God, PTSD, and the Pandemic: Cash
We are now in the midst of a fiery trial; a pandemic, a plague, a pestilence that threatens our very lives and our way of life as we once knew it. We are all greatly concerned for ourselves, but especially our loved ones. How will we cope? Will the fire consume us?
Will it consume our families and friends, the beloved people God has so graciously blessed us with to love and to nurture, to be loved by and be nurtured by?
It is hard to know. Our God is sovereign. His ways are above our ways, His thoughts above our thoughts. We pray to Him that He would deliver us and our loved ones from this scourge, but we know God will accomplish His perfect will, and we won’t always understand the whys and the wherefores.
Sadly, some of us will probably lose someone precious to us. Or someone special to us will contract the disease, and we will have to care for them remotely, unable to visit them. It’s then when reality will hit, and we shall be tested beyond measure.
We may get angry with God. We may become discouraged. We may even lose our faith for a time. Grief and loss have a way of doing that to a person. Grief affects people in myriad ways. No two are alike in how they deal with grief. Those of us who’ve lost loved ones in the past can attest to the sometimes arbitrary nature of grief.
Many might be traumatized emotionally and require aid. Indeed, some of those heroic healthcare workers on the front lines in hospitals across the world will be deeply traumatized by what they are now experiencing. Some may actually have to make the decision who will live and who will die; this is a burden too great for human minds to comprehend. Others will watch as people they’ve cared for and fought so hard to heal pass into eternity. And they will be affected emotionally and spiritually.
It is not completely unlike what soldiers sometimes experience in combat. The randomness of death and suffering. Some very bad people live; some very good people die. Many are wounded, losing limbs and suffering other terrible injuries, while others go without a scratch. And we know combat soldiers are forever changed by that experience. It is almost an otherworldly experience; it can’t be fully comprehended or understood or expressed to those who have not experienced it themselves.
These experiences injure and wound peoples’ psyche and spirit. Human beings were not made to experience these things. Death and suffering came about because of a fallen creation. God didn’t create things this way. Most humans are not equipped emotionally to handle the deep unfairness of it all. That’s why many combat soldiers, and now many healthcare workers, will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A Michigan ICU nurse filmed herself in a tearful vent after working a 13-hour shift treating COVID-19 patients. In the video, Melissa Steiner remarked, “I don’t know what the (expletive) just happened,” Steiner says, before tearfully describing how she spent 13 hours caring for two critically ill patients while being isolated from her team, and with “limited resources, limited supplies, limited responses from physicians because they’re just as overwhelmed as we are.This is my new normal for the next however many months it takes for this virus to die down,” she says. “I’m already breaking.” She’s only one of a multitude of people all over the world having to cope with this terrifying and horrific new reality in which we find ourselves.
My message today, my fellow believers in Christ: steel your hearts and prepare your minds for the onslaught that has already come upon many and will continue to ravage our fellow citizens and Christian brothers and sisters, and, God forbid, our own selves and families and friends. Know that people are being damaged. Pray without ceasing. And realize that, when this is over, there will be many broken souls who will need the love and tenderness of the Body of Christ to come to some semblance of healing.
A last word. Let us, as Christ’s Hands and Feet, let go of our divisions, both theological and especially political. Let’s stop making this about politics. It’s so far beyond that now. What we are going to endure is much deeper and important than our partisan politics. Politics is a worldly endeavor; necessary, yes, but worldly nonetheless. He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:25). May God our Father bless you all and protect your loved ones in this crisis.