I asked my friend, Graeme, a Christian health worker who is on the “front lines” against the Coronavirus:

“What should humanity do when God sends us pestilence?”

Speaking as a health worker, Graeme, who belongs to the Uniting Church In Australia, answered:

“First I would ask: Why has God sent us a pestilence?

Eventually I would conclude: Either there is something wrong with my view of God or there is something wrong with the world.

If the latter, then I would ask: What gifts has God granted me to help fight this unwanted intrusion?

e.g. Can I use my God-given brain, knowledge and medical technology etc to understand and counter the pestilence?

Even if I lose the battle I have still won: I took deliberate action to demonstrate that the pestilence is a bad thing not a normal thing.”

Speaking as a Christian, Graeme’s response was similar but different.

“First I would ask: Why has God sent us a pestilence and spared me and not others? Am I any better? Were those who died punished for being bad?

Eventually I would conclude: Either there is something wrong with my view of God or there is something wrong with the world.

If the former I would then ask: What do some other cultural worldviews say about the pestilence?

I guess Buddha would say the pestilence is neither good nor bad; and I must give up my selfish desires for health, happiness, and long life. He would discourage my desire for answers or meaning or health. To which I would want to ask ‘Does your answer indicate you have desires too? In this case a desire to help me? Are you being inconsistent? Does this mean doctors and nurses should stop desiring to help people?’

I guess the Hindu would say it is karma and those who suffer are simply experiencing what was their due for some evil done in a past life. Yes, you can choose to help others or not to help others, it doesn’t really matter. There is no need for someone in a higher caste to worry about those suffering in a lower caste level.

When I ask the Christian God ‘why?’ the answer is the shortest verse in the bible. An eye witness observation of John, when Jesus came to the grave of his best friend: ‘Jesus wept.’  (John Chapter 11:35) Why did John bother writing this when a few minutes later he claims that Jesus brought Lazarus back to life? Why not say that Jesus scorned or laughed or sniggered? In these two words we get a sneak peek into the character of God – a God who weeps at the sight of death.

– Graeme, Melbourne, Australia.”