The (Good) News: Where Our Hope Lies When the President Is COVID-Positive

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Early Friday morning, as a country, we entered into yet another moment of uncertainty as we received the news of President Donald Trump’s diagnosis with Covid-19. All day, news outlets were flooded with reports of the President’s risk factors and rumors about his condition. Then, later that afternoon, millions of eyes turned to the White House to watch as the President was taken by helicopter to the hospital to receive treatment. In this moment, it was as if a sense of fear, frustration, and wariness settled on top of the nation.

While the President’s diagnosis has been surrounded by many other conversations regarding policies and procedure, there is something much deeper for us to take away from this moment. This report has taken — and is taking — over our newsfeeds, not because of the shock of a positive Covid-19 case, but because of who it affects. It is a rare sight for Americans to see their leader sick, let alone hospitalized. In fact, past presidents have gone to astounding measures to evade the public eye from their physical ailments. President Roosevelt refused to use his wheelchair at public events and would not allow the press to photograph him walking. Why go to such extremes? Why are our leaders so determined to present only strength? And why are we so afraid when we learn of our leaders’ weaknesses?

Regardless of your political affiliation, or personal opinions about the President’s handling of the situation, there is an opportunity in this moment to engage our students with a simple question: is our faith in the fact that the President is in control over the country, or in the truth that our God is in control over us? 

This story will continue to develop over the coming weeks. We will inevitably learn more details about the President’s condition, about the timeline of his contact with the virus, and about what this means for the upcoming election. However, my prayer is that we are able to step outside of the noise, and see this uncertain moment as an an opportunity to renew our vision of covenant fidelity to God while inviting our children and students into that hope. May our prayer look like that of the Psalmist who, though praying for protection for the king, also declares the unwavering truth that their hope is not in horses or chariots – or the strength of leaders – but in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20).

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (v.7)

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