Country star Dolly Parton said she believes the novel coronavirus is a lesson from God and encouraged fans to refrain from fear, offering the reminder that God “loves” them.
"I'm not making light of the situation,” Parton said in an Instagram video on Friday. “Well, maybe I am, because it's the light, I believe, that’s gonna dissolve the situation. I think God is in this, I really do," she said. "I think He's trying to hold us up to the light so we can see ourselves and see each other through the eyes of love. And I hope we learn that lesson."
"I think that when this passes, we're gonna all be better people," the “Jolene” singer continued. "I know that I have a positive attitude about it, as negative as it seems to be right now. So just keep the faith, don't be too scared, it's gonna be alright, God loves us."
The U.S. death total had surpassed 3,100 and there were more than 164,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 early Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard.
Last week, the singer's Dollywood theme park announced it has delayed its opening and suspended the operations of Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa to help slow the spread of the virus.
“The coronavirus crisis is unprecedented, and based on the ever-changing developments, we are constantly re-evaluating our options and hoping to open in May,” Dollywood President Craig Ross said.
Ross continued, “We are looking daily at all of our options to present an exciting and entertaining 2020 season that is a great experience for our guests, but our first priority is the safety of our hosts and guests.”
Parton previously offered her fans an uplifting sentiment amid the outbreak, sharing a photo of herself tuning her guitar along with one of her most famous quotes: "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
In a previous interview with The Christian Post, the 74-year-old singer opened up about her Christian faith and how it drives both her charitable endeavors and her art.
“Every day I pray for God to lead me and to take out all the wrong things, wrong people in my life, and bring all the right things, right people, and to let me glorify Him and uplift mankind — to do something in this world to make it a little better than it was. And let me be a light and a vessel to be used,” Parton explained.
“I just wanted to do what I can in this world to make things better if I can, and I'm in a position to do it. If you get in a position to help, you should help,” she added.
Amid trials, Parton said she finds peace and comfort knowing God’s hand is on her “all the time.”
“Even when I'm going through really hard times, I try to see what God is trying to teach me,” she said. “I just think, I'm supposed to be knowing something, I'm supposed to be learning something. I'm supposed to be becoming a bigger person, being taught responsibility or patience. ... I just know that everything I go through, I like to feel that I'll come out of it better.”
“It’s just like a story about the footprints in the sand,” the legendary singer said, referring to the famous poem about faith and perseverance. “[God] didn't leave me, or He was carrying me then. I either left Him or He was carrying me. So that's kinda how I look at that. When I think, ‘Where are you God? He's like, 'I'm down here, with the people.'"