Please forgive the starkness of the theme of this message. Keep reading; there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Before we get there, we must consider that there is an elephant in the room, one that permeates our thoughts and conversations, sometimes for hours every day. It is my prayer that my reflections on the subject bring hope and comfort to all who are impacted by the devastating effects of the dreaded COVID pandemic.
“Only 6 percent of COVID deaths occur without reported related underlying conditions. The top two co-morbidity factors contributing to COVID deaths are heart disease and anxiety.” --Dr. Mark Young
For many months, I have avoided writing about this topic. While I have lost dear friends and loved ones to COVID, including my brothers in Christ – the Honorable Herman Cain, Bishop Harry Jackson, and most recently, my friend, confidant, colleague, and brother in Christ Eugene Vigil – until now I have not wanted to write about the very harmful influences surrounding the COVID pandemic.
It isn’t that I was ignoring COVID; I think subconsciously I thought that if I ignored COVID, it would go away. However, although I have tried to wish COVID away, pray COVID away, and ignore the reality of COVID, it hasn’t gone away.
Almost every day people reach out on social media, by text, and by phone with a resounding question: When will this all go away? While I do not know when COVID will go away, I do know that there is a God in heaven who hears and answers prayers. That truth has kept me sane during COVID. In the meantime, while Harry, Herman, and Eugene have not survived the COVID pandemic, there are many who have.
During this pandemic, I have two close friends who were on ventilators with COVID who were rescued from those notorious “ventilators,” who are recovering from the ordeals of COVID. While I am very grateful for those testimonies, one thing that I believe we should remember during these troubled times is to do what the Bible says: Fear not!
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)
Yes, whether it is shrouded in conspiracy or not, COVID is confusing and scary, and real. In my own family, beyond the loss of close friends, whole households have been impacted by COVID. COVID has been a devastatingly terrible force among us.
I often shake my head when people say “COVID is not real,” that it's a scam, something someone made up. Rather, in many instances it does seem that there are motives behind the COVID pandemic that are not meant to bless humanity. Yet, whatever is behind this pandemic, COVID is real. Fear, misinformation, and denial can be determining factors in how COVID affects our lives.
I have friends and family members who have suffered severe illness from COVID. Sadly, some have died; yet many are recovering, praise the Lord! I have friends and family members who have taken the vaccines; and I have family members who have not taken the vaccine; the “shot, jab, needle,” etc.
There is evidence that our attitudes about our health also affect whether we heal or succumb to sickness. What we believe also matters. If we believe a shot can help us, our bodies align with that belief. If we believe that alternative treatments can help us, our bodies align with that belief. If we ignore facts, or get scared and believe that we are doomed, our bodies align with that belief. Christians call this process applying faith to our circumstances and apply corresponding actions to achieve the desired outcome.
I have friends and family members who either take the shot, or take alternative and/or preventative measures against COVID, or ignore facts, or get scared and don’t know what to do. As I pray about the COVID-fueled fear and strife among our communities and our families, I ask God: what do I say in response?
In prayer, I believe I received a message from the Lord: “Tell people whether they take the shot or do not take the shot: take care of their immune systems. Fear not! Stop fighting with each other and fight to live."
To my very best abilities I’m carrying and living this message. When I get on an airplane, I do not argue with the flight attendants and tell them I don't believe COVID isn’t or is real so I'm not wearing a mask. When I get to a location and people do not wear a mask, I tend to comply with the COVID protocols of the area, and I ask people to respect that I am social distancing; please stand 6 feet away.
In the final analysis, I believe that the elephant in the room surrounding COVID is fear aided by division. I believe that it is time for us to communicate with each other without the hostilities that surround this recent dividing factor. Whether we are vaccinated or not, we are one race, one blood, human beings.
How can the dream survive if we keep fighting, hurting, mistrusting, hating, and killing each other?
"Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread." (Isaiah 8:12-13 ESV)
Again, I am writing this blog during a very difficult season. Usually when I write my blogs, my colleague and friend Eugene Vigil is there to proofread, add links, to partner research, and to sharpen the saw, so to speak.
Eugene Vigil, a champion for life, beloved friend and family member, a pro-life leader, and highly respected in his church community, succumbed to death by COVID on a ventilator on Sept. 25. I finally began to write this blog, without Eugene, with the hope and prayer that those who read it will find the strength and courage to seek the Lord for healing and comfort and certainty and faith, hope and love for all humanity during these troubled times.
Rest in peace, Eugene; you are missed already. I dedicate this blog in memory of you.
“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.” (Isaiah 57:1 NLT)
There is a lesson in every experience in life. What has COVID taught us? I have learned to remember that life is precious, from the womb to the tomb, and have been reminded to be more loving and kinder to everyone, every day.
In loving memory, please watch "PRAY FOR AMERICA," produced by Eugene Vigil and Alveda King.
Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the founder of King for America, Inc. and serves on Priests for Life's pastoral team.