Covid of the Soul
Marti Wibbels, MS, LMHC
It finally happened. During the first week of May, my husband and I began a two-week Covid omicron odyssey, our bodies sidelined by a peripatetic virus. It’s astonishing how rapidly an invisible particle can rob one’s ability to stand, walk, taste, or smell. We’re gratefully recovering, thanks to answered prayer and our doctor’s aggressive treatment.
People wonder what strain of the virus will arrive next—and how it could impact them and their loved ones. But another invisible, insidious attacker is already wreaking havoc, causing cataclysmic damage that goes largely unrecognized. Like Covid, this enemy silently infiltrates minds and bodies, intent on deadly harm. What is it? It’s anything that causes us to distrust God.
Often the attacks are so subtle that they feel like reasonable questions:
- How could a good God allow children to be killed at school?
- What can stop the relentless deadly expansion of Russia's war in Ukraine?
- How many women and children will be brutally attacked in Afghanistan...in Yemen...throughout the world TODAY...and how many people will starve to death?
Questions don’t cause soul problems; we need to ask questions and search for wise answers. The problem arises when we focus on problems, allowing questions to morph into doubts. Like a miniscule virus, they infect our thoughts, erode attitudes, dash our hopes, and make us question our relationship with God. To counter the “doubt virus,” we need God’s help! We need His wisdom to know when to change our questions—perhaps asking, “What can I do to help those who are suffering?” when no answer emerges for relentless “Why?” questions.
While writing this, I received a text from a friend requesting urgent prayer for her daughter and newborn granddaughter, battling Covid in the Middle East, and for their family friend, near death in New York. Amidst apparent impossibilities, we can trust in God, steadfastly turning to Him in prayer. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson explained, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice rise like a fountain... For what are men better than sheep or goats that nourish a blind life within the brain, if, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer both for themselves and those who call them friend?”
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one...may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ (2 Timothy 3:3, 5, NASB). In crisis, we can turn to God instead of away from Him, knowing Jesus didn’t design Covid and doesn’t condone school killings. He offers unfailing love and hope amidst hopeless circumstances.
In John 10:10, Jesus said: The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I am come that you might have life and have it abundantly. The thief is Satan; his endgame is for people to trust in him—whether through drug addiction, out-of-control living, war, discouragement, good works, focusing on making money, or atheism. Satan wants us to distrust God, believing lies instead of relying in the Truth that sets you free. We need a heart change. Jesus said: out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander (Matthew 15:19, ESV).
Doubts push us away from God when we urgently need to experience His presence and help:
- We need His strength when the world is falling apart.
- We need His hope when evil people hurt people.
- We need to know the ultimate outcome is not evil but good.
- We need to be able to rest in God’s love when the world doesn’t make sense.
What can we do? We can determinedly doubt our doubts. Just as resolutely, we can trust in God. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When the world delivers things our finite minds can't understand, we can walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Message translation says it like this, it’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. When we focus on the character and love of God, we can keep going, making a difference in the world that urgently needs our united help.
There are organizations helping people now, from Ukraine to Uvalde. Since faith without works is dead (James 2:26, b), you might be looking for ways to help. One idea: Samaritan’s Purse is actively providing relief to those who are suffering.
God bless you! I pray you’ll continue going forward in His love.