Christians, Saying 'God Is In Control' Is Not An Excuse To Ignore The Freaking CDC

by Rachel Garlinghouse
Originally Published: 
I'm A Person Of Faith, And I'm Not OK With The "Let Go And Let God" Approach To COVID-19 Safety Reco...

My news feed is flooded with a lot of concerning posts. Among them, I’m seeing some people of faith freely posting that they are out and about, despite CDC recommendations and shut-downs. They are taking the “let go and let God” approach, as they so arrogantly proclaim. Some aren’t just running excessive errands. They are on spring break beach vacations that they planned long before the coronavirus pandemic became a concern. They brag that they are surrounded by divine protection, so it’s no big deal to carry on as usual. (If it’s no big deal, why are they posting about it?) Their feeling is, what are the rest of us so worried about? After all, God is in control.

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I grew up in a Christian home. My family of six and I still follow that same faith. We believe in the whole thing. I’m not here to stand at a pulpit and defend my religious beliefs. I am, however, absolutely embarrassed and horrified that some of my fellow Christians have decided to blatantly disregard science and medical experts, choosing to endanger their own health and the health of others.

I also take issue with any person of faith who thinks they can be downright ignorant to science and facts, but God is going to see them through anyway. If you don’t get sick, that’s great, but what about the fact that you can be a carrier of the virus, giving it to someone more vulnerable? The Bible is clear that Christians are to respect their elders. I would think one way to respect those who are older would be to take their physical health seriously and not put their lives at risk.

In the Christian faith, Jesus was famous for letting children come to him while his disciples tried to shoo them away. Jesus was busy and important, right? Yes. But he loved children, saying, “Let the little children come to me.” Again, why aren’t all modern Bible-believers taking this seriously? I have multiple friends who are raising children who are immuno-compromised. Even a mild case of COVID-19 could be dangerous, if not deadly, to these kids.

Jesus was a healer of the sick. He cared about those who were scared and suffering. The Bible is full of examples. So why aren’t some of today’s Christians caring for those who are most likely to get dangerously ill by staying in and away? In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, those who swear they love God need to step it up by stepping back. Unless you’re essential to America not completely falling apart, get into your house, read your Bible, pray, and call elderly friends and the immuno-compromised to check in on them. You can practice your faith without being a jerk.

The reality is that ignoring health recommendations is selfish, the opposite of what my faith calls us to be. You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar to know that one of the most popular verses is about loving your neighbor as yourself. Oh, and putting others’ needs and interests ahead of your own. Essentially, people of faith, have some common sense and decency.

It’s ridiculous to believe that if you just pray hard enough and trust God (bragging about your faith on social media), there’s some sort of divine ranking scale where those who try to appear the most faithful will remain healthy. That is the very legalism that the Easter story warns against.

There’s also another important Biblical verse that says faith without action is dead. Translation: you can love and believe in God all you want, but God isn’t down with you not putting your faith into practice. In other words, you need to have some skin in the game. There are practical, helpful things that all of us are supposed to be doing. Wash your hands. Don’t leave your home unless absolutely necessary. Why are some Christians discounting these simple but helpful actions, ones that essentially help them love their neighbors in the most practical way in this time in history?

Yes, Christians should trust God. That’s part of the whole thing, essential to our faith. Difficult times can provide wake-up calls, causing us to re-prioritize, to be grateful for what we do have, and to lean into our faith. Our family has certainly felt the need to focus more on our faith during this time. I readily tell others that above all, in every circumstance, my faith is what sustains me. No shame in my Jesus game. So hello, braggy Christians. Even my own church–and probably yours, too–has closed its physical doors, resorting to online worship.

As a person living with anxiety and a chronic, autoimmune disease, I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that I’m pretty scared right now. I worry how my children would handle me being hospitalized if I contracted the coronavirus. I worry for elderly family members and neighbors. I have a hard time falling asleep at night, my thoughts and heartbeat racing. Does this mean I’m less faithful? No. It means I’m human, a mother, and a person who acknowledges the seriousness of the situation. I pray for peace. But I’m not going to be an entitled person who ignores health protocols in the name of Jesus. That’s just wrong.

I’m urging my friends of faith to please stop pretending that they live in some sort of magical, holy utopia that others do not. Frolicking around in public spaces, and posting about it on social media during a time of crucial and recommended social isolation, isn’t Christ-honoring at all. Instead, it’s just self-centered—the antithesis of everything Jesus taught.

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