Reflections from Coronavirus Isolation: Faculty Member Daniel Bannoura

By Daniel Bannoura, Lecturer of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at Bethlehem Bible College.

At the beginning of March, my father was infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, and soon afterward my mother and I caught the virus from my father. Fortunately, the three of us only had mild symptoms of the virus, like fever, headache, and dry cough. That lasted for a couple of days and our health was restored to us quickly.

Currently, all three of us are staying in isolation at a Christian hostel in the town of Beit Jala (northwest of Bethlehem). We have carried the virus for the last 2-3 weeks, and last time we got tested, the results came negative for my father (as in, he is fully recovered), yet my mother and I still tested positive, although the doctors noted that the virus was almost out of our bodies. Hopefully, within a few days, we three will all test negative and will be able to go home, where we will remain in quarantine until the virus is completely eradicated from the Bethlehem area, and a sense of normalcy is restored.

Through all of this, God’s healing power and wisdom have been evident to me. The silver lining of this period of isolation is that suddenly we have time for reflection that we did not have before. Here I am reminded of the history of Christianity where the church has stepped up during times of strife and pandemics to feed the poor and care for the afflicted. May this new pandemic be a reminder for us all to step in and be a beacon of hope and joy for those who suffer, in Italy, Iran, the USA, and all over the world. May we be known during these times for our prayers and care for all of God’s creation.

Fundamentally, our faith is based on the resurrection, the ultimate victory of life over death and pain. Though we are currently walking through the Via Dolorosa, the path towards the cross, we need to be reminded that God is with us in our pain; that, through Christ, God in His love and mercy suffers with us and for us. At the same time, we are reminded that Christ defeated death and pain on the cross and rose again to life and victory.

We are the people of the resurrection! We ought to be the people of hope and love, especially in this time of pain, disease, and uncertainty. May we take it upon us during these perilous times to proclaim that same hope of the resurrection to ourselves first, and to those around us.