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Opinions of Thursday, 26 March 2020

Columnist: Patrick Yeboah

Coronavirus: The bright side


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It may sound controversial, but times like these purify the world. They make it a better place. In the days of Noah, it was a flood that helped to sanitize the world. And if you ponder over it, the intent of such catastrophes has always been the same: to help us to recognize our sin and to pull the brakes on transgression and live the way God wants us to.

Now no one hears of terrorists exploding bombs and killing or maiming innocent people; no one hears of racism and abuse of human rights; piracy and hijacking have taken a backseat; warring factions even seem to have disappeared overnight. Suddenly, socialists, capitalists, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Jews and political opponents all seem to have buried their differences. Conflict, strife and rivalry appear to be no more.

And the reason for the sea change in affairs? COVID19, a virus with a name sexier than Hurricane Katrina. To think that COVID19 is responsible for the sudden change in our lives makes the coronavirus truly amazing, perhaps godsend.

Yet COVID19 has inspired fear and panic everywhere. It has killed thousands of people and brought misery to tens of thousands of others around the globe. It has introduced social distancing, an oxymoron responsible for the evaporation of intimacy and our reduced interaction.

Nonetheless, most of us would agree that we have seen more cooperation, understanding, unity, love and synergy among us today than at any other period in our lives. Suddenly, we have become each other's keeper, giving and receiving help and comfort from strangers, whether black or white. The world has become one again.

We may be quarantined or confined, but we have not been abandoned and forgotten by our compatriots. We may be sick and bedridden, struggling to take the next breath, but love, comfort and empathy continues to flow from our friends and family. The cords of love and unity that bind us appear to be stronger now than before.

Staying safe from COVID19, means we can't worship with others in church or a mosque, but we feel the presence of God more in our homes than in any other place we have ever been. We can hear God's voice more clearly than the days before the virus when noise from daily living drowned him out.

This is just as it should be, how God meant things to be - to feel his presence in our lives even where there are no churches or mosques and pastors and imams to preach in them.

As we fast and pray, let's not simply ask God to remove the virus from our midst; let's not mothball sin just for today, but to repent and turn away from it completely. This is the only way that would move God's heart and open the doors to His salvation.

May the Almighty God grant us the strength and the grace to live righteously even after the virus is gone. May we find peace and salvation in His name.

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