Pandemic Priorities…and Prayers

April 6, 2020 12:40pm

It’s amazing how a crisis tends to focus the mind…and the priorities. The current coronavirus pandemic is certainly no exception. Since it’s worldwide and the most prominent subject in the media, it’s hard to view it as a purely personal challenge, but it is in many ways. Certainly, individual responses to the situation reveal a lot about each of us.

Now is the time when petty partisanship and political differences should take a back seat…or get off the bus altogether! It’s time for those who are using the situation to find fault to take the “pan” out of the pandemic. While governors from the opposite party praise the Administration for being responsive, other members of Congress or the media are searching for things to criticize. What real difference does it make whether the virus is named after its point of origin…or that calling it corona might taint the name of a Mexican beer? How does calling for another Congressional committee speed the search for a cure?

It’s much more gratifying to see the public/private partnerships that are making tangible contributions. Major technology-driven manufacturers agilely re-tooling to make ventilators, face shields and masks and personal protective equipment are far more useful than professional fault-finders creating ways to denigrate the responders or scare the public. Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan is credited with saying that partisan politics “must stop at the water’s edge.” He was talking about foreign policy shortly after a worldwide conflict had devastated much of Europe and the Far East. Now, an “invisible enemy” has spread across the globe but there are still elected officials and pundits looking for ways to impugn their rivals. And, their jabs typically create responses in kind—to whose benefit?

Prayer seems to be a more acceptable and universal response, even in a post-religious age. There are no atheists in foxholes…or on ventilators, either. The prospect of meeting our Maker seems to inspire a desire to discuss the prospect with Him first! And, that’s a good thing—as long as you don’t have the temerity to suggest others take their time in quarantine to do so; then it’s obvious religion bigotry! Just ask Mike Lindell of MyPillow. He is obviously partisan when it comes to politics, but he’s retooling his manufacturing facilities to produce PPE for first responders. He didn’t criticize anyone when offered a chance to speak at one of the Pandemic Task Force Press events, but he did invoke a Higher Authority in suggesting how to deal with it, and that opened him up to scorn and ridicule.

But, maybe Mike had it right. Could it be that petitioning the Creator for mercy and guidance might actually be effective? In James 5:16 we’re told that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Of course, if it comes down to using words to petition the Creator for grace and wisdom or trying to score some empty political points, I’m in favor of a reverent request to a caring God over destructive, self-important drivel. I guess prayer is a matter of priorities, too.