Nothing is normal about these times right now. Daily case totals and death tolls are front of mind, reminding us of the tenuous uncertainty of life. Though people may question the significance of the numbers, compared to cases and death tolls from the flu, for instance, the preoccupation of the world with this global pandemic labeled COVID-19 is a daily reminder of our own mortality.
Someone speaking of personal experience in World War I remarked, “There are no atheists in the trenches of Europe.” The same idea was echoed in World War II: “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Indeed, Impossible times and situations that snap us out of our comfortable mundane existence have that kind of effect on us.
I doubt that it’s true )that there are no atheists in foxholes). As a generalization, though, there is some kernel of truth there. Many a person who has no interest in God, turns to God in times like these.
YouVersion, the maker of a downloadable Bible app, recently reported on April 15, 2020, historic numbers of people accessing their app, the largest increase in engagement with their app in the last 6 weeks during this time of worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. A record 1.6 million prayers were added in just one month. They claim the pandemic has triggered a virtual spiritual awakening.
The app tracks downloads. When I first checked it, I saw it had been downloaded 421,462,195 times. I started writing this piece a day ago, and I am just getting back to it now. Not quite 24 hours later, the app has been downloaded 421,546, 815 times. That’s an increase of almost 85,000 in less than 24 hours!
With the spike in downloads of just one Bible app (among many), it seems that people really are turning to Scripture in this time of crisis and difficulty.
That leads me to wonder: when the crisis blows over, will people go back to their “normal” lives? Will the new normal include daily Bible reading, prayer and meditation?