Finding God in the Pandemic: A Frontliner’s Perspective

Edward-Bengie Magsombol, MD, FPCP, FPCC

St. Luke’s Heart Institute


“This may be a pandemic of fear, but God is showing me a glimmer of hope.”


That hope is that people will begin to seek God in the midst of the fear.


In the face of disease, we healthcare workers are supposed to be brave and in control. But we simply have reached our limits when our hospitals began filling to maximum capacity of Covid-19 patients. Soon, medical frontliners gradually became overwhelmed physically, mentally, and emotionally. 


This got closer to home when our colleagues succumbed to Covid one by one. Fear was at an all time high, and spirits were at an all time low. Many of my colleagues were even afraid to go to the hospitals anymore. 


But that was when a glimmer of hope was seen. 


Healthcare workers began looking to God. People, who, in the past, did not give much attention to their spiritual lives started looking within. Our viber threads dedicated for work-related and social messages suddenly got filled with posts of prayers,Bible verses, and inspirational words. It began to sound like a prayer meeting.


While many of my fellow doctors were just talking about what they would do if they had a Covid patient, I got my first referral for an actual Covid case. It was my colleague in the nuclear medicine department. Though afraid to catch the disease, I knew that God had called me to be His cardiologist. I knew also that he did not know God personally because he would often see us in Bible studies after office hours in the department, and we would invite him sometimes, and he would just ignore us. He did not believe in going to church or attending Christian activities. So that time, I knew in my heart, this was more than just a medical assignment for me.


The first time I visited him, by faith, I offered to pray for him, and he agreed. Two days later, he got intubated. In the succeeding weeks I would visit him almost daily, tell him encouraging words and read verses to him. There were several days also when he slipped into a coma, but I would still pray for him at the bedside. 


One day, he became conscious, and I took the chance to share the Gospel to him, while he listened to me. And I asked him if he wants to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior, Healer, and Lord. I led him in prayer that morning.


The next day, he went into a coma, and never woke up, until he succumbed. He fought for his life for thirty days, and the Covid virus took him already. But after he prayed that prayer, I will definitely look forward to seeing him in heaven someday.


When he was still alive, his doctor friends who never got to visit him, kept asking me why I was not afraid to come near him. I told them that I wanted to serve him not just medically, but spiritually as well. Moreover, God had already given me His promise in my Quiet Time, even before the ECQ started. I knew He wanted to use me for His Kingdom, and that His word and His work will not be hindered by Covid or by any lockdown. This was the promise He gave me in Psalm 91:


I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (v. 2) You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. (vv. 5-7)


Through that initial experience, I was beginning to realize that God was willing to use me and help me take advantage of this glimmer of hope of people turning to God in this crisis. And that this hope will find its fulfillment in people finding God.

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