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Nepal: Do they have COVID too?

Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Credit: Bijay Chaurasia/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 4.0

Do you believe something? Are you religious in any way? How are you holding on to your faith in this COVID time?

Most religions do not fit with COVID restrictions. We have a neighbor who goes to church more than us. I go to church online, and I have been watching services on the Internet for a long time now. We have COVID restrictions, where we live, and they make it hard to attend church services.

I miss those services, and the other people in the church.

Our neighbor is a lady who goes to a church, somewhere. I don’t know the church, but she is a friend. I was embarrassed sometimes, when I talked to her because she kept going to her church, on Sundays.

A few days ago I asked her about her church, and she told me she couldn’t go there anymore. She hadn’t gone to church for three weeks because of a COVID outbreak in the congregation.

We are struggling here, but imagine living in a country like Nepal, in Asia. The disease has been severe in Nepal, where the largest religion is Hinduism, apparently with some Buddhist influence. Religious people in the majority religion are getting worried about all the religious festivals that are being cancelled. They believe that God will punish the nation if religious events are cancelled:

Christians are a minority in Nepal but very active. Among the Christians, COVID has been severe; more than a hundred pastors, church leaders, have died, from COVID. It’s easy to imagine crowded meetings with a pastor leading, and visits to church members in their homes, including those who are sick. In many cases, the sickness would be COVID. A faithul pastor would be an easy target for the infection.

And we think we have problems. Imagine the comparison; I have to watch a sermon from a pastor, on television. That is how much I suffer.

A Christian from Nepal could tell me their story. Maybe their pastor died from COVID and they had a funeral, recently.

This is a simple lesson for all of us. Before we complain about out problems, we should look outside of our personal bubble. The world is a different place when we do that, and our issues get into perspective.

We went shopping today, and we searched hard for one little item, a small mirror. We finally tried a Dollar Store, hoping that they could sell us one. It was a frustrating search.

When we came to the store, a father was there, talking to two little boys. Father was apologizing to his sons, and telling them that they had to go home, and they couldn’t go into the store. The Dollar Store had a new COVID mask policy, and they didn’t know, so they didn’t have masks. He told us that they collected bottles at home, and on Saturday they would cash in the bottles and go to the Dollar Store, where the little boys had fun spending the money.

That was an easy fix for us. I have a package of masks, for emergencies, and we never use them. It was no problem to give them three.

I used to do the same thing with re-cycled bottles and Dollar Stores with my sons, when they were little, and I know how important that family time is. My adult sons are like my best friends, now. Today, our search for a mirror became less of a priority, when we stepped out of our bubble and saw how the rest of the world was struggling. I believe God put us in that place at the right time. They got three masks, and we got a lesson.

If you are wondering, we did find a mirror, somewhere.

You may know the name “Job” in the Bible. An entire book is named after that man, and the ‘suffering of Job’ is part of our culture. Job was a rich man who lost everything, including his children, and then he became painfully sick. He wife survived, but she advised him to commit suicide “Curse God and die!” His friends came to comfort him, but they mostly boasted about themselves and tried to understand why Job deserved all his problems.

When I was young, I tried to read the whole Bible, and I read some parts of Job that most of us never look at. We should look there, or we might miss some important lessons. When Job prayed, God finally spoke to him. Yes, God spoke to that suffering man, in all his pain and sorrow, and told him about a wild donkey. I am not making that up.

Did you know that was in the Bible?

“Who set wild donkeys free? I alone help them survive in salty desert sand. They stay far from crowded cities and refuse to be tamed. Instead, they roam the hills, searching for pastureland.” (Job 39: 5 to 8)

Some other animals are also mentioned, including a crocodile.

Imagine crying out to God, from intense suffering, and for a reply you get a nature documentary.

I know now, the lesson is important, and we should read those parts of the Bible that we usually ignore. Job needed to get out of his bubble. God was busy caring for the whole world, including Job. In the end, Job was rescued and became a wealthy and successful man, again. He must have had some interesting conversations with his wife.

We need that COVID lesson.

I trust that the God who cares about us all will care for my brothers and sisters in Nepal, and many other places. Their loss makes my problems look so small. Also, the God who cares for them will care for us.

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12: 25 to 27)

It’s good to hear the truth from outside of our experience:

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