Finding Peace, Finding Life: A Spiritual Response to the Coronavirus Situation

April 8, 2020

 

Why are we all so anxious right now? Does that strike you as a stupid question? Or maybe just a rhetorical one?

 

Well, I think it is worth asking anyway. Because in this new “Age of Coronavirus,” as much we might fear a plummeting stock market, a washed up employment situation, overtaxed hospitals, bumbling political responses, the prospect of being “trapped” at home all day, the loss of our football and baseball and basketball past times, and the general sense of unease that greets us each morning like a fresh smack on the face, the thing that we really feel anxious about is death. Right? And uncertainty.

 

As the world we thought we knew puts up shutters and closes down bit by bit, we are forced to come face-to-face with the impermanence of this earthly situation of ours. And we aren’t even given six feet of gracious social distance with which to ease that awkward encounter.

 

It gets right up in our grill and glares at us! It dares us to keep ignoring it!

 

When we are no longer allowed to go into the office as usual each day; when we no longer have our vacations and schools and coffee shops and happy hours to keep us moving merrily along, we are forced to acknowledge the stillness and think about how temporal all of this is.

 

Our money, our careers, our exercise classes, our homes, our sports teams, our schools, our communities, our political systems, and even our church organizations. All of it. It is all temporary.

 

And guess what? All of the vitamins and masks and shelter-in-place orders in this world aren’t going to change that fact.

 

Not a comfortable thought, but true.

 

The things we see now are here today, but gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18

 

 

 

As I’ve watched the increasingly severe personal and political reactions to this spreading virus we are now facing, I am forced to wonder if many people on this earth have never heard of the concept of mortality before. I mean, many tens of thousands of people die in this world each and every day (about 150,000 on average), and some day each of us will pass on, too.

 

And for almost every single one of us, that passing will be from something that isn’t named coronavirus.

 

We can’t outsmart death. We can’t outrun death. We can’t shelter in one place until it decides to give up and leave us alone.

 

But we can prepare for it. We can make some sort of peace with it. We can make sure we live and love as if each day is a true gift, and we can find a spiritual remedy for mortality, one that makes its presence and power as temporary as a fool’s rally in the stock market.

 

I must admit, I’m a big fan of Hollywood. Not of its politics or idols or adolescent self-absorption; but I’m a fan of entertainment—quality television, movies, stand-up comedy, and the like.

 

So what have I noticed about Hollywood lately, in this new Age of Coronavirus? Well, I’ve noticed that no one rushed to huddle and isolate in their ivory towers more quickly. Everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Jimmy Fallon to David Spade is doing their shows from home, and it just seems to me that many of the rich and famous are clinging too tightly.

 

Clinging to the earthly measures of fame, fortune, and pleasure that they’ve come to rely on for identity and meaning. Clinging to the idea that the red carpet and the caviar dreams can all be preserved if everyone just listens to the politicians and doesn’t step outside.

 

Hashtag: alone, rich, and scared.

 

 

But it isn’t just Hollywood who clings too tightly at times, is it? It’s all of us, too (Hollywood dolls, like politicians, are just easy targets).

 

In Matthew 10:39, Jesus says: “If you cling to your life you will lose it, but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

 

Put another way, I’ve heard it said like this: “Sell this life for the next and you win both of them. Sell the next life for this and you lose both of them.”

 

So what is the most important thing that any of us can do during these uncertain times? If we truly value our existence—if we value our breath and the people that we hold dear and the eternal love that we share with those people—then what is the most important thing we can do?

 

Is it bleaching those packs of paper towel and soda before bringing them into the house? Is it wearing a mask? Is it pantomiming a hug from six feet away instead of slobbering on each other? Is it boosting our immune systems, boosting our bank accounts by $1200 per person, or sheltering in place?

 

I don’t think so. Instead, I think that the most important thing we can do right now is boost our spiritual health. Get our spiritual affairs in order. Make sure that we find God in a very personal and meaningful way, and make sure that we find the path that leads to an eternal reality, one that ensures we are with Him and our earthly loved ones for time everlasting.

 

And what better time to find that ultimate remedy for our fears than Holy Week? As we approach the very events that erased death’s power over this temporary earthly existence of ours, we ought to feel the victory inherent in those events in every fiber of our being this week.

 

 

This Good Friday, let the darkening of the crucifixion sky shake you to the core. Let it cause you to shiver and shed tears! Really feel what is happening! Really feel the love of God’s son for you as He sacrifices Himself, and truly feel the power of death being erased as He completes that sacrifice and cries, “It is finished.”

 

And just as Christ lets go of His last breath on the cross this Friday, so too can we let go at that very moment. We can let go of our fears and our pain and our guilt! We can stop clinging so tightly to the things that just aren’t important, and in doing so we can finally find relief and a true way of living.

 

And this Easter Sunday, let the hope and joy of that resurrection scene permeate every part of your being. See in your mind’s eye the sun rising over that empty tomb and the women being turned away by the knowing angel. Picture the resurrected Jesus appearing to the disciples, and hear those disciples saying to themselves, “Holy ___! I guess this stuff is all true!”

 

Let those Easter visions give you calm where anxiety threatens to rule in coming weeks; let them give you light and optimism in the corners of your world where darkness occasionally dances about; and let them give you a new lease on life by giving you an eternal existence that isn’t leased but rather yours forever.

 

So stay safe this week. Take your precautions. Take care of yourself and your family by using common sense, making temporary sacrifices for the greater good, and generally promoting good health and hygiene.

 

But most of all, get closer to God. And bring your family closer to Him, too. Make sure that the spiritual affairs of your household are in order. That is the most important self-care measure you can take.

 

Find God and get closer and closer to Him on a regular basis. That is how we find peace and order and calm in this crazy existence. That is how we find reassurance, acceptance, and healing.

 

And indeed, that is how we find a way to make life and love last forever.

 

Have a profoundly moving Good Friday this week, and a very, very blessed Easter!

 

Until next time,

 

Michael

 

*****

 

By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn apart. Then Jesus shouted, "Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!" And with those words he breathed his last." Luke 23:44-46

 

 

But very early on Sunday morning, the women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. So they went in, but they couldn't find the body of the Lord Jesus. They were puzzled, trying to think what could have happened to it. Suddenly, two men appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed low before them. then the men asked, "Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He isn't here. He has risen from the dead!" Luke 24:1-7

 

 

 

Michael Priebe is a writer and personal development coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors. and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to write about health, sports, professional life, politics, relationships, and spiritual issues. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to find out more about his life coaching here, and he hopes you'll reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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