Monday, 11 May 2020

Covid-19: There is no good way out of this and here is why

The morning after Boris Johnson's much-awaited speech last night, social media feeds and newspaper headlines are full of outrage, cynicism and indignation. A widely held view is that the Prime Minister was unclear, unwise and incompetent in what he said, lacking the necessary clarity and direction that we as a nation are currently craving. There are those who are frustrated at the ostensible contradictions in measures, and those who assert that Mr Johnson and his cabinet are doing the best they can with a horrendously difficult situation.

I don't know where you stand on all this. I do know that while we all yearn for a good way out of this pandemic, there isn't one.

There isn't a good way out of an impossible situation. To keep the lockdown in place for many more weeks will cost jobs, livelihoods and mental health. To relax it too soon will mean the Covid-19 death rate soaring sky high again.

We're all looking for the middle way; the right way; the way that will mean the perfect balance of sensibly eased restrictions with the necessary caution to protect lives.

There is no such thing. And yet we expect it, somehow.

We're right to want this impossibility. We feel the pain and injustice of families struggling to put bread on the table and nurses stretched to breaking point in ICU wards simultaneously, and we care. We want a way out that serves all of us fairly. It would be wrong not to feel angry and grieve over the mistakes that have been made - some deliberately - in this tangled, twisted situation.

The problem is, we live in a world where everything about this pandemic is so messed up that no one is getting out unscathed. We can try and minimise the damage, but damage there will be. This is true of most human stories, and Covid-19 has only served to bring this into relief. It's a giant magnifying glass to the brokenness and bruisedness of life as a human being. There is no joyful birth without pain, no marriage without conflict, no grief without the sweet notes of comfort from a loved one. Being human means to experience all these things, often at once.

There has never been a political leader who was perfect. There has never been a philosopher who has found the answer. There has never been a democratic system that has served its citizens in complete justice.

Yet we still continue to long for something better. Why is this? Because we were made for something better. We were made for a world where death was not present and Coronavirus an impossibility. That is why we mourn the separation of our body and soul so fervently - it is unnatural. It feels wrong, because it is. We were created to be in a world where there is no pain and no death and no tears. Yet it has become marred and so although our souls and hearts are still hard-wired to expect better, we are constantly disappointed.

Hebrews 11:16 describes Abraham and other Old Testament believers in this way:
"Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
There is a better country.

We long for that better country to be now: for our leaders to be just, and fair, and compassionate, and wise. And so we are constantly disappointed, if not surprised.

There is only one leader who will not disappoint. He is Jesus. He didn't come to abuse his power and trample the vulnerable for the sake of profit - instead, he gave up his life and died for his people. He didn't come to impress the PR departments and spin his message - he was brutally honest about how difficult life is but how it's worth it to be on his team. He didn't ever mess up - he lived a perfect life here on earth, showing compassion to the needy, standing up to the corrupt leaders and showing us God's plan. He invites us all to be part of his family and share in that sure hope for a better world in eternity.

So let's stop expecting anything more of Boris Johnson, because he is not capable of more and we should not even come close to putting our trust in him. Yes, we must hold our leaders to account - and there is plenty of that to be done at all times and especially in these times. Yes, we must fight for justice and peace wherever it can be won. But we mustn't kid ourselves that we can navigate our way out of this one without a lot of collateral damage. To imagine that is possible would be a denial of the very world we find ourselves in, and a distraction from the better world we can have an eternal place in.

1 comment:

  1. Church leaders of all denominations (although primarily the Church of England as the established church) must bear responsibility for the present state of the nation.

    Hill, Rev Clifford. The Reshaping of Britain: Church and State since the 1960s, A Personal Reflection (p. 311). Wilberforce Publications. Kindle Edition.

    The only thing I would not agree with Hill's statement is that the CoE is the first problem; hardly, must of them don't preach the gospel, but the actions of the Bishops in the Lords is a major flaw.
    It is evangelicals who preach the gospel without the power of God in it, these are th ebig problem. a modernised Ravenhill quote -
    A century of pseudo Christianity has only produced broken lives, broken families and broken churches. Broken church have produced a broken society where Satan’s Kingdom advances with impunity and unchallenged every day it produces more and more misery and suffering; however, a handful of heaven-sent young people, full of the Holy Spirit, will reverse all that declension in a matter of weeks when God comes in Revival and Awakening in answer to the fervent prayers of His people.