Health worker interviews family

Ebola: in faith or in fear?

Ebola. It’s undeniable that the biggest outbreak of Ebola has been in our social media and news coverage these past few weeks. During my time here in Africa, I have watched the reaction of our country from afar. The response has been disappointing, to say the least. We are all too aware of the risks and dangers for ourselves (which, in reality, are minimal), but I have seen few people express genuine concern for the three West African countries struggling with the disease.

Rather, as the West realizes that our walls are not impenetrable, irrational and uncontrollable fear is taking over. We lack real knowledge on the topic and real love for our African neighbors.

For believers, this reaction to the virus raises several serious questions about ourselves and our culture that we must ask.


What is the source of our fear?

“All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” (Ecclesiastes 3:20) At the risk of being overly morbid, we should remind ourselves that as humans we are all going to die a physical death. Our society chases after an ideal that simply cannot be reached in the here and now. The death and decay of our physical bodies in this life is inevitable. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived otherwise. Nor, as Christians, can we allow ourselves to be consumed with a fear of death.

Rather, God’s question to Job is one that would do us good to hear. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4) When we react in fear or near-hysteria to this unknown disease, we are forgetting Who holds the universe in His hands. Rather than responding in this way, we must remind ourselves that the God we serve is in control. He is not surprised by anything that goes on under the sun.


What do our fears reveal about our idols?

The fear-filled response of our culture is telling. As believers, we must take a step back and consider the bigger picture. This virus is not something that we can control. The science, medicine, and technology with which we have been so diligently building our walls are failing us. As a Western culture, we are being reminded of our humanness. Our god-complex is being challenged. The pride in our hearts causes us to react in fear. We are not untouchable. We, like the rest of the world, are susceptible to suffering and to disease. Our idols of comfort and self cannot hold up in the face of hardship.


What is a better response for us?

Let us consider a more appropriate approach for those of us who are children of God. We should take a stand in the midst of the whirlwind of our culture’s frenzy. Let us rest in the knowledge that this world is not all there is. We must place our trust in our Creator- the One who is in control of even those things that seem uncontrollable. Let us remember that this is not the first time a disease beyond the knowledge of science has entered the world. We are but a small point in the history of the universe; may we be humble enough to realize this.

Instead, let’s take this opportunity to speak truth to our neighbors and co-workers. Rather than joining in with the fears of those around us, we can choose to declare God’s faithfulness in the face of the unknown. We know the end of this Story.

Let us commit ourselves to a more global perspective of the virus. Our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are facing an even more serious threat, and there are many who are suffering and dying. Survivors are being ostracized by their communities. Orphans created by the disease are being rejected by their surviving family members. And already struggling economies are plummeting. Let us partner with them in prayer and allow ourselves and our families to have a well-rounded knowledge of this epidemic.

Finally, as the church, let us consider the ways we can move towards those in such desperate need. During His ministry here on earth, our Lord Jesus touched the untouchables and cared for those that society had rejected. Could this be an opportunity for us to do the same?

-Megan Gaminde, Kenya

Other Resources…

Living the Dream: Fear vs. Faith (Online teaching)

10 Essential Facts About Ebola

The Truth About Ebola

Church Brings Hope to Ebola-Infected FamiliesĀ 

Orphans the Forgotten Victims of Ebola OutbreakĀ