn’t.
Both of the people in my examples would agree that only one of those two things is worth dying for, but I think they’d also agree that it’s possible to die of Covid without dying for Covid. What one calls “living life without fear”, the other would call “living life without prudence”. What one calls “esteeming others above one’s self”, the other would call “living in fear”. What I called “leaving it in God’s hands”, others would call “unnecessary risk”.
I really don’t have a conclusion I’ve drawn, or some spiritual or practical insight I can express. It feels like we’re all right, and all wrong at the same time. This is the precipice of moral relativism – a bottomless well to which the Gospel gives no credence or merit. In terms of the practical, I don’t think that any of these approaches should be made illegal, or that they’re inherently immoral. I do think, however, that there must be a way that God is most glorified, and that all three of us seek to pursue that method, while finding ourselves on divergent paths as a result.
I hope that the correct path becomes more apparent as time progresses. Until then, I wish you all good health, and a good holiday season.