The coronavirus is unlike anything any of us has ever lived through. Jesus said that in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33). None of us is immune. This is certainly one of those times. Many of us are old enough to remember major challenges, public and personal, to our welfare and are familiar with others in history as well as among friends and family. After each one, we were quick to push the ordeal out of our minds and get on with the task of moving ahead and crawling out of apparent devastation. It’s remarkable how quickly we adjust to the new normal. We still do not know how extensive the residual effect of this plague will be but we keep going anyway. There’s really no choice.
We’ve heard first-hand reports from friends of ours; one, an infectious disease specialist in Indianapolis, the other, a nurse doing volunteer work in a New York City hospital. Both spoke of the magnitude of the pandemic and the tragedy of not having a cure or a vaccine to help as they labored intensely for 14 or more hours a day, describing many people dying lonely, painful deaths.
After hearing these things from people we know, on the front lines, it puts things in perspective for those of us who seem to be outside the danger zones. It’s kind of like watching the news about a flood or tornado wreaking havoc and destruction; but someplace far removed from where we are. It almost doesn’t seem real. For us, our biggest challenge is learning to be more conservative with paper products, especially toilet paper. And planning how to make sure we have enough food in the house. There are very few known cases in our area, but everyone is on their guard.
We don’t believe the coronavirus is God’s way of teaching us some sort of lesson. Neither do we think He’s trying to punish the world for its sins. But if we’re seeking the Lord during this time out, we’re sure to drill down to the basics of our lives and re-examine our reasons for doing the things we do and re-set our priorities or re-engage the days ahead with even more vigor than before, with clearer vision and insight.
James warned us not to be presumptuous about the future saying we don’t know what tomorrow may bring but that we should not be boastful because our lives are like vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. But as long as we’re abiding in the vine and are not careless with our speech and attitudes, the future could be brighter than ever. Our gratitude for God’s goodness should bring more light into a world looking for meaning and purpose. That’s where we believers come in.
If the past is any indicator, odds are we’ll survive this episode, hopefully a little wiser than before we came into it. We came through the economic crash of 2008. We survived the terror trauma of 2001. We may get banged up and some of us may not even come out on the other side. But we know that our hope is in the Lord. Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) After Jesus told us about the troubles we all have to endure, he then said, “But be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” Our faith in him makes us overcomers as well.