By Caroline Lusk
During a time of crisis, it’s easy to reduce the situation to numbers. As of this writing, over 3.5 million people have been infected. Over 250,000 have died. And around the world, millions of people are starving. Government lockdowns have eliminated job opportunities for workers of every class, every culture, and in nearly every country in the world. With few, if any reserves, these workers have no way to feed their families.
It’s all overwhelming. And it’s much easier to reduce the fallout of this unprecedented catastrophe to numbers.
But that’s not the truth.
Each one who gets sick or dies comes from somewhere.
Each one who loses a job and can’t feed a family is a daughter or a son and is responsible for someone else.
At the same time, each one who receives help is a testament to the sovereignty of a God whose goodness will not be dimmed even in the darkest of times.
Each mother, child, father, sister, brother who receives a food packet or hygiene supplies is a loved, worthy child of God, and their stories of rescue and survival should give hope to us all.
Below are four stories of families and people just like you and me who were living on the edge of desperation when the love of God pulled them to safety.
WHERE HE LEADS
The catastrophic impact of COVID-19 is nearly impossible to quantify. The needs are so numerous, so desperate; it’s hard to know where, how, or who to help first. Across South Asia, in a desperate attempt to quell the spread of the virus, government-imposed lockdowns came swiftly and with no warning. People had no time to prepare and no reserved income to see them through the unprecedented lockdown. Sai* is one of our many local partners who rose to the call when he witnessed the suffering of those around him. As part of a food distribution program, he was responsible for locating those most in need and delivering food rations to them. He prayed for direction; he felt called to check on a community that had previously closed their doors to him. This time, he was allowed in and found four widows and four other families who had no food. As Sai distributed the rations, one widow was in tears, overwhelmed that these people she didn’t even know were helping her. It was a beautiful moment to share that God had heard her cries, seen her need, and answered her unspoken prayers.
EMPTY TABLES, EMPTY TUMMIES
Parenting through a pandemic is a difficult task for even the strongest of family units. To do it as a single parent in a country that has restricted movement and eliminated income-earning opportunities is nearly impossible. Pari* is raising her three children alone. When the food ran out, so did her options. That’s when the love of Christ showed up in the form of a care package complete with non-perishable food and hygiene supplies. As one of nearly 900 people to receive such a package, Pari was finally able to feed her children. Even more, a local partner was able to share the truth of Christ’s love with her and has remained in contact throughout the quarantine, providing her not only help for today but hope for tomorrow.
THE EXTRA MILE(S)
Quite often, the worst of circumstances draws out the best within humanity. Jai* is among the best of us. When his community members began to starve due to the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent economic fallout, he stepped up, giving away half of his wheat harvest to the neediest around him. But he wasn’t done! He then sent out co-laborers to search out the most disadvantaged. And they did—discovering families in great need nearly ten miles away from the nearest town; miles away from help. When food and supplies arrived, one family was overwhelmed at the kindness of these strangers, as they had been unable to get help from other local leaders.
FAR FROM HOME
Migrant communities have been particularly hard hit amid the pandemic. Unable to return to their home towns, thousands have been forced into migrant camps. With few, if any provisions, these families are facing 100-degree heat with only tents for shelter. When our local partners arrived with food and hygiene supplies, they discovered a world of need inside one tiny camp, including a pregnant woman in need of medical care. They were able to take her and others to local hospitals, where they received life-saving treatment. During one hospital trip, our partner discovered another migrant camp, miles away from other people or sources of help. God used this unexpected discovery as an opportunity to distribute more food and supplies and to share His great love.
The coronavirus has pulled humanity to the brink. Perhaps one of the most frightening realities of the pandemic is that no one knows when, if, or how it will end. In the meantime, though, let us pray that our hearts will remain soft and open and willing. Let us refuse to reduce the casualties of this catastrophe to numbers. Each person who is sick has lost their fight, or is struggling to care for a hungry family has a face and a name and a heart that yearns for life, health, and happiness just like you and me.
As you make your way through this pandemic, consider supporting others who are out of options. Consider feeding a family, sending some soap. Consider getting involved beyond the numbers. Open your hands and heart and allow God to move through you today.
*Names have been changed for security purposes.