Today’s Cavalry comes wearing white lab coats and goggles. Those researchers and scientists who have gone without food and sleep in an effort to develop a vaccine that will surely save lives, hundreds of thousands of lives. These people are not celebrities. We may never know their names or their stories, but history will remember them for their successes, just as history recounts this administration’s failures.
While it is praiseworthy that so many researchers and scientists have done the work necessary to stop this deadly virus; it must also be acknowledged that the amount of deaths taking place in the US was never inevitable. It is clear this amount of death is the direct result of failed leadership on behalf of Trump and his administration (Yes Alex Azar, I’m talking to you).
Big Pharma has earned a pitiful reputation in the past because of the Sackler family’s greed and exploitation. Pushing opioids for the sole sake of making money. According to the CDC, the opioid epidemic, bad as it has been, has not killed as many as Covid. The Christmas parties continue unabated at the White House sans masks and social distancing. Big Pharma, not Trump, has done something notable. My kin who works with Covid patients got word that they will be vaccinated this week.
We are turning a corner. There is hope going forward. By summer, we will be hugging again. We will have a blowout 4th of July, with a decent president and leadership that seeks to protect every citizen, and a vaccine that will cut the rate of deaths by the hundreds of thousands.
There is darkness right now as we face the Christmas Holidays isolated, cut off from loved ones, unable to celebrate the way we normally do. All gifts arriving via FedEx or by post. Many who have gone the entire year without a real hug from another human being.
I sat in a parking lot and wept yesterday. Head down on the steering wheel. Missing my family, hurting for the world, surrounded on all sides by so much grief.
Scared by what is yet to come.
Sitting in solitude and reading this morning, I happened upon this question: What is happening now that I need to welcome?
There is hope embedded in that question.
But I am a hope skeptic, having been raised up in a belief system that taught me the future was a terrifying place. Or as writer Padriag O Tuama so aptly notes: The way I believed in God fed a distrust of life and a comfort with doom.
It’s a belief system I have been fighting my way through for the past 20 years.
My faith boils down to this one tenet: “God is good.” Throughout 2020, this is the one true thing I’ve returned to over and over and over again – God is good. I reject any and all theology that suggest anything other than the absolute unyielding goodness of God.
Too many people I grew up with, too many of my loved ones, too many people period embrace the God of Doom. Their faith is built upon the God of vengeance. They live not in the present, not enjoying this life, but rather they live for Doomsday. That moment when “every knee shall bow,” when every person is forced to believe as they do. As I wrote in Where’s Your Jesus Now? (Zondervan), these folks care more about being right than redeemed. And as the headlines prove every single day, they count among the millions.
I can no longer embrace a faith that barters in fear or fear-mongering.
I can no longer embrace a faith that traffics on the vengeance of a megalomaniac God.
I will not worship any man or any Deity who bullies people into fearful allegiance.
I will not hold fast to a faith that haggles over an “us” and “them” rhetoric.
I am and will continue to try to humbly ask God, what is it now that I need to welcome?
Then I will ask Creator God for the grace to help me welcome whatever may come with a grateful heart. It has taken me far too long already to recognize the Glory of God is manifested best when we love and respect one another, not when we fear and vilify those who are different than us.
Karen Spears Zacharias is the author of Christian Bend (Mercer University Press).