With COVID-19 we’ve been in a stay-home/lockdown order in many parts of the world, and there’s so much disruption! This is a huge price to pay for a disease possibly brought about by the eating of unclean foods, and that many say is no worse than influenza (flu). Are our hospitals helping? Does living healthfully really make a difference?
You raise questions that are on the minds of many. You’re correct; there’s been a great deal of disruption. Many are now unemployed; there are food shortages; hospitals and mortuaries are overflowing; and stress has multiplied. Resilience has been tested almost to the limit, with people’s homes becoming their workplace, school, and sole living space. Many don’t have the basic convenience of clean water at home, let alone devices and facilities that allow them to connect to the Internet. The struggles have been huge, and continue to be so.
Some make the unfortunate, inappropriate judgment that people brought on COVID-19 themselves through unhealthy dietary practices. The sad fact is that there is widespread ignorance regarding best dietary and food safety practices globally; the pandemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) proves this. Regardless, this novel SARS Coronavirus–2 (SARS CoV-2), which jumped from the animal kingdom to infect humans, is much more infectious than the influenza viruses, and presently about five times more lethal.* The SARS CoV-2 is a real and dangerous threat.
Even now we can spread hope, give of our means, and serve in whatever way our circumstances may permit, while carefully observing physical-distancing precautions, washing our hands, and wisely using face masks to protect others. We may extend the healing ministry of Jesus in this broken world. This is what every Adventist health institution has been doing. Health professionals worldwide, including our Adventist health workers, continue to serve as heroes, some losing their lives to COVID-19. Much is being done, many are being served, and much has been sacrificed. Let’s continue to uplift the health work in our prayers and supplications.
We’ve been blessed with the powerful, grace-filled gift of the Adventist health message. Yet even though health and wellness are in the DNA of our teachings as Seventh-day Adventists, global membership surveys sadly confirm that many within our ranks fail to embrace and practice what we know to be true. If we follow the wholistic health principles, we and our immune systems will function optimally, and we may better be able to cope with this novel virus. There are no guarantees, but this is a good time to revisit the health message, to live it, and to gracefully share it.
The Bible reveals our loving Father God, rich in mercy and grace; the writings of Ellen White highlight this picture, urging us to imitate Jesus— safely mingling, sympathizing, meeting needs, and then, ultimately, inviting people to follow Him.
In this difficult time of earth’s history, let’s rally together as we pray for and serve those suffering from this and many other diseases and discomforts. We’re to be His hands, reflecting His heart to all in service and love! Maranatha!
Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference.
Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, a board-certified internist, is an associate director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference.