What’s The Answer?

Lots of people are now talking about the latest virus spreading around the world, in part because of the measures the governments are taking to stem the spread, and in part because of the overreaction of people who apparently think toilet paper is a sanitizer.

I can guarantee that more toilet paper will not stop the virus from encroaching. So what’s a person to do?

I’ve thought about the fact that experiencing an illness with no known cure and which is highly contagious, is new to the twenty-first century. A hundred years ago there was an influenza in the pre-antibiotics days that killed thousands. My mom’s older half sister died of it when she was 15.

In centuries earlier, people dealt with the Black Plague and cholera and yellow fever and any number of other deadly diseases. People in those times understood that life didn’t come with a guarantee. You lived with hope, but you held your life loosely, viewing it as God’s to protect or to move “across the river.”

But in this new technological era, we know nothing about incurable, fast moving, deadly illness. AIDES came close, but the general population wasn’t necessarily at risk. You had some control over being exposed. Not so with an air-born virus. Or one that stays on a surface an infected person (or a carrier who has the virus but not the symptoms) has touched.

Suddenly life seems out of our control. The only way we can “fix” things, apparently, is to buy lots of toilet paper! And canned goods. And now, today, produce, as if that will not go bad within a week or two.

The problem, of course, is that our lives are not our own. We did nothing to bring about our birth and can do nothing to stave off the enemy of our soul and body: death. We don’t like having to face our mortality, but there it is.

So, what’s the answer? When the deadly virus stares us in the face, do we panic buy? Climb into our bomb shelters and pull the sanitized curtains around us?

I’ve seen some people act out of panic and buy things they clearly don’t need simply because they are trying to build a hedge against the desperation they feel. I’ve seen others mock the very problem, as if it is no problem at all. Most people have made some small concessions, a change here or there to their life style.

Some changes, of course, are foisted upon us by governments shutting down schools, the NCAA cancelling March Madness, the NBA bringing a halt to their season, and MLB putting a stop to spring training.

Other changes have come as people in leadership make decisions to cancel conferences or meetings, including church gatherings.

These changes must be dealt with and they can bring more fear along with them. They make the seriousness of this virus seem more real, more dangerous. I mean, a National Emergency? Various counties mandating quarantines?

Are these changes the answer?

Not to the fear people feel. Not to the reality of our mortality. That’s still there, whether we avoid contact with others or not. Whether we panic or self-quarantine or mock or make small concessions.

Fortunately, God does not leave us without counsel for such a time as this. Here’s a key verse from Psalm 16, though there are more great verses following. This one makes the point I think we need most:

I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I read that and thought of Peter, walking on water, heading toward Jesus . . . until he looked away at the wind and the waves.

In a traumatic situation such as a spreading virus, it’s tempting to look at the “wind and the waves,” and consequently start to sink into fear. It’s a temptation for us all, I think. But, God lets us know that He’s beside us. Whatever He calls us to go through, He’ll be right there with us. He will not now, or ever, leave us or forsake us.

Of course, for that to be true, He has to be part of our lives to begin with.

For anyone who puts his or her trust in Jesus, we have an anchor, a Father who holds us by the hand, in times of joy, sorrow, danger, peace. He does not leave us or forsake us.

It’s up to us to keep our eyes on Him. As Colossians 3 says

if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (vv 1-2)

Here are three practical things, based on Scripture, that we can or cannot do:

  1. Christians should behave in a way that marks us as Christians. We should still be kind to our neighbors, to the people in the never-ending grocery line.
  2. We should resist the urge to take over for God. We can’t hedge ourselves against death. Our times are in God’s hands. Buying extra canned goods will not extend our lives a single day beyond God’s plan for our lives.
  3. We should remember that God is faithful, not just in good times. He is faithful even when the storm swamps the boat, even when we’re pushed into the fiery furnace, even when we’re trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. He’s faithful when we face a giant and all we have is a sling. He is faithful when we’re beaten and imprisoned for our stand for Jesus. He is not faithful in fair weather, only to abandon us in foul.
  4. We should pray. Pray for God’s comfort for the fearful (and that might include us), for protection, for His mercy so that He would stay His hand, even when we deserve His righteous judgment.

I’m sure there are lots of other things to talk about in regard to what we can do to be good neighbors and friends and family members. Already I’ve had several people check up on me just to be sure I’m doing OK. That’s kind and caring, and it’s a cool thing to do for others.

Who knows what else God might direct his people to do if we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

Published in: on March 16, 2020 at 5:47 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 Comments

  1. Excellent biblical perspective Rebecca! Well, it can’t be one without the other. There is so much out-flipping going on amongst believers and it ought not be so.

    Sober, levelheaded, God honoring caution and precaution, yes? But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

    I am reminded of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. An application of the principle of their example here would be as follows.

    We know that our God is able to deliver us, and He will delivers, but even if He does not delivers us, we are NOT going to fall into the idolatry of self preserving panic thereby wasting a golden opportunity to portray His faithfulness to us by instead walking in unbelief toward Him.

    Heat up your furnace and whatever the outcome, blessed be the name of the Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Greg. This is an excellent response and may more Christians remember that we have the mind of Christ, not the mind of fear and self-focus. God’s care for you.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen, Becky. Fear is often the biggest threat we face, probably worse than any virus. Watching people in the stores right now gives us some idea as to why. The run on toilet paper for example, is a totally man made problem. Our lives are often like that, too. We tend to make things so much harder for ourselves and for others, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t that the truth. Left to our own devices, we will go astray. It’s inevitable. Blinded to the truth, led by the blind, how can “level heads” prevail? We need the solid truth of who God is to help us navigate troubled times. Thanks be to God that He has given us His word and His Spirit for such a times as these.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazing thoughts.

    God bless you richly and keep you safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that wonderful blessing, Faith. I appreciate your encouragement. May God put His hedge of protection around you, too.

      Becky

      Like

  4. I’ve found it amusing that Peter “saw the wind” …? But I digress…
    Our Creator told us to trust Him and love one another. One practical/selfish reason we should obey Him in these things (as opposed to resorting to panic and finger pointing) is that stress – expressing itself in fear, anger, or hatred – depletes the immune system.

    Like

    • Yeah, technically Peter say the effects of the wind, not the wind. Glad I injected some unintended levity into the post. 😉

      Interesting observation about the negative emotions depleting the immune system. How awesome that God’s gift of peace goes beyond a “feeling” but it actually gives increased health to the body. God is good!

      Becky

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