A few days ago I posted a simple phrase: COVID doesn’t define my Destiny. We could say the same about all circumstances. As Christians our Destiny, along with our Identity, is anchored in our relationship in Christ. I call it the Identity and Destiny or the Being and Doing of life. In the beginning we are given our Identity and Destiny when God said, Let us make man in our Image, which speaks to our Identity, and let us take dominion over creation, which is our Destiny.
This being true, then what role do circumstances like COVID play in our lives? What if they are opportunities to live out our Identity and Destiny? In other words, we aren’t subject to our circumstances. Our circumstances are subject to us! The following history lesson underscores this point. In a pastoral letter written during an epidemic (ca. 251), Bishop Dionysius described events in Alexandria: “At the first onset of the disease, they [pagans] pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treated unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape”….
As for action, Christians met the obligation to care for the sick rather than desert them, and thereby saved enormous numbers of lives! As William H. McNeill pointed out in his celebrated Plagues and Peoples, under the circumstances prevailing in this era, even “quite elementary nursing will greatly reduce mortality. Simple provision of food and water, for instance, will allow persons who are temporarily too weak to cope for themselves to recover instead of perishing miserably.” The fact that most stricken Christians survived did not go unnoticed, lending immense credibility to Christian "miracle working." Indeed, the miracles often included pagan neighbors and relatives.
Indeed, the impact of Christian mercy was so evident that in the fourth century when the emperor Julian attempted to restore paganism, he exhorted the pagan priesthood to compete with the Christian charities. In a letter to the high priest of Galatia, Julian urged the distribution of grain and wine to the poor, noting that “the impious Galileans [Christians], in addition to their own, support ours, [and] it is shameful that our poor should be wanting our aid.” These early Christians weren’t victims of their circumstances. They stepped up to live from their identity and stepped out into their destiny and changed the world. Go to Hubbminitries.com for more blogs and free video series teachings on Identity and Destiny.
Story taken from an article titled, How Did Early Christians Respond to Plagues? Historical Reflections as the Coronavirus Spreads Kenneth Berding — March 16, 2020