As all of you know, India is in the midst of a virulent second wave of COVID-19 which has caused a severe health and humanitarian crisis. You have been reading news reports of the unavailability of hospital beds, oxygen and medicines which have led to many dying due to lack of timely and adequate medical care. You have also read of mass cremation sites which would seem to indicate that the actual death toll is much higher than the numbers being reported.

Being based in Bangalore, one of the cities most impacted by this crisis, I can tell you that things on the ground not only match what you are seeing in news reports but are perhaps even more dire. Not a day goes by when several more of our neighbors, relatives and close friends are found to be infected. Many have mild symptoms, or moderate symptoms for a few days and are able to recover at home. However, for many who become worse and need to be hospitalized, the situation is very dire.

I write this as someone who personally experienced all this. At the beginning of April, I was tested positive for COVID-19. A chest CT scan showed damage to the lungs and I was advised to get admitted. By the grace of God, I was admitted into a hospital which had just one free bed at the time. After spending six nights in the hospital, by the grace of God, I recovered rapidly and could go home. My recovery has gone well and I am doing well. Praise God!

Sadly, many others have not had the same outcome as me. Many thousands have not survived and have succumbed to this dreaded disease, including well known servants of the Lord. The plight of the people, the desperation and anxiety of relatives, is something that those of us living in India have been experiencing every day for the past one month. It is heart wrenching to witness this. At this point, the daily new infection counts continue to rise, and with vaccine shortages, it is severely hampering the vaccination effort. We are yet to see any light at the end of this tunnel.

I urge all of you to plead with the Lord to have mercy on India. As Christians, we believe in a sovereign God, who is using even this situation to fulfill His ultimate purposes in ways we cannot understand. Yet even as David cried out to the Lord, in Psalm 6, saying “My soul also is greatly troubled … save me for Your mercy’s sake”, please cry out to God for His mercy. These are desperate times in India and we need to be on our knees before God.

I also encourage you to generously support efforts underway by GMI to alleviate some of the suffering of people in India. GMI works with many organizations that are undertaking efforts to help those impacted by this dire situation. Your support will help fund these efforts. This is a big crisis and it may seem that there is not much we as individuals can do. But you can be assured that God is able to take what you give and put it to use for His glory.

George Mattackal